Stephen Kinzer from the UK’s Guardian has come to the conclusion that fidel castro will never tell the truth about his life.
Whatever [c]astro’s goal now, it is certainly not confronting difficult and complex truths or reflecting deeply on the course of his life. [c]astro’s career has been about myth-making; there is no reason to believe his memoir will be any different.
Presumably [c]astro will describe his revolutionary war in the 1950s as intense and full of heroics, as no doubt it was. Some historians, however, marvel at how little fighting [c]astro’s men actually had to do and how easily the old dictatorship collapsed. Nor are we likely to find new insights into [c]astro’s relationship with his brother, raúl; with their highly popular comrade Camilo Cienfuegos, who died in a plane crash that [c]astro described as an accident but that some Cubans suspect was a political assassination; or with Che Guevara, who by many accounts broke with him over his decision to lead Cuba into the Soviet bloc.
[c]astro cannot be reasonably expected to renounce his beliefs or implicate himself in killings or atrocities. Nonetheless it would be fascinating to learn whether he still believes it was necessary to execute hundreds of his countrymen without trial in the first weeks after his victory in 1959; whether he wishes the Soviet Union had taken his advice and launched a nuclear first strike against the United States; and whether he regrets the repression and mass imprisonment of gay people, other “lifestyle dissidents”, and intellectuals who supported his cause but broke with him after his first years in power.
Was [c]astro sincere when, during his guerrilla war, he swore that he was not a Communist? If so, when did he change, and why? Looking back, does he believe he might have chosen a better course?
Although [c]astro is built on a larger-than-life scale, he has never been known as reflective or self-aware. His ideology has evidently not changed in half a century. For much of that time he was widely said to hold more direct personal control over his people than any leader in the world. How did that feel? Was it necessary? Don’t buy [c]astro’s memoir expecting insightful reflection on questions like these.
Congratulations, Mr. Kinzer, for figuring out the obvious.