Monday, August 11, 2014

Fidel Castro and Latin America

And Why Cuba Fascinates So Many
Cristina Fernandez, Michelle Bachelet, and Dilma Rousseff.
      The three ladies above are, respectively, the democratically elected Presidents of Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. Those are the three richest and most important nations in Latin America. Two significant corollary facts regarding these three women are: {1} All three of them love and admire Cuba's revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, who turns 88-years-old this week; and {2} all three of them do not like the United States and merely tolerate it because of its incomparable economic and military power.
    The above conclusion, of course, is not openly admitted by Presidents Fernandez, Bachelet, and Rousseff nor is it politically or socially correct to mention it in the United States. Nevertheless, it is true. And that last corollary fact irks and disappoints many true democracy lovers in the U. S. and elsewhere, especially America's best foreign friends. {A "corollary fact" is one that flows from an already proven fact}. So, permit me to briefly explain the nexus related to my corollary fact regarding Cuba's Fidel Castro and the proven facts that shaped the democratic elections of Presidents Fernandez, Bachelet, and Rousseff...and others throughout Latin America.
     Americans, propagandized since the 1950s regarding the U. S. ventures and aspirations in Cuba, believe that if Presidents Bachelet, Fernandez, and Rousseff love and admire Fidel Castro then they must be either crazy or fiendish! Moreover, proselytized Americans believe if Presidents Bachelet, Fernandez, and Rousseff do not like and merely tolerate the United States then they surely must be anti-democracy thugs or Commies or something just as diabolical. But trust me, these three extremely smart and talented ladies did not become the democratically elected Presidents of Latin America's three richest and most important countries by being crazy, fiendish, anti-democracy or anything else that could be construed as diabolical. The Cuban impact on regional and world affairs since the 1950s -- far out of proposition to the island's size, wealth or population -- has utterly fascinated millions, including me. Many historians as well as Nelson Mandela himself, for example, have long credited Fidel Castro with being the primary reason democracy replaced colonialism on the African Continent. But Americans to this day are not supposed to understand why Nelson Mandela loved and admired Fidel Castro so much and, yes, did not like and merely tolerated the superpower United States. Likewise, to this day Presidents Rousseff, Bachelet, and Fernandez credit Fidel Castro with being the primary reason democracy replaced U.S.-friendly dictators throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Again, Americans to this day have been programmed since the 1950s not to believe such basic and corollary {easily documentedfacts.
     I agree with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, arguably America's greatest President and the only one to serve four terms. He believed that democracy depends on an informed, engaged and courageous citizenry -- such as America was blessed with from 1776 till 1945, which happened to be the year FDR died and the year the Greatest Generation saved the world from utter devastation in World War II. Sadly, the two generations since World War II have proven to be the Worst Generations when it comes to supporting democracy in America and around a very troubled world. 
       And those last two generations of Americans emerged at a very inopportune time -- right after World War II when the respect, admiration, and pure love of both democracy and America reached its zenith on the world stage. The nearby island of Cuba, unwittingly, has played a massive role as a...some say the...focal point, or epicenter, of America's and democracy's descent in world opinion. That is especially true in America's own backyard -- the Caribbean and Latin America -- where the small and poor nation of Cuba has influence comparable to or exceeding that of the world's all-time dominant economic and military power. That fact is reflected in the views of the three female Presidents of Latin America's three most important countries -- Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Like the Cuban loving male Presidents in nations such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, etc., Presidents Rousseff, Fernandez, and Bachelet must contend with domestic protests and opponents they believe are highly financed and encouraged by anti-Castro zealots and dollars from Miami, Union City and Washington. Leaders throughout the Caribbean and Latin America firmly believe that anti-Castro zealots and dollars from the George W. Bush administration engineered the coup that briefly overthrew Venezuelan President Chavez in 2002, and that scares or at least concerns democratically elected Latin American Presidents to this day. That, too, is a fact that Americans are not supposed to believe. But it's an important fact because -- more importantly -- Presidents Rousseff, Fernandez, Bachelet, etc., believe it. President Rousseff of Brazil, the Latin American superpower, is running for re-election this fall. She is aware of U. S. dollars and influence from anti-Castro zealots that will try to defeat her. President Bachelet of Chile, when she was re-elected last fall, was well aware of the U. S. dollars and influence that tried to defeat her. Recently, President Fernandez was not at all shocked when anti-Cuban zealots in the U. S. Congress called for crippling financial sanctions against Argentina, not too unlike the Cuban exile-directed sanctions against Cuba that have been in existence, to the chagrin of the entire world, since the early 1960s. All this has occurred because two generations of Americans, since the 1950s, have not cared enough or known enough, even anecdotally, about their democracy to adequately defend it.
This beautiful young girl in Brazil............
.....was tortured for 3 years by a U.S.-backed dictatorship.
Her name is Dilma Rousseff.
      She is now the democratically elected President of Brazil, the Latin American superpower. As a lifelong democracy-loving American, I know very, very few Americans who have any comprehension of how and why Latin America emerged from domination by U.S.-backed dictatorships to waves of democracy that now blanket the region. To not know President Rousseff's years of torture in Brazil; to not know the dictatorship that killed President Bachelet's father in Chile; and to not know the gruesome dictatorship in President Fernandez's Argentina that birthed babies in military hospitals and then murdered the mothers and soon gave away the babies like dolls to friends of the military leaders is to not know why America's influence throughout Latin American in 2014 takes a backseat to democratically elected Presidents who remember all those vile U.S.-backed dictatorships.
     This is Jorge Videla, the dictator of Argentina when the mothers of those babies in military hospitals were murdered with their babies soon given away like dolls. Americans need to know about that episode in Latin American history. Taking a few minutes to Google "Mothers of the Plaza" or "The Dirty War" would provide an understanding of why Cristina Fernandez is today the democratically elected President of Argentina, a nation that remembers the U.S.-backed dictator Jorge Videla, who took power in a 1976 coup in a decade in which the U. S. routinely backed coups throughout Latin America and the Caribbean so rich U. S. companies could extract much of the wealth from those helpless nations.
       Here are Grandmothers of the Plaza who to this day are seeking justice for their murdered grand-daughters in Argentina. Americans need to know these grandmothers and what happened to their grand-daughters, not for the sake of Argentina but for the sake of democracy in the United States of America.
     Americans need to know that, even today, Latin American countries are trying desperately to bring to justice the vile dictators of its past, such as Argentina's Jorge Videla above. Videla died in an Argentinian prison in May of 2013 after being convicted of "crimes against humanity," specifically the murders of all those mothers in military prisons right after their babies were successfully birthed. 
    In 2014 the U. S. President, Mr. Obama, knows that President Cristina Fernandez and every Argentinian and every Latin American knows all about vile dictators such as Videla, Pinochet, Trujillo, Somozo, Batista, etc., that so many powerful right-wing U. S. politicians and businessmen supported from the 1950s through the 1970s. If so, Americans would begin to comprehend why today's democratically elected Presidents such as Fernandez, Rousseff, Bachelet, Ortega, Morales, Maduro, etc., tolerate superpower America but still regret America's Latin American past. Americans would regret it too...if they knew its details.
     Americans are not supposed to understand this photo. It shows President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina visiting the man she most admires -- Cuba's Fidel Castro. No, President Fernandez is not crazy. No, President Fernandez does not admire fiends. Latin American Presidents like her, Rousseff, Bachelet, etc., frequently pay homage to Fidel Castro in Havana. They credit the Cuban Revolution with being the very first entity to overthrow a U.S.-backed dictatorship, eventually -- they believe -- paving the way for the tsunami-like waves of democracy that began to wash away those dictatorships. As the ill Fidel Castro turns 88-years-old on August 13th, his legacy long after his death will likely be admired by future Latin American presidents. Not to understand that is to not know the difference between Jorge Videla and Cristina Fernandez. And the difference is this: One was a ruthless U.S.-backed dictator and the other is an anti-U.S. democratically elected President. And Americans need to realize that is a helluva difference and a toxic collusion that envelopes us today. 

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