by John Hawkins | February 19, 2008 12:00 pm
Over at the HuffPo, the reaction to Castro stepping down has been about what you’d expect from their commenters — well, about what I’d expect anyway. About 1/3, “glad he’s gone,” about 1/3 “Castro is great,” and about 1/3 “I hate Bush and/or America.” Incidentally, the “I hate Bush and/or America” posts are about a 1/3 of every thread.
Anyway, here’s some of what the HuffPO crew had to say about Fidel stepping down,
Klip: Let the Flag-Wavers cheer but I still have FAR MORE respect for Fidel Castro than I do for George W Bush. (He certainly did more for His people than Puddin’head did for us…)
thegreatgiginthesky: Bush is no better than Castro, Saddam or any other despot who has murdered people in the name of the greater good.
Sundialsvc4: Yes, indeed. What does George W. Bush know about democracy? He’s spent the last eight years striving to turn the United States into a fascist empire just to make himself more money — and it’s blowing up in his face now, at last, and George the Lesser has not a clue what to do about it.
Like it or not, Fidel Castro always did. Like him or not, to have ruled a country “for nearly half a century” (and not just in a symbolic way) is a pretty remarkable accolade.
Raul’s job is even harder: some part of the leadership of any country is a matter of symbolic power, and yet, Raul has been doing that job under those very conditions for quite a long time now.
As usual, all of the countries around Cuba are busy telling Cuba what Cuba should do, while steadfastly trying to isolate a small country that used to have twice-a-day ocean ferry service to Key West. Perhaps the thing about Fidel Castro that so vexes the leaders of much larger countries is that in many ways, (again, “like him or not”) he has been the leader that they themselves are not, and never will be.
We may not like Fidel (and Raul) Castro, what we think they did or what we think they stood for, but … these men do deserve the world’s respect. Such leaders are very, very rare.
madprophet: Hate to break it to you, but the vast, vast majority of the planet would much prefer the headline “BUSH, CHENEY DEAD”. The reasons are myriad.
JMEB: Castro has a truly mixed legacy. It is impossible to say he was all good or all bad. I do think the median Cuban is better educated and enjoys better health than a pre-Castro Cuban, which, oddly enough, might better suit Cubans for democracy these days than any other form of government.
robertlockwoodmills: Bush says Cuba should be democratic. O.K., but only if Cubans want democracy. It’s their choice, not Bush’s. Castro came to power because Cubans hated the tyrant Battista and wanted change, not because they were Communists at heart.
For seeking change and getting it, Cubans were rewarded with an economic boycott by the United States. Now Bush, who has done nothing to help Cubans in Cuba (for example, by lifting the boycott), but panders to Cubans in Miami for political reasons, is telling Cuba how to run its affairs. Pure arrogance.
madprophet: The man stood up to the idiot nation north of them for decades. My folks are on vacation right now in Cuba. (We are Canadian also). They have been to Cuba many times. They visited Havana about 8 days ago. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say compared to what you state.
Yes, Castro was a dictator. So what? Does he love Cuba? Unquestionably. Has Cuba been hurt by his rule. Indirectly. The f*cking U.S. economic boycott would ruin any country.
But Cuba is likely a better place today than it would have been with 50 years of democracy and U.S. capitalism.
I know it is hard for ignorant americans to grasp, but capitalism might NOT be the best way. Constant growth is insanity when you live in closed system, like every human does. Castro tried a different way. A benevolent dictatorship is still the most effective form of government. The key is “benevolent” and having a great leader. Without that, it is a disaster. Castro was such a great leader.
VOTER: My friend has traveled to Cuba 4-5 times every year for a very long time. While there, he stays with his friends. He reports his friends, in their 40’s, dearly love Castro.
They, also, would like to see better relations with the USA but not under Bush. They consider Bush to be Pure Evil. Also, they ask my friend why Americans didn’t have a revolution when the Supreme Court put Bush into power? Or when Bush entered Iraq illegally and killed thousands of innocent people?
Also, they do NOT want any US businesses to be in their country. They do not trust American businesses but do trust European and Canadian companies.
Cubans may well love Castro more for stepping down from power because they will view it as being a very loving act.
US embargoes to them show America’s Imperialism. And Cubans are very proud of their schools and hospitals.
Our country’s future “friendship” with Cuba will likely depend upon what we want from them. Our historical approach of WHAT IS IN IT FOR US vs WHAT IS GOOD FOR A PARTICULAR COUNTRY will come under scrutiny.
And it should.
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