Old Cold War Revives as Castro Dies

As the U.S. plows toward a New Cold War, remnants of the old one resurfaced with the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro as the mainstream U.S. media flashed back to old Cold War rhetoric, says William Blum.

By William Blum

The most frequent comment I’ve read in the mainstream media concerning Fidel Castro’s death is that he was a “dictator”; almost every heading bore that word. Since the 1959 revolution, the American mainstream media has routinely referred to Cuba as a dictatorship. But just what does Cuba do or lack that makes it a dictatorship?

No “free press”? Apart from the question of how free Western media is, if that’s to be the standard, what would happen if Cuba announced that from now on anyone in the country could own any kind of media? How long would it be before CIA money – secret and unlimited CIA money financing all kinds of fronts in Cuba – would own or control almost all the media worth owning or controlling?

Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 2003. (Photo credit: Antonio Milena - ABr)

Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 2003. (Photo credit: Antonio Milena – ABr)

Is it “free elections” that Cuba lacks? They regularly have elections at municipal, regional and national levels. They do not have direct election of the president, but neither do Germany or the United Kingdom and many other countries. The Cuban president is chosen by the parliament, The National Assembly of People’s Power. Money plays virtually no role in these elections; neither does party politics, including the Communist Party, since all candidates run as individuals.

Again, what is the standard by which Cuban elections are to be judged? Is it that they don’t have private corporations to pour in a billion dollars? Most Americans, if they gave it any thought, might find it difficult to even imagine what a free and democratic election, without great concentrations of corporate money, would look like, or how it would operate. Would Ralph Nader finally be able to get on all 50 state ballots, take part in national television debates, and be able to match the two monopoly parties in media advertising? If that were the case, I think he’d probably win; which is why it’s not the case.

Or perhaps what Cuba lacks is our marvelous “electoral college” system, where the presidential candidate with the most votes is not necessarily the winner. Did we need the latest example of this travesty of democracy to convince us to finally get rid of it? If we really think this system is a good example of democracy why don’t we use it for local and state elections as well?

Is Cuba a dictatorship because it arrests dissidents? Many thousands of anti-war and other protesters have been arrested in the United States in recent years, as in every period in American history. During the Occupy Movement of five years ago more than 7,000 people were arrested, many beaten by police and mistreated while in custody. And remember: The United States is to the Cuban government like Al Qaeda is to Washington, only much more powerful and much closer; virtually without exception, Cuban dissidents have been financed by and aided in other ways by the United States.

Would Washington ignore a group of Americans receiving funds from Al Qaeda and engaging in repeated meetings with known members of that organization? In recent years the United States has arrested a great many people in the U.S. and abroad solely on the basis of alleged ties to Al Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than Cuba has had with its dissidents’ ties to the United States. Virtually all of Cuba’s “political prisoners” are such dissidents.

While others may call Cuba’s security policies dictatorship, I call it self-defense.

William Blum is an author, historian, and renowned critic of U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II and Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, among others. [This article originally appeared at the Anti-Empire Report,  http://williamblum.org/ .]

8 comments for “Old Cold War Revives as Castro Dies

  1. Pedro Monzon
    December 2, 2016 at 11:02

    From Cuba: Congratulations a real objetive analysis.

  2. bazin
    December 1, 2016 at 22:39

    Dictatorship is defined by corporate America as any state who is not a vassal, a client to the former. the US mainstream media has never mentioned about the genocide perpetrators such as the Bushes, Dick cheney, Rumsfeld, Tony Blair…. who ordered the distraction and slaughter of millions of people around the globe, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mai Lai massacre and Iraq, Libya …. The so called intellectuals and journalists became mouth pieces of corporations whose purpose is nothing else than reinforcing the old colonialist narrative that approves the white man’s ‘civilizing mission.”

  3. Mark Osterloh, MD, JD, RPh
    December 1, 2016 at 21:35

    Dear Electoral College Voters:

    There is still time to stop Donald Trump from becoming President by changing Electoral College voters’ minds. Many agree that Donald Trump has narcissistic personality disorder. His actions indicate that he may also have the much more dangerous borderline personality disorder. I spent ten years studying borderline personality disorder and wrote a book about it; I tell the stories of numerous notable people to illustrate the impact of the condition. Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler had this mental illness.
    There are nine diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder (also called emotionally unstable personality disorder); a person must display five of the nine to be diagnosed. President-elect Trump appears to display seven of the signs of borderline personality disorder:

    1) Extreme faultfinding. The most important symptom is constantly finding faults in others and themselves. They see everything in black-and-white, all-good or all-bad terms. Those who disagree with them are all-bad. Borderlines inwardly criticize themselves but won’t admit it. Many of their actions are aimed at countering their poor self-image. This may include aggressive self-promotion and putting others down. They often blame all their problems on others while playing the role of victim. Borderlines rarely if ever apologize for their hurtful actions.
    2) Reckless impulsivity in spending, sex, or other areas. Trump’s businesses have declared bankruptcy four times and he has been a plaintiff or defendant in some 3,500 lawsuits. In the area of sex, his comments about his sexual assaults are revealing. He has gone through three wives. He has owned the Miss USA Pageant, alternately oogling naked contestants while they were dressing and later criticizing them.
    3) Intense mood swings. When Borderlines are questioned about their beliefs or actions they take it to be a personal attack. So volatile are these individuals that dealing with them is called “walking on eggshells.” Twitter rants!
    4) Intense and even uncontrolled anger. This was a defining theme of Trump’s campaign. He frequently expresses it and thrills in provoking it in his audiences.
    5) Serious identity disturbances. Borderlines often change their personalities and beliefs to match the people around them in order to be accepted or to gain an identity. It is hard to know what Trump really believes. He espouses different beliefs almost as often as the seasons change. For example, his political affiliations have been Democrat, Republican, Reformed Party, Democrat, Republican, Independent and now Republican. These individuals are often control freaks, feeling so out of control themselves that they try to bring stability to their lives by controlling others. Borderlines can also be hard to distinguish from sociopaths because they feel entitled to do whatever they want to others.
    6) Chronic feelings of emptiness. In order to fight these feelings Borderlines can become obsessed with seeking unending stimulation, possessions, love and admiration. No matter what you do for them, they are never satisfied. They can never have enough. Observe Trump’s bottomless pit of neediness for attention and ostentatious displays of wealth. Does he really care about others? Trump has been called “The least charitable billionaire in the world.”
    7) Transient stress-related paranoia or unreality episodes. Trump’s utterances display his paranoid ideas about all the bad people he imagines. His statements about how Congress and the world will run when he is President extend into the realm of unreality as do his tweet rants and conspiracy theories. Borderlines are notorious for lying and operating on the premise that their feelings make facts instead of facts making facts. This is emotional reasoning instead of logical reasoning. They accept delusions over facts in order to believe they don’t make mistakes and to confirm their view of the world.

    I cannot speak to whether or not President-elect Trump has displayed the last two symptoms of borderline personality disorder – suicide attempts/self-mutilation and frantic efforts to avoid abandonment – as I have not seen these on public display. Nevertheless, he seems to exhibit seven of the nine criteria for borderline personality disorder while only five are required for the diagnosis.
    Six percent of the population have this hard to recognize mental illness while only one in four is diagnosed. Many of the seventy-five percent who are never diagnosed are “high-functioning” and can be very successful as doctors, lawyers, professors and CEOs of companies. Unfortunately, they can make the lives of those who have to live or work with them miserable. And, borderline personality disorder is the deadliest mental illness in all of human history. The two psychological biographies of Adolf Hitler, The psychopathic god: Adolf Hitler and Hitler’s psychopathology both agree that he had borderline personality disorder. He was responsible for at least twenty-one million killed. Mao Zedong was diagnosed as Borderline by his physician of twenty-two years. He was responsible for seventy million killed.
    The thought of Adolf Hitler having nuclear weapons is terrifying. If Donald Trump has the same mental illness as Hitler, the terror is orders of magnitude greater. He could start a war that would destroy humanity and render our planet virtually uninhabitable. We need to know Donald Trump’s true mental health status. You can learn more by talking to psychologists who specialize in treating “high functioning” Borderlines, through my book Faultfinders: The impact of borderline personality disorder or by contacting me directly. I would be happy to discuss my observations of President-elect Trump’s mental status.
    I encourage you to share this information with others, including members of the Electoral College.

    Mark Osterloh, MD, JD, RPh
    P.O. Box 4310
    Palm Desert, CA 92261
    [email protected]

  4. Zachary Smith
    December 1, 2016 at 14:33

    Or perhaps what Cuba lacks is our marvelous “electoral college” system, where the presidential candidate with the most votes is not necessarily the winner. Did we need the latest example of this travesty of democracy to convince us to finally get rid of it? If we really think this system is a good example of democracy why don’t we use it for local and state elections as well?

    This provoked me into looking up California’s registration system. At the Snopes site – the one which either verifies or shoots down rumors and urban legends – they say this: “Claim: California passed a law to allow undocumented immigrants to vote.” = “False”

    What California actually did was to pass a law allowing illegals to get a driver’s license. Then that state passed another law making the registration for a license also a registration to vote – unless the applicant opted out. it would take a real fool to deduce from this that Illegals were now authorized to vote if they were not citizens.

    I would remind Mr. Blum that though the Electoral College is a racist relic of the evil old days, tossing it out would not necessarily be an improvement. Making the US voting system respectable again is going to take a lot of deep thought, and some legislation which probably isn’t going to happen.


    • John
      December 2, 2016 at 02:19

      Wow, you link to an article that disproves your claim.

      That takes real integrity.

  5. Bill Bodden
    December 1, 2016 at 14:10

    There have been many negatives, some valid, some not, hurled at Cuba over the years, but they shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. What would Cuba have been like if there had not been any embargoes applied against it? How would Fidel Castro have governed if he didn’t have to fear assassination by the CIA and others? Despite having to endure this aggression, Cuba developed an exceptional system of health care that not only served the Cuban people very well but also many others in the developing world. Everyone in Cuba has access to good health care which is more than can be said for many people living in these United States.

    • Tannenhouser
      December 1, 2016 at 18:10

      Don’t forget a literacy rate that shames most western “democratic” states. It is a fact that the US and it’s insane need a villain narrative did more harm to Cuba than 1000’s of Castro’s ever did or will do.

      • Bill Bodden
        December 1, 2016 at 20:25

        I didn’t forget literacy or other points but was just focusing on health care, probably among the top three or four of Castro’s achievements.

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