Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Communist Morality: Why Fidel Castro denied he was a communist as he planned to turn Cuba into a communist dictatorship

"'To speak the truth is a petit-bourgeois habit. To lie, on the contrary, is often justified by the lie's aim." - Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin)

"If we had paused to tell the people that we were Marxist-Leninists while we were on Pico Turquino and not yet strong, it is possible that we would never have been able to descend to the plains."  - Fidel Castro, December 2, 1961 

Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries wore medallions of the Virgin Mary
Fidel Castro was a shrewd rascal, as his classmate and future political adversary Jose Ignacio Rasco described him in his writings, but there was more to the wholesale lying and denial of his political ideology and the regime he and others imposed by stealth on Cubans in 1959 and together with his brother remained in total control for six decades. 

Before they consolidated total control in early 1959 they spoke publicly of democracy, human rights and respect for press freedom while privately threatening Cuban journalists of dire consequences if they published anything negative. In the February 14, 1959 letter to journalist Jules Dubois, Fidel Castro claimed that "every person in the society of free nations -- and even those who are oppressed under the heels of dictators -- has a right to express his or her opinion," and in the letter he also recognized the freedom of the press.

Once the Castro brothers had consolidated power and declared their regime openly Marxist Leninist, freedom of expression was subordinated to the goal of a building a communist state, and freedom of the press declared a "bourgeois liberty" that no longer applied to Cuba. Fidel Castro in a 1986 interview spoke on freedom:

"There is revolutionary liberty and there are other liberties which are bourgeois. It's difficult for me to talk about them to Europeans because bourgeois liberties were born there. In England, France, those countries. You talk of equality, liberty, fraternity. I think only our society can truly speak of equality. There's no equality between millionaires and beggars."
Mr. Castro had a point, that with wide disparities of wealth, the poor are at a disadvantage in exercising their rights. However in Cuba the disparity between those in the inner circle of power and the rest of the population is far more extreme and an even worse assault on human dignity. Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas in his book Before Night Falls described it as follows: “The difference between the communist and capitalist systems is that, although both give you a kick in the ass, in the communist system you have to applaud, while in the capitalist system you can scream."

What Castro failed to mention, and Arenas described in the quote above, is that in a society where the rule of law exists a beggar has greater protections that is to say "more equality" than a poor person in Cuba who is entirely subject to the whims of Mr. Castro who also happens to be worth $900 million dollars while the vast majority of Cubans live in squalor.  In the same interview the Cuban dictator expanded on his argument:
"Bourgeois liberties, no. We have two different concepts of freedom. Europeans have one, we have another.  Capitalism and socialism are not at all alike. Your political concepts of liberty, equality, justice are very different from ours. You try to measure a country like Cuba with European ideas. And we do not resign ourselves to or accept being measured by those standards."
For a Marxist Leninist there is no morality beyond whatever serves you to take power. Vladimir Lenin stated it clearly in a speech to Russian communist youth on October 2, 1920:
"The class struggle is continuing and it is our task to subordinate all interests to that struggle. Our communist morality is also subordinated to that task. We say: morality is what serves to destroy the old exploiting society and to unite all the working people around the proletariat, which is building up a new, communist society."
Years later on March 26, 1964, after announcing that he had always been a Marxist Leninist in 1961, Fidel Castro explained: "I conceive the truth in terms of a just and noble end, and that is when the truth is truly true. If it does not serve a just, noble and positive end, truth, as an abstract entity, philosophical category, in my opinion, does not exist." Jose Ignacio Rasco, who knew Fidel Castro from school and afterwards concluded that the Cuban revolutionary had been a committed communist by 1950.

This is why Fidel Castro denied being a communist and along with his fellow guerillas wore medallions of the Virgin Mary when they emerged from the Sierra Maestra in 1959, why Hugo Chavez called Fidel Castro a dictator during his first presidential campaign in 1998, and why Senator Sanders claimed to be critical of Cuba and Nicaragua, in 2020 when he has been a long time apologist. Because to tell the truth would deny them power, and their revolutionary objective is to seize absolute power, transform society into a totalitarian dictatorship that cannot be removed at the polling booth.

Morality and truth are means to an end, and if they do not serve the end of achieving absolute power then they are not recognized as either moral or truthful.
Nazi Foreign minister von Ribbentrop (L), Josef Stalin, Soviet Foreign minister Ribbentrop (R)
This also means that in the service of seeking power everything is moral. Communists in Weimar Germany allied with Nazis to destroy German democracy in the mistaken belief that the National Socialists would quickly implode and they would take over.  

On the international stage Josef Stalin allied with Adolf Hitler on August 23, 1939 and their foreign ministers, Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop, signed a Non-Aggression Pact that was in reality an Aggression Pact to divide up Eastern Europe and led to Soviet and Nazi armies meeting and marching together in the middle of Poland to celebrate their victory. 

Nearly two years later, Hitler double crossed Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union ending the totalitarian dictatorships honeymoon, but after the end of WW2 Stalin and the East German Stasi were funding Neo-Nazi parties to undermine and embarrass West Germany's democracy.
Fidel Castro in 1962 bought weapons from Otto-Ernst Remer
In the early 1960s Otto-Ernst Remer, the Nazi who saved Hitler's Third Reich from being overthrown internally in early 1944, had contacts with and assisted Fidel Castro in Cuba with the purchase of weapons. Ernst-Remer along with Ernst Wilhelm Springer sold the Cuban dictator 4,000 pistols. German foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) reported: "Evidently, the Cuban revolutionary army did not fear contagion from personal links to Nazism, so long as it served its objectives." 

This is not saying that the Soviet and Castro Communists are Nazis, but that their moral vision does not preclude allying with Nazis to advance their class struggle agenda to achieve power. It is saying that Communists will say and do anything to achieve power. Communists will ally with the worse of the worse and lie about their beliefs and intentions to deceive their way into power. Venezuelans and Nicaraguans have learned this lesson the hard way.

If a political leader honestly told  the citizens of his or her nation: "I am going to take absolute power, strip you of your rights, erect a police state, and rule the country for life, and if you disagree then you have three options: death, prison, or exile" how many votes would they get?

This is why they lie.

Postscript: Fidel Castro and his communist revolutionaries wore medallions of the Virgin Mary, but on September 17, 1961 the communists at gun point collected 131 priests, brothers and a bishop, placing them on board the Spanish ship Covadonga and deported them from Cuba. 

The US State Department 2003 International Religious Freedom Report reported that "from 1965-67 the Government forced many priests, pastors, and others 'who made religion a way of life' into forced labor camps called Military Units to Aid Production (UMAPS), alongside homosexuals, vagrants, and others considered by the regime to be 'social scum.'" 

Fidel Castro canceled Christmas in 1969 under the pretext to prevent work shortages for the 1970 ten million ton sugar harvest but continued the ban until 1997, and sent mobs to intimidate Cubans who attended religious services. Three Kings Day and Easter were also abolished.  In 1976 the Castro dictatorship adopted a constitution which turned Cuba into an atheist state.  

Things improved in the 1990s, but  still today, the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), an arm of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, oversees religious affairs in Cuba, and exists to monitor, hinder and restrict religious activities.  

Priests were taken at gun point and forced out of Cuba in 1961

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