Fidel's Blood soaked Island
The island of Cuba--and I say this with no sinister irony, given what has probably gone on at Guantanamo Bay over recent years--has often been associated with brutality. One of the things, after all, that gives Hitchcock's masterful Topaz some of it's currency is how true to life some of the things it depicts there actually were.
Columbus started it all. He may have been a remarkable sailor--though I think that sooner or later someone would have come across America and told people about it, especially at the end of Europe's long fifteenth century crisis. When Columbus returned to the New World, having been home, he did so as Grand Admiral of the Ocean, viceroy, and governor of Hispaniola and the associated lands that included Cuba.
However, Cristobal Colon left life after four voyages with a record of trials for torture, the execution of his crew, the spreading of a disease that killed 5 million Europeans, the herald of illnesses that would kill tens of million of native Americans, and with a name that was a byword for rape and terror, even in the Spain that spawned the Spanish Inquisition.
This was all then forgotten and Columbus became a hero. In the course of the centuries since, Cuba has been governed by Spaniards who were responsible for tying the brave female leader of the Slave rebellion in 1843 to wild horses and tearing her apart. Manzanillo seems to have a major massacre and to be a cause of war at least once a century. The Batista regime seems to have been only one of many of the gangster groups to have ruled the island. I could go on.
So it is no real surprise that Fidel Castro's rule has been one of violence. Cuba is, in the long sense of things, soaked in blood. There is a fascinating debate going on at Neil Clark's blog about this. Neil, decent man that he is, was appalled as was my best pal when she went, by the way beatings, the secret police, and the needless, state sanctioned poverty affected the people. This has outraged some on the left.
Really though, how much do you need to know about Fidel Castro? His first murder was very probably at law school, which in Cuba was pretty much a matter of gangs. He then proceeded on a long and bloody war, partly with CIA support (the Company always being more the sort of murderous liberal organisation than people other than Nixon credited it to be) and then turned on the Agency, which they never forgive.
You don't have to read Weiner's 'Legacy of Ashes' to know that one of the main points of the CIA is the CIA. Useless they may be as an intelligence agency, self serving and frankly dangerous, but make them look silly and they will get you or the nearest plausible substitute. Order them to get someone for some other reason and they will reliably mess it up.
Castro once in office proceeded by degrees to kill. There are representative samples. One was, for instance, Carlos Machado. 15 years old. Another was the six-months pregnant Juana Diaz. The US has credibly spread the story of Howard Anderson, an American agent whose body was practically drained of blood by torturers before he was executed in Cuba. There are tens of thousands of others.
Unfortunately, the only two groups talking about this are the American Right--who have lost any moral authority they ever pretended to in recent years--and the US Congress, which has very little anyway. Facts are facts though. At least half a million people have been jailed in Cuba's gulag for political crimes. Why believe me? Here's a link that links to some french communists with figures.
Fidel Castro was a murderous dictator who suspended habeas corpus, impoverished his people, tried to blow up the world at the hour of maximum danger and lied about everything. I have every expectation that he will now try and embrace God before he dies. He should.