Posted by Curt on 2 August, 2006 at 10:11 am. 2 comments already!


While the world awaits the fate of Fidel Castro one man out of many is speaking out about the crimes of this tyrant:

Charging Fidel Castro with the deaths of his relatives, Cuban-American Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell declared last night: "I hope he does die."

"Castro killed members of my family," Lowell told the Herald before last night's game against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway.

[…]"My cousins were political prisoners. My father-in-law was a political prisoner for 15 years because, at 19, they asked him if he agreed with communism and he said, ‘No,' so they sentenced him to death. That's not the way to live. I know it's terrible to say, but I think of all of that and I hope he (Castro) passes away.

"I don't care if he dies," Lowell said. "There are so many people who have died because of him and there's been so much wrongdoing and so many human rights violations that I hope he does die. That sounds bad, but it's the truth."  

Meanwhile Media Reality Check is doing a round-up of all the praise heaped about Fidel by our MSM:

For some in the media, it was love at first sight. Back on January 18, 1959, New York Times reporter Herbert L. Matthews exulted in Castro's seizure of Cuba: "Everybody here seems agreed that Dr. Castro is one of the most extraordinary figures ever to appear on the Latin-American scene. He is by any standards a man of destiny."

After decades of poverty and repression, the media's enthusiasm remained. Then-NBC reporter Maria Shriver let Castro himself lead her on a tour of Havana. "The level of public services was remarkable: free education, medicine and heavily-subsidized housing," Shriver marveled on the February 28, 1988 Today. In the same broadcast, reporter Ed Rabel dismissed worries about Cuba's "government intrusion" in citizen's lives: "On a sunny day in a park in the old city of Havana, it is difficult to see anything sinister."

ABC's Peter Jennings trumpeted "the revolution's great success stories." On his April 3, 1989 World News Tonight, Jennings touted how "medical care was once for the privileged few. Today it is available to every Cuban, and it is free. Some of Cuba's health care is world class….Health and education are the revolution's great success stories."

Katie Couric was just as upbeat on NBC's Today on Feb. 13, 1992: "Considered one of the most charismatic leaders of the 20th century….Castro traveled the country cultivating his image and his revolution delivered. Campaigns stamped out illiteracy and even today, Cuba has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world."

On the September 4, 1994 CBS Evening News, reporter Giselle Fernandez found Castro's Cuba "a beacon of success for much of Latin America and the Third World. For decades, Cuba's health care and education systems were touted as great achievements of the revolution….Some say the [U.S.] trade ban has never given Cuba a chance to see whether or not Castro's socialism might work."

CNN's Lucia Newman even praised Castro's one-party "elections." On the January 11, 1998 The World Today, Newman extolled: "No dubious campaign spending here, no mud slinging….[It's] a system President Castro boasts is the most democratic and cleanest in the world."

Mario Loyala explores the upcoming power struggle in Cuba and who the players are:

Raúl Castro: Currently defense minister, he is the anointed successor to his elder brother's post. He is remembered as one of the most brutal of the revolution's original leaders. Just a few months after the fall of strongman Fulgencio Batista he executed scores of former army and police officers by machine gun, disposing of them in a mass grave. More recently, he has turned the armed forces into a sprawling fiefdom with its own farms, resorts, and industrial holdings. He rarely speaks in public, is reputed to be a heavy drinker, rarely gives interviews, and is not particularly well-liked. The reality of his power base lies not in his popularity nor much less in the Castro's will, but rather in the fact that the succession to him has been in train for decades. Men loyal to Raúl are in key positions of national, provincial, and municipal power throughout Cuba. Raúl still romanticizes the early years of the revolution as if they had happened yesterday. In fact, he would rather not talk about anything that happened after the vertiginous failure of his brother's economic policies – in 1961. There is reason to hope that he has lost interest in the Revolution generally, aside from its perks, and may not have as much stomach for mass executions as he once did.

Felipe "Filipito" Pérez Roque: Currently foreign minister, Castro ascended him to his current role after many years as personal secretary. Only 41 years old, he is known as Castro's attack dog, perhaps the most frothing castrista of the senior leaders. A lifetime of utter dependence on Castro might not have left him in the most favorable position as a potential successor. And as the foreign minister who helped make Cuba the bride of Hugo Chavez, and then watched as Cuba became yesterday's thrill in the bordelo boliviariano, Filipito may have made lots of enemies along the way.

Carlos Lage Dávila: Currently a vice president in Cuba, and by training a doctor, Lage is an example of the Revolution's second-generation technocrat whiz-kids, who excel in extracting a few pennies from Castro's poverty machine. He is held in high regard as an international negotiator, and appears to be well-liked in Europe. As Castro's right hand during the "Special Period" that followed the end of Soviet subsidies in 1989, Lage spent a great deal of time developing a series of "mixed-economy" proposals almost all of which Castro ultimately rejected. Lage's influence waned after that, but not greatly. The Cuban writer Carlos Alberto Montaner calls Lage the "pitiful manager of the madhouse." Lage has shown a worrisome facility for being dominated by Castro, and on a recent trip to Venezuela, Lage groveled to the Bolivarian Revolution, saying that Cuba has two presidents: "Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez." Nevertheless, his brains, experience, and reputation are his power base. Along with Francisco Soberón Valdés, head of the Central Bank, he is be viewed by many in and out of the regime as a needed technocrat.

Ricardo Alarcón: Currently president of the National Assembly, Alarcón's is the most subtle and impenetrable of Cuba's current leaders. Elected head of the student federation in the early 1960s, he was the first major young technocrat produced by the Revolution. He quickly rose to become Cuba's ambassador to the United Nations, and then held a variety of senior posts at the United Nations itself. Tapped briefly as foreign minister in the early 1990s, Castro appointed him to preside over the National Assembly less than a year later. There has always been speculation whether this was a demotion. The move is probably better understood as Castro eliminating a potential competitor who may have proven less than loyal to the Revolution during the Special Period – when Castro came closest to losing his grip on power. A tireless opponent of the embargo, Alarcón has argued forcefully for access to international commerce and microfinancing – things that many of Castro's most inveterate enemies in Miami have advocated as ways to bring down the regime. He was not mentioned at all in Castro's will – nor, as a legislator, should he have expected it. Apart from reputation, it is not clear what his power base really is: he spent most of the first three decades of the Revolution living in New York, and since returning to Cuba has held a largely ceremonial post. But if in the tumult of succession, something terrible should happen to Raúl without a supreme leader formally in place, the National Assembly would then decide who leads- as Alarcón once explained in an interview.

Many believe Castro's family will take the reigns and keep the country just as it is today but you just never know the depth of the internal turmoil that is yet to come.  Will the in-fighting create enough of a schism that the anti-Castro forces can take control?  You just never know.

One thing I do know, if Castro is dead I will raise a toast to those who have opposed him all these years. 

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