Saturday, August 13, 2016

Portrait of Fidel Castro by José Ignacio Rasco pt. 2

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. He was an early and constant opponent of the Castro regime and a supporter of Cuba's Christian Liberation Movement. In 2012, he published a collection of essays below is a translated excerpt of one of them in which he explains Castro's communist roots and legacy. The first part published in 2013 is available online.

Fidel Castro today
Dialectical contradictions 
 In the Moncada only two recognized Communists fought. According to Melba Hernandez, among the moncadistas it was forbidden to mention the Marxist thesis. But neither was their criticism of communism by Fidel in his insurrectional stage. However, Melba Hernandez herself said that Abel Santamaria - who died in the Moncada -, always insisted on the need for Fidel to become a communist. In the famous speech "History Will Absolve Me" which has a good stretch of plagiarism from Hitler - between the lines - Gaston Baquero interpreted that one could suspect a latent Marxist spirit.Debray has insisted that in the Cuban technique, Castro replaced the Party for the Army. Perhaps that is why Che said that the army of the Sierras one could already count on a minimum program of action, since among his troops indoctrination was not scarce. Never forget that for Castro all methods and means are useful provided that they serve his plans, whether they are orthodox or heterodox from the Marxist-Leninist point of view.

Step by step... 
Carlos Rafael Rodriguez played a key role in the process of the Marxist affirmation of Castro and the marriage of what was originally a mere concubinage of the Commander in Chief with old and new communists. So that first the ORI (Integrated Revolutionary Organizations) was formed that harbored within the acronym the most involved in the process. Later it was called the PURS (United Party of the Socialist Revolution) and finally unmasked, the PCC (Cuban Communist Party) in 1965.Castro, of course, is not a reliable ally of anyone. His relations with the Soviet Union and Communist China have always been variable and temperamental, like all of his behavior, ranging from abject submission to intense rebelliousness. His conversations with the Russians -openly- begin in Cuba since the year 1959 itself, almost always held in the INRA (Agrarian Reform Institute). Its director -Núñez Jiménez- played an important role in parallel interregnum. According to Fabio Grobart, the incipient melting of all elements of the old and the new guard began in 1959. But those attending those meetings were always filtered by Fidel. The most assiduous of the cabal: Che, Camilo, Raul, Blas Roca, Ramiro Valdes and Alfredo Guevara. Someone said, "Shit, now that we are government we have to continue to meet illegally".  

But historic acceleration  
The speed of the Communization in the same year of victory is incredible. Castro had said that if in the hills he had proclaimed his socialism he could not have come down from the hill. But now he was urging - albeit without appearing to do so directly- measures of Marxist propaganda and indoctrination. On January 1st came the first edition of the official newspaper of the PSP, Hoy "Today," which had been closed for a long time. Immediately came the EIR (Revolutionary Instruction Schools). Another great indoctrination center was established on the First Avenue of la Playa in which Leonel Soto, Valdes Vivo, Lazaro Pena and Blas Roca collaborated, among others.

A "Civic Preparation Manual" loaded with Marxist doctrine was soon text for schools. Delivery to the communists of the CTC labor union (see Chapter VI) was one of the most indecent "acts" carried out to usurp control from the non-Communists. When Castro declared himself socialist many avenues had already been taken. Raul within a few months disrupted the military apparatus and formed a new army with a police state style military and security service styled after communist countries. The end was always the same, the means varied.

Friends of Fidel often comment to me the impact that received already a student when he read -and learned- the Communist Manifesto of 1848. During the incident in Bogota (1948) Fidel said that "I was almost already a communist." In that event Castro mixed with the worst elements of the left and people who had taken up arms. His harangues there, in a foreign country, were very extreme. As we know that was an outbreak of terrorism that was uncovered due to the assassination of Gaitán, the popular Colombian leader, during the Conference of Foreign Ministers which gave rise to the new OAS. Castro was saved thanks to the efforts of Ambassador Guillermo Belt who took him to Cuba in a special plane.

There was a time when Raul Castro boasted of having been the one that initiated his brother into the communist sect. However, Alfredo Guevara, more discreetly, said he was "guilty, but that the Jesuits had done much harm."

Toccata and Fugue  

  Soon began the resignations of persons of the government denouncing communist infiltration was the fundamental reason for the abandonment of their positions. Notorious was the case of Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz, head of the revolutionary air force, witness to the pro-communist conversations of Fidel Castro. President Manuel Urrutia also alleged communist penetration upon his exit. And Manolo Artime. And Hubert Matos and Rogelio Cisneros. But the traitor continued saying his revolution "was not red but as green as the palm trees." Only very short-sighted did not see the growing communist infiltration in almost all national sectors and in the so-called "revolutionary laws".The wave of resignations of recognized leaders was impressive due to the hierarchy they had in the new regime: Humberto Sori Marin (later shot), Elena Mederos, Justo Carrillo, Rufo Lopez Fresquet, Manuel Ray, Roberto Agramonte, Felipe Pazos, Jose Miro Cardona. Hubert Matos was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Next came the mass escape. Just remember what took place in Camarioca and Mariel, about the boat people ... over a million escaped a country where people almost never migrated. If Cuba was not an island then today it would be a desert.  

Predictions Confirmed 
The tests of the communization process were increasingly evident. Some politicians and priests who had lived through similar stages in China and Europe clearly saw the typical characteristics of the phenomenon. But no one seemed to believe it. In any case they wanted to maintain the good faith they had in Castro who had been so deified. They did not want to confess their great mistake of having collaborated so much to establish the new regime. Among the few politicians who prophesied disaster one must mention Juan Antonio Rubio Padilla, great figure of the 1930 generation, who never tired of reporting, well in advance, the Communist maneuvers. Moreover, Batista accused  Castro and his revolution of being communist, but the lack of morality of that government rested credibility to their claims. The fear of being shot -physical or morally- inhibited many from manifesting themselves clearly. Verbal terrorism was imposed that was a real nightmare. A wave of slander crushed dissidents and opponents. Censorship and "tag lines" in newspapers froze action. Soon the entire independent press was confiscated.   

A Nightmare Unfinished
Within a few months it seemed like a nightmare. Desertions, betrayals, false accusations, censures, disrespecting the person, revolutionary institutions, media, economic, religious and all types. Young and old, men and women who showed their anti-communism were persecuted, imprisoned or shot; it did not seem real. The children denounced their parents. The married betrayed their partner, the brothers betrayed their brothers. The firing squad increased. Prison and exile were the only way out to survive. 

 In Conclusion
The fact that Castro is a shrewd rascal, with all the good and bad capabilities he possesses, is an index that he did what he wanted, namely to establish a communist country. What he did in Cuba was therefore what most aspired to do. He could have been a great constructive reformer if he had wanted to be. If this communization followed by so many -some because they were fools, others because they were lively opportunists- it is because they succumbed to the witch's brew prepared by this great actor and playwright who planned to bring Cuba into the international communist stage.

The old socialists, Marxists, or Cuban Communists, however they want to call themselves, played with Castro and Castro played with them. Ultimately they were two halves of the same thing. Both played their roles well in search of absolute, totalitarian power. Castro being more skillful and charismatic imposed himself with national and international resources. He took advantage of the Cold War to unleash their ancestral hatred of "Yankee imperialism", despite the help that hia northern neighbors lent him when they decided to move away from the corrupt regime of Fulgencio Batista. And useful or useless idiots, bowed to Castroite manipulation that speedidly presented itself as humanistic, Third World, anti-imperialist or in other terms. The son of Biran manipulated these political concepts and reddened them at his whim. This is essential to understand the complex and difficult Cuban crossword.

 Many biographers and authors writing about Castro still try to hide his traitorous manipulation and his Marxist creed dazzled by his undisputed personality that broke with the signs that marked the geopolitics and history of Cuba. It does not seem that history will absolve him as argued in his famous speech at the trial for the attack on the Moncada barracks. Perhaps no man in the whole of Cuban history could have done so much for his country, as he had a people totally fascinated with his personality and was aware of the democratic reforms craved. Castro twisted away from that course to the socialistic left of a wild and deleterious way merging the revolution with his own absurd way of being.

Belen High School: Jose Ignacio Rasco (left) and Fidel Castro (center)

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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