Fidel Castro and human rights: The devil is in the details

Most of us know about the infamous “Words to the intellectuals” spoken by Fidel Castro in 1961, not long after the Bay of Pigs debacle, to a gathering of Cuba’s leading writers and artists brought together to be, uh, instructed by the Maximum Leader. State censorship had already started by then, but this speech (predictably a monologue) officially established it. The gist of the matter was introduced with a rhetorical question: “What are the rights of writers and artists, whether revolutionaries or not?” The answer was: “Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, no rights.” By “the Revolution,” of course, he meant his rule, his way. As in “my way and no other.”

But, that famous dictum was immediately followed by a statement even more significant but much less noticed. “Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, no rights” was followed by “This is a general principle for all citizens.” For all. Somehow that detail had escaped me, but he could hardly have been any clearer. It was the very definition of a dictatorship where no dissent is allowed–and yet, much of the world condoned and accepted it or praised and supported it. After over 60 years of totalitarian oppression, that is still the case. So what does that say about the world, especially the “good” world that claims to be all about human rights, freedom and self-determination?

We all know what it says, which is that the world is full of it, and worse. Alas, we are still depending on the kindness of strangers, not to say aliens, as if that will ever free Cuba and put an end to its nightmare. Lord have mercy.

And no, Fidel’s crystal-clear declaration of intolerance for anything that went against his rule did not stop countless foreign intellectuals, academics and artistic types from kissing his totalitarian ass. Talk about beneath contempt.

2 thoughts on “Fidel Castro and human rights: The devil is in the details”

  1. In Castrospeak, the “revolution” has always been a euphemism for dictatorship, and a fairly transparent one, except perhaps for the frankly idiotic or deranged. That is truer than ever now, but the Castronoids keep using it, not least because there are still plenty of people willing to buy it–but ignorance is not the problem.

  2. Asombra,

    Yes, you’re right. The “revolution” is a euphemism for the dictatorship and the dictatorship was of course Fidel Castro. He was such an obscene megalomaniac that he thought he could time travel. Somehow, he was predestined and everything Jose Martí did was leading up to him. That is to say, Jose Martí wasn’t the important man in Cuban history; he was nothing more than a pedestal for Fidel. He, also, spoke about owning people’s brains as he did with the eminent brain surgeon Hilda Molina. He, also, thought that any book any writer wrote in Cuba belonged to him which is why he had Reinaldo Arenas arrested, since Arenas circumvented the regime when he smuggled his manuscripts out of Cuba.

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