Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro is the President for life of Cuba. After taking power, the United States isolated Cuba and Castro turned increasingly to the Soviet Union for help and announced his ideological identification with communism. In the closing weeks of the Eisenhower Administration, the United States had broken diplomatic relations with Cuba; if they had honored the Cuban revolution from the start, Castro would not have needed to go to the Soviet bloc nations for trade. Castro appropriated American property in Cuba, imprisoned and expelled American citizens, and proceeded with a far-reaching social and economic revolution that bore no resemblance to the typical palace revolutions of Latin America.

President Kennedy had been briefed about a secretly sponsored coup of the Castro regime undertaken by Cuban exiles in the Bay of Pigs. They were to overthrow Castro and replace the government with one more acceptable to Washington. By the time Kennedy got wind of the Bay of Pigs, it had already looked more like an invasion than a guerrilla operation. Now with Presidential support, it was totally an invasion but a clandestine one. Kennedy did not allow direct American involvement, except for unmarked American carrier jets offering secret air cover for rebel bomber strikes. Kennedy was to say that our objection isn't the Cuban revolution, it is to the fact that Castro has turned it over to the Communists.

The Bay of Pigs was a crucial episode in the struggle for Cuban autonomy and a disaster for America. Shortly to follow were the CIA plots to assassinate Castro. which embarrassed and humiliated President Kennedy, proving to be the biggest mistake that he ever made short of waving to Texans in an open convertible. This narrow-minded and irrational foreign policy has continued to this day. Fidel Castro has maintained his power through nine presidents, outlived American attempts to assassinate him and buttressed numerous attempts to destabilize his government. Now the world has undergone the former President Clinton and the half-witted redundancy of the Helms-Burton law strengthening the U.S. economic embargo and sanctions against Cuba and putting America that much closer to judgment. This is the nature of the beast. The Elian controversy only strengthened Castro even more.

The most often railed accusations toward Castro are that he has taken away the rights of people, such as freedom of speech, religion, assembly and that he is a dictator. If the Cuban people were to be allowed the dignity of self-determination, these things would be in place but the fact is that American aggression has placed this small country of Cuba in a state of isolation and seige, one false move could mean the destruction of a way of life that is properly Cuban. The church failed in its mission to provide for the poor and denounce oppression and it was unfortunately left up to a dictatorial element to remedy the void. Much progress has been made toward religion but that is for the fact that The Roman Catholics have come closer to the Christian mandate of providing for the poor herself - the acceptance of liberation theology in the Latin American Church for example. The evangelical church in Latin America is generally made up of the right wing faction without the preferential option for the poor and may never come to the place where it can be trusted in politics. Church unity is not something that can be legislated but when the christian right comes in a form that promotes death squads, military intervention, right wing excesses and economic exploitation, it is a false religion and the totalitarian regime of a weak country can only suppress it out of self preservation. The church is in a sad state when conservative Protestants are feared as a demon force for the poor rather than bearers of a divine message. When the freedom of the press, assembly and speech are allowed the license to run free with a demon force that tries to kill the life of the freedom that is already in place, restraint is likely the only alternative. This pits the bad with the bad instead of good triumphing over evil.

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