Friday, October 25, 2013

Portrait of Fidel Castro by José Ignacio Rasco (an excerpt) pt. 1

Man of letters and Cuban politician, José Ignacio Rasco passed away on October 19, 2013 at the age of 88. He was the founder of the Cuban Christian Democratic Party in Cuba in 1959 and for many years was the leader of the Christian Democrat Organization of America (ODCA in Spanish). He was an early and constant opponent of the Castro dictatorship and a supporter of Cuba's Christian Liberation Movement. He is greatly missed. In 2012, he published a collection of essays taken over his lifetime, below is a translated excerpt of one of them in which he explains Castro's communist roots. According to Rasco, Fidel Castro was already a committed communist by 1950.

José Ignacio Rasco (1925 - 2013)


This is an eternal discussion among addicts of the Castro Revolution theme . It is not easy to give a yes or no answer. Those who by privilege, or misfortune of circumstances - could penetrate somewhat into the labyrinthine mental process of  the "supreme leader ", and some of his acolytes , can give a conclusion to our thesis. I respect ,then, contrary opinions, but for me there is no doubt that Castro is, was and will be, a Marxist- Leninist as he ended up saying - and since then never recanted . Right now, when he has been virtually alone, with a country on tenterhooks, the stubborn leader 's only communist government in America, is raising the red flag. It would have been very easy, with economic justifications, to have made the turn, which would have won the sympathy and support of the United States and almost every country in Europe and Latin America. Even the rickety Soviet Union which could have been used as a model. Perhaps Castro could have recovered part of his charisma today so rumpled by his failures and impotence.

If by their fruits you will know them there we have Castro owner and master of the Marxist revolution, perhaps more orthodox of all those known. I think no one -not even the Russians- reached the speed and acceleration of the early days of the totalitarian revolution that resulted in the tragic Cuban process. The drastic reforms in Cuba, in 1959, 60 and 61 do not have to envy anything that was done in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland or the Soviet Union itself in the early years of Marxist imposition. Cuba communization made other similar processes look small in comparison. If Castro always decided everything and the revolution turned out Marxist it was precisely because that is what the supreme leader wanted. Otherwise the revolution would have followed the democratic course that the people wanted.  

From the beginning, following the communist pattern, he concentrated on setting up his propaganda system and his repressive apparatus of intelligence and terrorism. The greatest effectiveness of this regime has been in its marketing capacity -Castro has a lot of Goebbels- and in his powerful instrument of military-police security -Castro has much of Stalin. Those have been his two greatest successes: propaganda and repression and always in close dependence to the cult of personality of the "maximum leader".

The argument made by some that Fidel is Fidelista before anything else, forget that Stalin was Stalinist first than communist as Khrushchev was kruchevista, Lenin Leninist, or Ramiz Alia, ramizista. Communism has been a means rather than an end for its leaders to find absolute power and remain there. It has been a garment to
dress up the dictatorship of the proletarian the same in Cuba as in other countries. And in no case was the Marxist-Leninist recipe for reaching power or keeping it followed literally. The individualism of the heads has prevailed over socialist collectivism, that is to say state capitalism.

Nor the fact that Castro is an opportunist - which he is, is reason enough to concede that he is not a communist . I know of no international communist bigwig who is not an opportunist. The terrible Honecker also was like all his successors, as Jaruzelski or Gomulka in Poland, as Zhivkovo in Bulgaria.  

That Castro could have been a Nazi does not preclude him from his Marxist totalitarianism. Any - or at least some - of the Marxist leaders could have changed the sickle and hammer for the same swastika if Nazism became fashionable or was imposed. After all, National Socialism and Marxist Socialism are close cousins​​. They knew to sign nonaggression pacts when convenience so advised them. That there is a lot of the Nazi in Castro is true. Which only reinforces his status as a communist manipulator and if there had been winds favorable to his ascension up the Nazi -fascist ladder he would have done it. But his strategic sense told him that was not the time to be a Nazi or even to be a tropical dictator. Therefore he would not be a mere autocrat in the style of Batista, Somoza, Stroessner , Perez Jimenez or any other that kind. He was attracted more to the figure of Tito - who was also deeply Titoist - or the Chinese Mao who played all sorts of cards to stay in power. In his opportunism Marxism-Leninism was the card chosen. The motivation took advantage of the opportunity.

I think if there had not been a defined ideological-strategic conception, Castro would not have launched in search of Marxist socialism, 90 miles from Uncle Sam, which initially was happy and ready to channel Cuba by the democratic and capitalist path that befitted its best interests. But Castro aspired to be something more than a puppet dictator of the United States. He preferred to choose his Marxist card, in a stage of the Cold War, despite his success being due in large part to the final attitude of the United States against Batista, whom they abandoned and declared an arms embargo against that served as a checkmate to corral the Batista army. Afterwards came the paradox that the two great powers of the world, from Kennedy and Khrushchev became the best bodyguards of the Castro tyranny or Castro-communism.

That Castro repeatedly denied his condition of being a communist in Cuba, where sympathy for that ideology was really very poor, can be explained. Castro, who is no fool, knew it perfectly, and so, repeatedly, in public and in private, denied his communist position and mentality. The use of lies, and any other means at any given time of the revolution, is a very Leninist principle, perhaps learned from Machiavelli.

Marxist dialectics, on the other hand, has developed a whole theory
out of these contradictions . Only when the objective and subjective conditions are conducive to the definition is the fact recognized. Mao Tse-Tung, in China, at first appeared as a mere agrarian reformer. The Communist Party of Cuba, dominated by the old guard, refused initially to bet on this young emerging revolutionary. Castro sought to dominate and therefore chose not to join their forces, as Raul did in 1953. He preferred to prepare to manipulate the old system when he saw fit. To do this, from the University, he began, as we have seen, to rub shoulders with all the pro-communist and communist allies seeking to grab control. 

 He attempted to do the same in the Orthodox Party, paradoxically, it had as its leader the very anticommunist Chibás, but the organization was infiltrated and undermined by more or less avowed communists at that time. Remember that although Cuban communism had no electoral strength, it did have Fabio Grobart's diligent work  that it became first in discipline, organization and infiltration and the conquest of power. Before Granma left Mexico, the Communist cauldron was already boiling. Che did not naively join in the game. But while the CIA slept the KGB acted and guerrillas warmed up the Cold War.

Excerpts taken and translated from the essay: "PORTRAIT OF FIDEL CASTRO" By José Ignacio Rasco and found in the collection of essays, Acuerdos, desacueros y recuerdos (Coleccion Felix Varela)

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