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realclearworld

And now for something completely different… a pleasant surprise from the United Kingdom

Peter Hitchens

Peter Hitchens

Recently deceased Christopher Hitchens, the world's most famous atheist, had a younger brother named Peter, who is not as well known.   When  interviewed by The Guardian -- a publication best known for its stalwart defense of leftist values -- Peter voiced some opinions that probably struck most Guardian readers as heretical.  Afterwards, he summarized some of these observations in another U.K. publication, The Daily Mail (better known for its obsession with photos of scantily clad starlets).

Finding this item while trawling on Google for news on Cuba is a lot like finding a small diamond in a trash heap.  It's small, yes, but it's still a diamond.  Enjoy.

The Guardian interviews me. And some Thoughts in Passing on Cuba

by Peter Hitchens,  Mail Online,  22 October 2012

Readers here may not be regular students of the Guardian newspaper (I’m told this works both ways) so they may be interested in this interview of me by Decca Aitkenhead, which can be found here

I much enjoyed meeting Decca Aitkenhead, and will post some thoughts about the encounter here later this week.

A couple of points from the weekend. Now that it is plain that the Castro tyranny was and is an indefensible political slum, I am now asked if I am ,by attacking it, defending the Batista government which preceded it. Obviously not. Why should I? One thing is fairly plain from that era, which is that Batista was nearing the end of his time in power, and was likely to be displaced anyway. Though I would ask any fair-minded person to compare the conditions of Fidel Castro’s imprisonment, after his armed revolt against Batista at the Moncada barracks, and Castro’s treatment of those who did no more than speak critically of him. I’d also mention that Cuba before Castro was a relatively advanced economy, and that many of the claims of the Castro revolution, notably to have made huge improvements in medical care, are not what they are cracked up to be. Medical care and education in Castro’s Cuba are by no means as great as the propaganda claim, and the Communist elite have privileged access to both schooling and medical care, which would surely be needless if things were as good as we are told.

No more do I defend the Tsarist autocracy which ruled Russia before the Bolshevik revolution.

The logic of such questions is that the revolution which they support or defend was the only possible resolution of the problems of the country. I do not think that this was, or generally is, the case. If Russia had had only the February Revolution of 1917, and not the October putsch, it would have been saved from a long nightmare. If Castro had been what the USA believed he was when he was in the Sierras, a democratic rebel, then Cuba might likewise have been saved from much.

If you want to know more about Peter Hitchens and his take on the entire leftist utopian enterprise, go here.

The other Hitchens

The dead Hitchens

10 comments to And now for something completely different… a pleasant surprise from the United Kingdom

  • raddoc

    This is superb. My only issue being that anyone who had bothered to follow Castro knew prior to his time in Moncada that he was a communist, and not a democratic rebel. Never heard of P.Hitchens before but I like him!
    Also, it's always nice to see other's recognize that pre-Castro Cuba was not of similar level of desperation and destitution as Haiti; instead it was one of the most advanced in every level in Latin America (health systems, education, meat consumption, cars, tv's, radios, to name a few-and as opposed to now, Cubans then got to read what they wanted, and hear what they wanted and not what the state dictated),

  • raddoc...I don't know if you've ever read this document, but if not, it's worth the time.

    http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/diaz-verson.htm

  • asombra

    Ah, but of course he's just an eccentric loon. Ask Mr. Ravsberg of the BBC, who's an official Cuba expert, you know.

  • asombra

    Still, it's nice to be reminded that the occasional non-Cuban both gets it and admits it.

  • raddoc

    Thanks Luis. I just now read it and it affirms what my father recounted many times to us. He knew Castro during law school and afterwards-Castro surrounded himself with some non-communists (my dad for one) and many young communists whom he personally recruited but were purposefully not publicly known as communist; the turning of these idealistic youths was repugnant and sad. My family had too many interactions with this man including daily interactions by my father ad well as my aunt and uncle attending his wedding in Banes. My father post revolution was a contra and left Cuba early on. He purposefully kept a very low profile until his death. But he had many valuable insights to the political machinations of 1950's Cuba which we are collating. I hope to pass them on here when I can.

  • asombra

    Hitchens brings up a very important fact and concept: being anti-Castro does NOT imply or require being pro-Batista, something assiduously and quite deliberately ignored or denied by the usual suspects, for obvious reasons.

  • asombra

    Let's send this piece to Oliphant, shall we?

  • Gallardo

    Frankly, to still be calling Castro's opponents Batistianos and to be talking of Batista as something relevant, or even worst than Castro, is beyond shameless at worst and moronic at best. Such imbecilic rhetoric is the result of the left purposely demonizing a zero to the left like Batista in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable, Fidel Castro.

    It is done to give their communist protagonist Castro (who they call "president") its antagonist (who they call "dictator") so that he can claim hero status in the fairytale they have created around him, when the fact is that Batista was not only a fetus as dictator next to Castro, he was the best thing that ever happened to such opportunist, deceitful, fraudulent, and vile piece of shit. Castro's men, in their effort to manipulate support, even went as far as to massacre country men while wearing Batista uniforms. Oh yeah, and Che, the communist executioner and preacher of the utilitarian dogma of "the ends justify the means", can also get to be a symbol of freedom as a result (never mind that he helped implant one hell of a Stalinist tyranny afterwards, no, forget that part).

    Then there is also their David vs Goliath story where Castro defeats the evil Yankees and their evil Batista. When the fact is that it was the CIA who trained and propped Castro into power through the likes of CIA operative Frank Sturgis and it was USA who placed an arms embargo against Cuba's military in '58, the one that prompted Batista and top Cuban officials to finally send it all to hell by the end of that year. This is a reality that neither side wants to divulge but a reality no less. It's also the reason why all other guerrilla efforts around the region attempting to emulate Castro have failed.

    If it wasn't for Castro's propaganda machine no one would know who the hell Batista, the 6 year Cuban "dictator", was any more than they know of Machado, Zayas, Grau or any other Cuban president. Granted, all Batista, like Machado, did was exploit personal connections withing the frame of a free society and all of them, despite their unorthodox ways, did more for Cuba's development, a hell of a lot more, than Castro (who in turn slaved, ruined, and destroyed the Cuban republic).

    I welcome the shameless cretin who dares to tell me that 53 years of betrayal and Stalinism are justified because Havana had four casinos, a Tropicana, and a fool who robbed an election in '52, so I can tear him into pieces. And yes, between communism and Batista I am 100% Batistiano and that is why Castro ALWAYS DENIED being a communist while Batista was still in power.

    That aside, my grandfather also knew Castro during his university years as a fellow student. He never cared for Castro, nor what the attention whore had to say, thus he was never one of his groupies but he was close enough as to see with his own eyes that the guy was nothing but a gangster. Always behind crimes, agitations, and creating clans.

    He never believed any of Castro's subsequent crap during his reappearance in the '50s as Robin Hood, he knew he was a shitty communist using people, but sadly the rest of Cuba, including my grandmother, believed the initial romantic trash. By the time reality kicked in, regarding both Castro and USA, it was too late.

  • [...] Peter Hitchens: The Guardian interviews me. And some Thoughts in Passing on Cuba and DNA, via Carlos Eire. [...]