Sunday, May 25, 2008

Going On Record: I Give Credit To Castro and Che For Their African Revolutionary Assistance

There you go - my friend - I said it publicly.

I rented the movie a few weeks ago after hearing that it was being shown at a local gathering that I was not able to attend in person. The movie is called "Cuba: An African Odyssey". I watched it in advance of my friend's first viewing of it yesterday when he came over to my house. This friend is a fan of Castro. He says that Fidel Castro is the greatest leader in the western hemisphere because he was able to keep the American imperialists out of his country as well as projecting his power into Africa and other nations for the sake of driving out colonialism. He is an equal fan of Che Guevara as well. Once I saw the movie I knew that he was going to sing both of their praises.

After kicking off the revolution in Cuba they both set out to fight against European imperialism. Che Guevara traveled to Africa and involved himself, along with the help of a boat load of Black Cubans, into the affairs of Congo, central Africa. After the assassination of Patrice Lamumba a band of "Lamumbites" formed a rebel factions to take up arms against the rule of Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu who had been appointed military leader by Lamumba had double crossed him, running to the Belgians and American CIA for support if he were to execute a coup. Upon getting the green light in assurance - Lamumba was killed.

Che Guevara assisted in several anti-colonial movements against European powers who were exploiting and oppressing the people, largely for the sake of having free reign at the valuable natural resources contained within, particularly the Kananga region of the country which installed a puppet government loyal to the Belgians.

As we viewed the movie, as expected, seeing the details of this narrative - my friend was more convinced than ever about his love for Che and Fidel. Then, of course, he worked to get me to admit that I had respect for Fidel. I tried to make the point that, as with everyone, there are good elements that need to be praised and negative elements that are worthy of condemnation. Fidel Castro is a perfect model of this point.

Thus my testimony.

I can objectively say that the courage that the Revolutionary operatives showed within Africa is note worth. I have to also make note before I forget that much of this happened in the context of the US/USSR Cold War battle. Where as the average "Anti-America American" will make note of the nefarious actions of the American government both against certain revolutionary actors and in support of the European colonizers, few of them would also make note of the impure motivations of the USSR. Cuba was not just a revolutionary ground - it was also closely proximate to the United States to be a painful thorn in their side.

It is also true that many of the newly liberated African nations splintered as factionalism which was partially fueled by the East/West global chess match vied for the hearts of the people on this fertile land.

Despite all of the added context to explain the real situation - I must give credit to Castro and Che because the forces arrayed against the Africans and their right to self determination. As revolutionary leaders they are to be applauded for their courage for going against the world powers.

I maintain my criticism of Fidel Castro's second act. The suppression of freedom in Cuba is unacceptable. Despite the applause for the free education and health care - the fact remains - Cuba is a totalitarian state and Fidel Castro was the architect.

Just as I can bring myself to compartmentalize the deeds of Thomas Jefferson, for example, which allows me to say that his Bill Of Rights was a net good thing - I must also make note of his slave holding compartment as well.

So often those who are Revolutionaries as they fight against a certain entity don't make good executors of their vision, providing the high level of human dignity that they fought as part of their original stance against the prior oppressor.


dans said...

Came across your blog just a while ago.

While trying to get a hold on from which direction you hail....are you a Vietnam era vet or thereabouts?

If not, what decade (or decades) do you count as your more constructive towards world view?

fred call aka bigbro

dans said... clarify, I'm a white guy, Vietnam Vet era type.

fred call aka bigbro

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]what decade (or decades) do you count as your more constructive towards world view?[/quote]



I am a student of history. I love researching all of the eras of our past that have lead up to our present. This is for America and the rest of the world.

I am not a Vietnam Vet. I was born in the late 60's so no chance of that.

If you are attempting to extract out of me my understanding of the Cold War and the East/West battles for global supremacy - I am hip. Most 3rd party players around the world chose sides because they could receive certain benefits and resources from doing so.

Regarding Africa - the USA was fully aware of the deleterious impact that colonialism had on the Black Africans. They chose operate within the theory of White Supremacy and assist the European colonizers to fight the "Revolutions".

dans said...

I wasn't trying to extract anything at the moment. I was trying to estimate from which direction your personal experiences come from....before I try to extract anything.

Not that I'm a surgeon or dentist, and extracting anything is of any vital importance.

Okay, now that that little foray into introduction is done and away with....was wondering if you studied anything to do with Marxhal McCluhan. Being that you were writing about communications in the global village, particularly in the outback.

And since you were talking about Castro, and being that I grew up in South Florida and have fond memories of the first Cuban immigrations, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Cuban blockade that had people wondering if World War Three was coming while American tanks rumbled to a halt on Miami Beach to await an invasion.....

Ah, well. I could go on.

So, you were born in the 60s, about the time when the Civil Rights movement was going in many different directions from Malcolm X to Martin Luther King to the Black Panthers......but, you probably didn't have much awareness of what was going on around you at that age.

Or, do you have some of those fond and lucidly vivid memories as a then very young black (in Georgia?), those kinds of memories that are indelibly stuck into your conscious via your subconscious?

And, like, when in your life did you come to some kind of personal conclusion about Southeast Asia?

Stuff like that. Which is why I was asking for a timeline reference. To get an idea of where to go conversationally.

fred call aka bigbro

PS....Did you have any parents or relatives who served in Vietnam who might have told you true stories about their days in the either the military or the civil rights marches or the peace demonstrations or any such diary moments?

dans said...

PS....Are you an Obama advocate?

I'm a lifelong Democrat who is voting Republican for the first time in my life.

Go figure how life changes.

Anyway, is Obama your guy? Cause I really haven't had enough time to read enough of your stuff to know. Just ran into your blog today, and am trying to cut to the quick on some matters to cut corners and save time off of idle chatter.

fred call aka bigbro

dans said...

Well, you got very silent on that question.

I got to thinking that maybe you felt intimidated. I'm not all so sure how deep the Black Separatist Theology goes in your cultural strategy.

So, I'm curious to hear from the black separatist perspective your take on the movment as promoted by Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farakanh.

Or, is that part of black separatist theology that a black and a white can't trade theories?

In black separatist theology, is the presumption of white intimidation ever present? Constantly?

fred call aka bigbro

dans said...

PS....Kind of interesting that Benecio Del Toro won top acting honors at Cannes for his portrayal of Che.

Did you ever see or read Motorcyle Diaries?

fred call aka bigbro

Constructive Feedback said...


Don't read too much into my specific comments about Fidel and Che.

For me as a person who is aware of the great amount of exploitation in Africa over time I must be intellectually consistent in saying that the attempt to force the colonizers out of the area that they were extracting a great amount of resources from for their own benefit and not for the African people's is a net positive move forward. I will be the first person to also point out that many of these same countries have failed to provide for their people once they received their freedom.

This acknowledgment of Castro is only limited to his excursion in Africa. I remain as one of his biggest critics in regard to the modern day oppression of his own people. Those people who love his free health care and education say little about his lock on civil liberties. To say that Cubans have free long as they don't criticize the Revolution - is clearly not free speech.

During the time that you speak of in the 60's indeed there was a global battle between east and west. Castro chose to get into bed with the Soviets. They provided a significant portion of his nation's funding. During that time he was making the case that he didn't need to trade with the imperialist Yankee to the north. Now that his funding source has dried up - he has plenty of operatives who can find more fault in the United States than in anything that Castro has done to his people vocalizing criticism against the continued American embargo.

I am skeptically happy that Raul Castro has allowed for cellphones, consumer goods and for Cubans to visit the areas that were most recently limited to foreign tourists.

It is clear to me that the Americans are looking for the Cuban government to loosen up their grip from their people's necks before any pressure to remove the embargo will stick.

Dans - to directly answer your question - I have no special connection with Cuba. I only make note of how certain people (especially my close friend) can find favor in this place and look past the contradictions. At the end of the day Castro took up residence with America's #1 enemy and he specifically has precipitated the level of angst that exists with the US policy against the nation.