The man who spent his life railing against the excesses of capitalism lived like a King — and a very debauched one at that…
He portrayed himself as a man of the people who shunned the trappings of wealth. But in reality Fidel Castro, the longtime communist leader of Cuba, lived a life of pampered luxury and had a fortune of hundreds of millions.
Away from the prying eyes of his people who suffered poverty and hardship after he seized power in a communist coup 55 years ago, Castro lived like a king.
While many around the world spoke highly of Castro’s success in greatly reducing illiteracy and proving basic services like health care, many have long been critical of his reign and his enablers in the West. Whatever success he achieved, he did so through a brutal dictatorship that denied freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other basic civil liberties.
Lenin is said to have called them ‘useful idiots’ – the Western Left-wingers who lavished praise on Communist regimes while turning a blind eye to the misery they caused. They have been out in force the last few days, heaping adulation on the Marxist dictator Fidel Castro.
According to Jeremy Corbyn, the serial killer who led Cuba’s police state for five decades was: ‘A massive figure in the history of the whole planet… He will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.’
Castro is another hypocrite, communist crook! he apparently hated capitalism but created a net worth, $900 million, according to Forbes. His propaganda he lived on $20 a month and his only luxury were his Cuban cigars. Now we found out the crook had 20 luxury homes, a yacht, and a private island – so much for hating capitalism.
Castro clearly had the leadership skills and courage to be much more after overthrowing a corrupt puppet like President Fulgencio Batista. Instead, he elected to follow the Soviet communist model and reduced his economy to little more than an agrarian state that was frozen in time — as vividly shown by the cars from the 1950s that still drive around the island. He ordered the torture of thousands and the killing of opponents.
His modish Western admirers liked to call him ‘Fidel’, the despotic President Castro’s frightened subjects dared not speak his name. They feared they would be overheard by ever-present secret police spies who made East Germany’s Stasi look like amateurs. Glancing around nervously, they would mime either a beard or a set of epaulettes, before speaking in whispers about the tyrant who dominated every aspect of their hungry, censored lives. No wonder. The ‘Committees for the Defence of the Revolution’, present in every workplace, school and street, watched everyone, reported every word out of place and ruined the lives of those who spoke out of turn.
Castro is quoted as saying that “history will absolve me.” Certainly there are some professors on the left who have always idealized dictators like Castro or Hugo Chavez, and there have been expressions of support for Castro’s record on educational and health benefits. However, history cannot wipe clean, let alone absolve, a man whose legacy is soaked in the blood and suffering of tens of thousands of political prisoners.
He was an interesting historical figure to be sure. Many do not know that Castro was a lawyer and came from a wealthy family. He was born in 1926 to a servant of a Cuban sugar plantation owner. He father eventually recognized him as his son but only when he was 17 and Castro then took his name. He attended Jesuit schools before joining the University of Havana law school. By then, he was a committed socialist.
Castro was a rebel from early childhood. By the time he was 13 he was agitating for his first insurrection, accusing his father Ángel of exploiting sugarcane workers on his farm. He was later sent away from his birthplace in Birán, a small outpost in eastern Cuba, to Jesuit schools in Oriente Province and Havana. According to Carlos Franqui, a former comrade who edited the newspaper Revolución before falling out of favour, Castro would go on to impose on Cuba all the punishments he suffered as a boy in a Jesuit school: censure, thought control, discipline, and a Spartan mentality.
After finishing high school Castro studied law at the prestigious University of Havana and became embroiled in the gangsterism which characterized Cuba in the 1950s. While at university he gained a reputation as a leader, and subsequently put his name forward in 1952 for national congressional elections as a candidate for the Orthodox party on an anti-corruption ticket. The elections never happened. In March of that year General Fulgenico Batista staged a coup and overthrew the government of Carlos Prío Socarrás, ushering in a corrupt dictatorship and leaving Castro with no choice—in his eyes—but to resort to violence to oppose Batista’s takeover. As he would write in a letter to Franqui, “All doors to a peaceful political struggle have been closed to me.”
On July 26, 1953, Castro and a group of 111 followers, including his brother Raúl, set off in poorly-fitting uniforms to attack the Moncada military barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The attack itself was a disaster, but the subsequent trial gave the budding solipsista his first public platform. He used it well, delivering a now-famous speech in which he taunted the dictator to “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me.” Castro was subsequently imprisoned along with 24 of his comrades. He was released in 1955 following an amnesty by the Batista regime, only to launch a fresh military assault on Batista a year later, this time from Mexico in a ship named Granma.
Throughout the two-year long guerrilla campaign in the Sierra Maestra jungle, few suspected that Fidel Castro was a Communist, not even his closest confidantes. Ernesto “Che” Guevara, by that time a dedicated Marxist, described Castro dismissively in his notes as “an authentic leader of the left-wing of the bourgeoisie.” According to declassified Soviet documents, at one point Fidel’s brother Raúl even considered splitting the Twenty-Sixth of July rebel movement to convince Fidel that he could not govern without the Communists.
Soon after taking power Castro out manoeuvred both internal and external rivals and allowed the one-time Batista-supporting Communists to gain control of the state. During the anti-Batista guerrilla war Castro had promised “freedom with bread, and bread without terror,” but in power the motto soon became “Within the revolution, everything; against the revolution, nothing.” And the revolution meant the politics and opinions of Fidel Castro.
According to Castro’s own estimates, at one point there were as many as 15,000 political prisoners in Cuba. One of the darkest periods of the repression occurred in 1963 when Castro approved “Operation P,” named because of a black “P” (for pimps, prostitutes, pederasts) emblazoned on the uniforms of those arrested. The operation saw Castro’s newly formed secret police sweep through Havana targeting homosexuals, religious believers, and “deviants”—often no more than men with long hair and blue jeans. Those rounded up were placed in UMAPs (Military Units to Help Production), a euphemism for concentration camps, and forced to do hard labour. According to the poet Armando Valladares, imprisoned by Castro in 1960, “there have been few examples of repression of homosexuals in history as virulent as in Cuba.”
Fidel Castro the restless revolutionary had no time for pleasure, despising holidays as ‘bourgeois’ and claiming to live in a fisherman’s hut. His only luxury was the cigars that he continually chomped.
Or so he insisted to fellow Cubans who endured decades of abject poverty, crumbling housing and food rationing during his long rule. However, the reality — carefully kept from public consumption thanks to his iron grip on the media and public discourse — was very different.
A prodigious womaniser and food connoisseur who kept some 20 luxurious properties throughout the Caribbean — including a private island he used to visit on his beautiful yacht — Castro was a complete fraud.
The man who spent his life railing against the excesses of capitalism lived like a king — and a very debauched one at that.
Western observers have long suspected that ‘El Comandante’ — The Commander — was siphoning off the proceeds from state-run enterprises, including a small gold mine.
However, when Forbes magazine listed Castro in 2006 as one of the world’s richest ‘kings, queens and dictators’, he angrily insisted he lived on a salary of £20 a month.
Castro was furious when Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $550 million in 2005. In 2006, the magazine upped its estimate of the communist leader’s wealth to a cool $900 million. Castro, who said his net worth was nil, was likely the beneficiary of up to $900 million, based on his control of state-owned companies.
Fidel Castro was many things: a revolutionary, a communist, a garrulous orator. Amid the fawning encomia released upon his long-overdue death, it should never be forgotten that he was also an oppressor, torturer, and murderer of gay people.
“We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true revolutionary, a true communist militant,” Castro told an interviewer in 1965. “A deviation of that nature clashes with the concept we have of what a militant communist should be.”
In the eyes of Castro and his revolutionary comrade Che Guevara—who frequently referred to gay men as maricones, “faggots”—homosexuality was inherently counterrevolutionary, a bourgeois decadence. To a traditional Latin American machismo that viewed gayness pejoratively, they married an ideological fixation treating it as politically undesirable.
It wasn’t long after Castro came to power that police began rounding up gay men. In 1965, the regime established prison work camps known as Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP), into which it deposited homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other “undesirable” elements.
Putting gays into concentration camps is not the only practice Castro borrowed from the Nazis. During the Cuban missile crisis, according to recently released German intelligence files, this so-called anti-fascist attempted to hire former SS officers to instruct his army.
Though the Cuban regime closed down the UMAPs in the late 1960s, it continued to repress gay men as ideologically subversive elements. Openly homosexual people were prevented from joining the Communist Party and fired from their jobs. One of the country’s most distinguished writers, Reinaldo Arenas, recounted the prison experience he and countless other gay men endured in his memoir Before Night Falls. “It was a sweltering place without a bathroom,” he wrote. “Gays were not treated like human beings, they were treated like beasts. They were the last ones to come out for meals, so we saw them walk by, and the most insignificant incident was an excuse to beat them mercilessly.”
Gays comprised a significant portion of the 125,000 Cubans (“worms,” in Fidel Castro’s words) permitted to leave the island for the United States as part of the 1980 Mariel Boatlift.
The death of Fidel Castro is reason to celebrate. But true freedom for Cuban gays will remain elusive as long as political freedom is denied to all Cubans.
A short boat trip from the coastal city of Cienfuegos, halfway along Cuba’s southern coast, is a secluded tropical island called Caya Piedra.
Surrounded by warm turquoise waters, with a picture-postcard quota of coconut trees, white sand beaches and unspoiled coral reefs, this two-mile-long Caribbean paradise is the private domain of a single, very wealthy man.
Locals call him El Comandante — The Commander — and he likes to dock at Caya Piedra aboard his luxury yacht, the Aquarama II, fitted out with cream-coloured leather and rare Angolan wood.
Invariably attended by an army of personal servants, who are kept on call 24/7 to serve chilled white wine and exotic shellfish, he and his friends while away the days by reading, scuba diving, and attempting to catch fish.
Celebrity guests who have enjoyed the lavish hospitality there include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian novelist who died last month, and the late French underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau.
Like everyone who visited, they were struck by the island’s stunning beauty and laid-back charms.
If a single cloud ever did mar the horizon, it was that, every so often, their multi-millionaire host would have to take a break from enjoying the high life in order to carry out the important business of running a country.
For the owner of Caya Piedra is none other than Fidel Alejandro Castro, the Left-wing dictator who seized power over Cuba in a communist coup 55 years ago.
This self-styled ‘People’s Revolutionary’ — who handed power to his brother, Raul, in 2008 — on paper makes a strange laird for this prime piece of real estate.
He has, after all, spent decades cultivating his public image as an unassuming, hard-working man of the people.
Indeed, the Communist Party of Cuba styles Senor Castro as a cigar-chomping but otherwise modest military servant, devoted to advancing the public good in a country where the majority of the 11 million residents live in abject poverty.
Propaganda is often far removed from reality, though. And as his yacht, private island and domestic staff demonstrate, this lifelong critic of the supposed excesses of capitalism does not always practice what he preaches.
In fact, Castro’s lifestyle turns out to be jaw-droppingly decadent — a revelation set out in eye-popping detail by his former bodyguard Juan Reinaldo Sanchez.
Sanchez was one of Castro’s security guards from 1977 to 1994, accompanying him on overseas trips to meet everybody from popes to U.S. presidents, and witnessing first hand his boss’s ability to exploit Cuba as a personal fiefdom.
Recalling, for example, a typical day spent spear fishing off Cayo Piedra, he says: ‘I can’t describe it any other way than comparing it with the royal hunts of Louis XV in the forests around Versailles.’
After Castro rose at midday, kneeling flunkeys would dress him in scuba-diving gear, before accompanying him to a gleaming motor boat.
There, man servants would be on hand to attend to his every whim, whether it was to pour his preferred iced whisky (12-year-old Chivas Regal), or prepare his favourite snack, a whole toasted langoustine.
Other colleagues would have risen at dawn to scour the waters surrounding the island for the best possible fishing spot.
As their master fished, security guards (including Sanchez) stood by with Kalashnikovs and harpoon guns to ward off over-inquisitive sharks and barracudas.
Decades of Stalinist industrialization combined with mass tourism have left much of Cuba heavily polluted, but Cayo Piedra, south of the Bay of Pigs, where the CIA sponsored a failed invasion of the island in 1961, is described by Sanchez as a ‘Garden of Eden’.
The vast majority of Cubans have no idea of the existence of the private island, let alone that Castro owns it. Given the absence of a free Press in the country, they are unlikely ever to find out about it. Neither are they likely to be aware of the existence of other crown jewels in their former leader’s property portfolio, which, according to Sanchez, extends to 20 homes.
Castro, who even kept secret the existence of his wives, was able to conceal a rapacious infidelity that produced at least nine children by four women. Reported lovers ranged from the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida to an underage nightclub dancer who reported how he smoked continually during sex.
His notorious affairs earned him the nickname ‘the Horse’. He had a taste for young Cuban women of every colour and background, and half-jokingly told a journalist that it was his colossal sexual drive that had led him away from the Roman Catholic Church. The old goat, who used Viagra in later life, had flings with his English and French interpreters and an airline stewardess, Gladys, who attended to him on foreign trips.
In Havana, the story went that, when engaged with his nubile sexual partners, he always kept his army boots on — a legacy, presumably, of his days as a revolutionary guerrilla, when enemies might strike at any moment.
Castro’s craving for prostitutes made problems for his Communist allies. Markus Wolf, East Germany’s former spy chief, recalled a security scare when Castro disappeared on a visit to East Berlin. He climbed out of his hotel window one night and headed off to an illegal brothel. He knew his hosts could have supplied him with girls but, as Wolf said, ‘that simply wasn’t his way’. According to Sanchez, Castro’s claims to live ‘frugally’ were ‘lies — he lives in a luxury most Cubans can’t imagine’.
Castro was portrayed as the “benevolent” dictator of Cuba, such portrayals are unarguably wrong. The evidence of his bloodthirsty and murderous nature is unequivocal and available for anyone who wants to know the truth. Unfortunately such evidence is rarely discussed by the news media and at schools. There’s perhaps no more grizzly atrocity committed by Fidel Castro than the firing squads which he implemented. Beginning as a rebel, before he would eventually take power in Cuba, Fidel Castro used firing squad executions to enforce discipline, punish followers deemed disloyal or intimidate potential opposition. At the beginning of the Castro regime there was a reign of terror typical of revolutions in which the firing squad was used prominently but the executions continued for decades.
The Cuba Archive which documents deaths and disappearances resulting from Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution has documented 3,615 firing squad executions conducted by the Cuban state since Castro took over on January 1, 1959.
Opponents of the death penalty should be horrified at the amount of death Fidel Castro and his accomplices have directly caused. It’s important to note that in Revolutionary Cuba there are none of the due process guarantees found in a western-style democracy. Most of Castro’s firing squad victims were afforded only a perfunctory show trial the outcome of which was predetermined, some didn’t even get that. Ernesto “Ché” Guevara is a popular culture icon, his face adorns posters and t-shirts around the globe. Most people don’t realize that he was Fidel Castro’s chief enforcer and had a personal hand in at least 100 firing squad executions, often delivering the coup de grace personally. In response to questions about Castro’s firing squads Guevara once said, “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution. And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”
In addition to the firing squad executions 1,253 extrajudicial killings have been attributed to the Castro regime.
One of the most reprehensible crimes committed by his regime was the sinking of a tugboat loaded with 72 potential escapees from the tropical gulag that is Cuba.
In 1994, Cuba was at the height of “the special period”. This was Fidel Castro’s euphemism for the austerity resulting from the collapse of the Soviet Union that had been subsidizing Cuba since the early 1960s. Food was scarce, times were extremely tough and Cubans were desperate to escape the dictatorship taking to sea in whatever would float. Here’s a first person account of what life was like:
The collapse of the Soviet Union, our sugar daddy, had led to an economic crisis in Cuba. Twelve or more hours of daily power outages harassed neighborhoods without mercy. Hoarding water became a nightmare for those who did not have enough reservoirs. At some kitchen tables, steaks changed into grapefruit steaks; soap sometimes substituted for toothpaste…
Something had to change. In fact, some Cubans chose to build rafts and risk their lives in the Florida Straits to reach American land.
One July morning in 1994 a group of 72 Cubans boarded a state-owned tugboat (named 13 de Marzo) with the intent to navigate it to freedom. Within minutes the vessel was under attack by other state-owned tugboats. By the time the incident was over 41 Cubans were dead. Ten of them were children.
According to eyewitnesses who survived the disaster, no sooner had the tug “13 de Marzo” set off from the Cuban port than two boats from the same state enterprise began pursuing it. About 45 minutes into the trip, when the tug was seven miles away from the Cuban coast–in a place known as “La Poceta”–two other boats belonging to said enterprise appeared, equipped with tanks and water hoses, proceeded to attack the old tug. “Polargo 2,” one of the boats belonging to the Cuban state enterprise, blocked the old tug “13 de Marzo” in the front, while the other, “Polargo 5,” attacked from behind, splitting the stern. The two other government boats positioned themselves on either side and sprayed everyone on deck with pressurized water, using their hoses.
The pleas of the women and children on the deck of the tug “13 de Marzo” did nothing to stop the attack. The boat sank, with a toll of 41 dead. Many people perished because the jets of water directed at everyone on deck forced them to seek refuge in the engine room. The survivors also affirmed that the crews of the four Cuban government boats were dressed in civilian clothes and that they did not help them when they were sinking.
Later, Cuban Coast Guard cutters arrived and rescued 31 survivors. After being rescued, the survivors were taken to the Cuban Coast guard post of Jaimanitas, which is located west of Havana. From there, they were taken to the Villa Marista Detention Center, which also serves as State Security Headquarters. The women and children were released and the men were held.
Here’s Trump’s statement, with eyes open:
For over 50 years, Fidel Castro has relished telling audiences large and small of the hundreds of assassination attempts he has survived. In June 2005, he regaled a crowd in a Venezuelan port city, saying it may have been the only time he has travelled abroad when there was no plan afoot to kill him. Such hyperbole has always been an essential ingredient in the imagery of invincibility and cunning that he promoted about himself.
Castro has had no higher priority from the outset of his revolutionary career than his personal security. Once in power he set out immediately to create intelligence and security services, both within and independent of the armed forces controlled by his brother Raul, that have reliably made him one of the world’s most physically invulnerable leaders. When traveling abroad he typically surrounds himself with an entourage of hundreds of elite security and support personnel. Cuban intelligence has long been among the best in the world with a demonstrated ability to ferret out potential threats well before they coalesce.
The actual number of assassination attempts against Castro is unknown, but surely many times smaller than the impression he encourages of CIA and Cuban exile rogues perennially plotting against him. Not a single foreign-based assassination plan is known to have come close to succeeding and most, including all of those hatched in the CIA under pressure from the Kennedy administration, were laughably inept.
According to the CIA documents, the so-called Family Jewels that were declassified in 2007, one assassination attempt on Fidel Castro prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion involved noted American mobsters Johnny Roselli, Salvatore Giancana and Santo Trafficante.
In September 1960, Momo Salvatore Giancana, a successor of Al Capone’s in the Chicago Outfit, and Miami Syndicate leader Santo Trafficante, who were both on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list at that time, were indirectly contacted by the CIA about the possibility of Fidel Castro assassination.
Johnny Roselli, a member of the Las Vegas Syndicate, was used to get access to Mafia bosses. The go-between from the CIA was Robert Maheu, who introduced himself as a representative of several international businesses in Cuba that were expropriated by Castro. On September 14, 1960, Maheu met with Roselli in a New York City hotel and offered him US$150,000 for the “removal” of Castro.
James O’Connell, who identified himself as Maheu’s associate but who actually was the chief of the CIA’s operational support division, was present during the meeting. The declassified documents did not reveal if Roselli, Giancana or Trafficante accepted a down payment for the job. According to the CIA files, it was Giancana who suggested poison pills as a means to doctor Castro’s food or drinks. Such pills, manufactured by the CIA’s Technical Services Division, were given to Giancana’s nominee named Juan Orta. Giancana recommended Orta as being an official in the Cuban government, who had access to Castro.
Allegedly, after several unsuccessful attempts to introduce the poison into Castro’s food, Orta abruptly demanded to be let out of the mission, handing over the job to another unnamed participant. Later, a second attempt was mounted through Giancana and Trafficante using Dr. Anthony Verona, the leader of the Cuban Exile Junta, who had, according to Trafficante, become “disaffected with the apparent ineffectual progress of the Junta”. Verona requested US$10,000 in expenses and US$1,000 worth of communications equipment. However, it is unknown how far the second attempt went, as the assassination attempt was canceled due to the launching of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Marita Lorenz, now 77, was ‘torn between love and hate’ when she returned from a hospital visit to America to poison Castro using two deadly botulism pills — allegedly supplied by the Mafia — hidden in a jar of Pond’s face cream.
The German-born American was 19 when she fell for the Cuban dictator in 1959 and spent nine months living with him at the Havana Hilton.
They shared their bedroom with a collection of Corgi toy cars and tanks that Castro loved to ‘scoot across the dresser’ — and a real bazooka that he kept under the bed.
The plot fell apart when Marita realised she couldn’t get the cold cream off the pills and flushed them down a bidet.
Other contemplated plots included putting a bomb inside a seashell on the seabed where Castro, a keen scuba diver, liked exploring; impregnating his diving suit with a fungus to give him a horrible skin disease; and handing him an exploding cigar when he visited the UN in New York. The CIA apparently also looked into slipping deadly bacteria into his tea, coffee or ice cream.
A former bodyguard claims that a 1963 attempt to have a restaurant worker at the Havana Hilton poison a chocolate milkshake was the closest the CIA ever came to killing his boss. The operation was foiled only after the poison pills fell out of a freezer in which they had been stored.
U.S. records show that the CIA supplied various weapons to a Cuban official in the early Sixties. These included high-powered rifles and a ballpoint pen fitted with a hypodermic needle ‘so fine that the victim would not notice its insertion’. It was never used.
And if the CIA couldn’t kill Castro, they hoped to humiliate him in public. Senior officials discussed spraying his broadcasting studio with a chemical similar to the hallucinogenic drug LSD, or dusting his shoes with a depilatory so strong that it would make his eyebrows, beard and pubic hair fall out.
The plot relied on Castro leaving his shoes outside his hotel room during a foreign trip, but he cancelled the visit.
A sniper hit and a grenade attack on a baseball game failed, too — as did an effort in 2000, when 200lb of explosives were found under a podium where he was due to speak.
Castro once said, in regards to the numerous attempts on his life he believed had been made, “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.”
How they failed to kill Fidel Castro:
- Exploding cigar: This idea was thought up by a New York police officer and would have contained enough explosives to blow Castro’s head clean off.
- Hair removal: Yes, really. The plan was that Castro might seem weak if all his facial hair were to fall out, so the Americans thought about trying to slip chemicals into his cigar or shoes.
- Poisoned milkshake: This was apparently the closest to taking Castro’s life, but the poisoned poll destined for the drink stuck to the freezer and ripped open when the waiter-cum-assassin tried to rip it off.
- Femme fatale: Marita Lorenz, one of Castro’s many mistresses, is alleged to have made a deal with the CIA to feed him capsules of poison. She hid them in her face cream, but they dissolved.
- Poisoned wetsuit: There was a plan to offer Castro a wetsuit filled with deadly spores and bacteria during the Bay of Pigs invasion, but the CIA’s plot was again foiled.
- Exploding shell: This attempt tried to take advantage of Castro’s love of scuba diving by putting an explosive device in a conch shell in the sea. They made it especially attractive in the hope the Cuban leader would be drawn to it.
- Another deathly cigar: The CIA tried to slip Castro a cigar filled with a poisonous toxin called Botulin. They hired a double agent who chickened out of the attempt.
- Deadly pen: The plan was to rig a pen with a hypodermic needle so fine that someone could prick him with it and he would never notice until he died.
- LSD: This was more an effort to bring him down in from of his people, but the plan was to spray an LSD-like substance into a studio during a radio interview, which would make him act strangely and worry the Cuban people.
World leaders like Justin Trudeau expressed “great sorrow” at the passing of Castro. Journalists like MSNBC Andrea Mitchell insisted Castro “will be revered” for “education and social services and medical care to all of his people.” Really? He will be “revered” because he gave his people services while torturing and jailing those who wanted democracy. Mitchell may want to check out the free medical care that Castro gave people like Armando Valladares, who was initially a supporter of Castro but was arrested when (as a worker at the Office of the Ministry of Communications for the Revolutionary Government) he refused to put a plaque on his desk that read, “I’m with Fidel.” He was arrested and spent 22 years in Castro’s prisons being tortured, starved, and left in solitary confinement. He might not be as reverential about those services, but then again Mitchell did not have to live under the dictatorship of the Castros.
To this day, the island operates on the lowest level of economic exchanges and production. His unquestioned success on literacy and health care is no substitute for human rights. He placed his name on a long list of dictators who emerged from political and economic chaos. He did not end the brutality but merely justified it as a means for a new cause.
That is what history will remember about Fidel Castro.