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RIP Fidel Castro: Remembering Comandante (and how I met him)

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A long-time Cuban leader and one of the most iconic and controversial figures of the 20th century, Fidel Castro died last night aged 90. The funeral is scheduled for December 4 in Santiago de Cuba.

I met Fidel Castro when I was 20. As a translator for the Soviet Ministry of Education and la Universidad de la Habana, I had the chance to interpret in the meetings of the Soviet scientific delegations with Fidel Castro.

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Fidel Castro’s lifetime achievement was something no one believed possible: a tiny, poor and seemingly defenseless island, just a short distance from Florida, was able to withstand over 50 years of pressure and threats from the 500-pound gorilla next door. USA orchestrated a brutal 50-year Cuban economic blockade and multiple attempts at invasions and subversions. Castro himself survived over 500 CIA assassination attempts – more than any leader in recent human history.

Through all this, Cuba led by Fidel, called in most countries ‘the island of freedom’ but referred in the USA as ‘that imprisoned island’ didn’t surrender and didn’t succumb. Love him or hate him, Cuba under Castro managed to preserve its authentic national identity and its sovereignty. It’s a lot more than can be said for many of the rich and well-positioned world’s countries, including Ukraine, Europe, Canada, Australia, parts of Latin America and Asia, and USA itself.

‘Sovereignty’ and ‘national identity’ are the key words that are as timely today as they were in 1959.

For many people Fidel Castro remains a symbol of freedom and social justice.

Read my related articles:

 

Remembering Comandante

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Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was a Cuban politician and revolutionary who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. Wikipedia
Born: August 13, 1926, Birán, Cuba

 

Fidel’s quotes:

He who isn’t capable of fighting for others won’t be able to defend himself.

A warrior can die, bit not his ideas.

The worst thing is to capitulate before the enemy who attacks you for no reason and with no right to do so.

The world lives on top of the powder keg, which USA is ready to blow up any moment.

Our country is a spiritual paradise. We choose to die in paradise, rather than surviving in hell.

I know that the war I conducted against USA all my life was pre-destined.

A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.

They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating… because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.

Cuba’s fight for independence and Fidel Castro timeline

Vladimir Putin’s condolences: ‘Fidel Castro was a true and faithful friend of Russia’ (RUS)

Fidel Castro dies at age 90, his brother announces on TV (ENG SUBTITLES)

After Fidel’s death, will Cuba change its direction? Will Havana turn to the US? The answer below. 

Division remains: Cubans in Cuba mourn and cry, while Cubans in Miami celebrate:

No hugs for Obama: Awkward moment with Fidel’s brother and present Cuban leader, Raul Castro, at Havana presser

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THAT moment in history! One step away from WWIII: Cuban Missile Crisis in one minute (RUS)

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Weakness or Cunning? Why US decided to End 50-Year Standoff with Cuba Now

Breaking news: US president Obama announced that he was lifting some of the 50-year-old sanctions against Cuba, using his executive powers – only Congress can lift embargo completely. An exchange of prisoners has taken place, certain business and travel restrictions to Cuba are expected to be lifted. Obama announced that it’s time to normalize relations between the two countries. The Miami anti-Cuban lobby is up in arms.

Various analysts have been speculating why this is happening now. Some think it’s a sign of the USA’s weakness, others believe it is to tear Cuba away from Venezuela’s influence, and to impede Cuba’s relationship development with Russia and China.

As you know, I have been to Cuba years ago, when embargo was in full swing. You can find 2 interviews on the INTERVIEWS page, where I talk about some of my Cuban experiences. I also wrote about Cuba in: New Predictions! Putin Goes to Latin America: US Creates Wars – Russia Extends a Hand of Cooperation.

The US government must have read this last article of mine and felt ashamed of its behavior. No, not really…

But in all seriousness, here is why a sudden warming towards Cuba. In my view, it’s both weakness and cunning at the same time.

Why it is weakness: US is conducting an unprecedented and unheard off previously in scale attack on Russia (economic, monetary, political and proxy-military via third parties). More on that in Paul Craig Roberts interview.

Meanwhile, US also has to juggle other countries such as China, Turkey and India, which are slowly distancing themselves from the US. Venezuela is next on the list of US sanctions. Latin America is very anti-American and leaning more and more left, including even Mexico, the long-term US vassal. Russia recently had a very productive set of agreements signed with Turkey (Russian gas, building new pipeline, building a number of nuclear power stations). Putin just returned from India, also with nearly $100bln worth of trade agreements. I wrote many times this past year about massive agreements with China. More and more large economies are transitioning to bilateral trade outside of the dollar.

Power is slipping away from the US.

In this situation, Cuba is one front too many on which to fight. If US makes up with Cuba, they are hoping they can pull Cuba into their sphere of influence, or at least neutralize Cuba by seducing those poor people with flashy nothings. This is where the cunning part comes in.

Why it’s cunning: Russia, which is being surrounded by NATO/US military bases that are encroaching on Russia’s borders, is considering establishing a navy base in Cuba. China also signed a number of trade and economic agreements with this ‘imprisoned island’ as Kennedy would say (my only question is: imprisoned by whom?). Anti-US Venezuela presently is the biggest supporter and donor of the Cuban economy. The situation is dicey for the US. Cuba is located too close to US shores for comfort.

Russia and Turkey have agreed on a large number of economic and political agreements, which are bound to get them closer to each other (in perspective, SCO membership for Turkey, which also gets them closer to China). Turkey, having been slighted by the EU’s long-term refusal to admit it into the union, has been looking more and more East. Turkey has also been a reluctant participant in NATO. US has been putting enormous pressure on Turkey and president Erdogan to act in the interests of the US and NATO in the region.

For example, I have no doubt that recent color revolution attempt in Turkey (timed right before 2014 presidential elections) was US organized in order to attempt unseating, or at least to scare Erdogan. The result was the opposite – the moment Erdogan was re-elected, he started the process of getting closer to Russia. Looks like Erdogan also had no doubt who was behind the almost color revolution. It appears Turkey is looking for ways to weaken its dependence, and eventually to leave NATO. As I said on different occasions in similar situations – such exodus will only be possible when US weakens sufficiently.

The reason I talk about Turkey when I should be talking about Cuba is geopolitics, plain and simple. Look at the map. In terms of geopolitical position and value, Turkey is to Russia what Cuba is to the US.

Many of my readers know that I grew up in Odessa, USSR. Odessa is located right across from Turkey, on the Black Sea coast. Since I was a child I heard about captured NATO spies attempting to cross into Russia underwater from the Turkish side. The beautiful beaches in Odessa were dotted with border patrol watch towers. It was always expected that some kind of US/NATO threat would come from the other side of the Black Sea, which was full of NATO bases.

As some readers may remember (this was a little before my time, but I heard enough stories), in 1962 the US/NATO placed nuclear missiles in Turkey, targeting USSR, and specifically the city I was to grow up in – Odessa. Khrushchev and USSR responded by saying they were placing missiles in Cuba, which is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Of course, the US history books and MSM lie by twisting the events in such a way as to make it seem it was Khrushchev who initiated the missile crisis. However, every serious historian, in the US as well, will know it was the other way around.

Of course, the Cuban Missile Crisis was extinguished as soon as US removed its nuclear missiles from Turkey. Consequently, USSR cancelled the quid pro quo deployment of its missiles to Cuba. American MSM and history books will make you believe it was a great victory of the US government and an achievement due to Kennedy’s/USA’s tough stance on Russia. From that twisted propaganda point of view, the contemporary US politicians make an equally twisted conclusion that US must continue being tough on Russia. As an example, see the new anti-Russian US Congress resolution allowing Obama to tighten sanctions against Russia.

Just look at this brilliant logic! While Obama admits that sanctions didn’t work on Cuba, doing more harm than good – at the same time, miraculously, these same sanctions will somehow work on Russia!

I have a better solution for the US: 1. stop bullying the entire world; 2. lose your superiority complex, which in fact is severe inferiority complex – and conflicts you create globally will start dissipating all by themselves.

Now you know why I was talking about Turkey. Cuba and Turkey are interconnected geopolitically. In 2014, as US/NATO/EU were concentrating on the destruction of Ukraine, Putin/Russia were shoring up allies in Latin America, China, Central Asia and Turkey. Another hidden victory of Putin is Azerbaijan. Putin brokered a new truce between Armenia and Azerbaijan, averting bloodshed in the disputed Nagorny Karabakh and potential color revolution in Armenia. Azerbaijan is a big factor for Turkey’s swing towards Russia. Basically, very quietly, US just lost influence over Azerbaijani oil and gas, and at least began losing Turkey.

Now that Turkey is leaning towards Russia and China, US is attempting to rebalance the situation by tempting Cuba to join the US sphere of influence. Wouldn’t that be ironic? I personally don’t think it will go anywhere. I know Cubans; I also know Russians, Venezuelans and Chinese. I know Americans too – perhaps even better.

That said, we are entering an era of very complex, multi-move geopolitical chess matches. The small, poor and in-between countries, the ‘swing vote’ so to speak, is where a lot of geopolitical games will be concentrating. Every player will try to get them on their side. Such countries can benefit tremendously in the global repositioning of power – if they are smart.

This kind of global geopolitical situation is a sure sign of the collapse of the old US-dominated uni-polar world. US empire is weakening, albeit slowly.

My assessment: I think US started using smarter advisors compared to those they used for the Kiev coup and Ukraine. But not smart enough.

It will be great if embargo is lifted and Cuba can start breathing easier! That said, Cubans, I hope you don’t forget who you are and I hope you remember you aren’t for sale!

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