One dictator less
By Eva Belfrage
November 26, 2016
The tyrant Fidel Castro has finally died and Cuba is rid of one dictator. Let us hope that there is only one more left, his brother Raúl Castro and that his son Alejandro Castro Espin will not be the third in the family dynasty.
A lot is said and will be told about Fidel Castro, the old barbed man and his cruel reign over his people, about the terror, the executions, his torture cells, concentration camps, labor camps, his secret police, his paramilitary corps and how the Cubans have suffered oppression, unjust prison sentences, hunger and malnutrition, discrimination against churches, homosexuals, black population and dissidents, how they have had to endure indecent and dangerous housing conditions, forced evictions, unemployment, abuses by police and authorities, indoctrination, lack of information, prohibitions and regulations by a corrupt bureaucracy and police, prohibition against fundamental rights to make a living, slave salaries and unprotected workconditions, persecution of dissidents and denial of their and their families' fundamental civil rights.
What is also well known are Fidel Castro's megalomaniac adventures outside Cuba, his military projects in Africa and Latin America to spread the communist doctrines under the pretext of struggling against colonialism, for the poor and against the US and capitalism, and where thousands of cubans lost their lives. But what is not much talked about is his Napoleonic aspirations for influence in the world. He set up one of the most effective spy nets abroad with the assistance of STASI of Eastern Germany. He infiltrated foreign governments, administrations, the Vatican, different bodies of the UN, foreign universities and international media and through communist parties and friendship associations all over the world he set to work an effective net of propaganda for the causes he decided to push for and when and where.
He even managed without military invasion, but with a strong military presence to make Venezuela his puppet state, to profit from its oil and use the Venezuelan oil to buy influences in several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands.
Now all that said I have a few questions that come to my mind right now:
1. Fidel Castro has been categorized by Forbes to be one of the richest men in the World, a wealth accumulated on the back of the Cuban people, who doesn't know about it and never will get part of it. Who did he plan to be his hereditaries? Will this create antagonism within the family ?
2. Raúl Castro has been very loyal to his brother and many think that he will be braver without him and make more radical reforms. There are no signs that this will happen, on the contrary. But my hope is that the death of his brother will make Raúl less self-confident or that he will get sick by his old age so that he will lose some of his capacity to rule and that confusion or power vacuum will create an opportunity for dissidents and for people to rebel.
3. Will the waning financial support, soon to disappear, from Venezuela and the support from Obama, soon to be dismantled by Trump, shake the regime sufficiently to give in to economic and political reforms in Cuba? I fear it will not be so, instead Castro II or the thought to be Castro III will try to lean on former allies like Russia and Vietnam and most likely on FARC-Santos in Colombia, where possibly a new Venezuela-like relationship will be attempted. But before new such relations have been established there will be an economic vacuum with increased hardships for the Cuban people and risks of manifestations of discontent. This is why repression, already now, is intensified and the regime is trying to silence independent journalists and imprison members of opposition movements on a grand scale. The so called self-employed (small semi-private sector) are also harassed on a daily basis with the intention of reminding them that they entirely depend on the good or bad will of the state and that big brother is always watching.
4. They say that all the big international news agencies have been present in Cuba, not because Cuba is of any economic importance to the world, but because they were waiting for covering the story of the death of Fidel Castro. And all these years they have been subdued to ridiculous restrictions and only reported lies provided by the regime of the situation in Cuba. Hence they have been almost useless with their rosy picture of Cuba, which in reality is in complete decay, suffering an exodus of alarming proportions. Will these news agencies close down after the funeral of Fidel Castro, and will we at last get true and decent reports about what really is going on in Cuba, with trustworthy news that are possible to get today through direct contacts with reliable sources on the Island, by phone or internet or by publishing news and reports from independent journalists?