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Fidel Castro inspires strong emotions. Some admire his revolution, and his efforts to improve the lives of Cuba's poor. Others detest his regime, his socialism, his human rights violations. As Castro ages, nearly everyone has an opinion about what Cuba will become after he is gone.
What are your views about Fidel Castro, his decades in power, and the future of Cuba?
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I am very surprised at how accurate the film is. Most films made about the Mad Dictator are very favorable and fail to depict him as the lying thieving despot that he turned out to be. He hijacked an ideology for his own personal ambition. This film was very well put together and honest, painful at times but honest none the less. I would like to have a chance to send Adriana a message of thanks for her honesty.
Fidel Castro has always been an autocratic totalitarian murderer who has never cared about what is best for the people of Cuba. I think that the documentary on PBS was way too soft on his crimes and human rights abuses of the past 50 years! However, it was better than what Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone have done!
Viva Cuba Libre!
This documentary contained a rogue's list of the worst U.S.-based critics of the Revolution. Bosch's editing decisions and suggestive writing provide a terribly unbalanced portrait of Fidel Castro. This is a perfect documentary -- it shows you exactly where 45 years of self-deception and propaganda will take an "exile" community. I'm sure it was a big hit among the Miami crowd and at the White House, but the rest of the world will see this "documentary" for what it is: more reactionary story-telling from historical revisionists. Sad.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
I have gone to Cuba 4 different times under licensed travel. My experiences completely flew in the face of what I expected from what I now know as U.S. propaganda. The results of the revolution are powerful and wonderful. Cuba is a place where you can experience a society without racism. The population is literate, nearly 100% -- much higher than ours. Education is free -- tuition, books, and a stipend -- for all levels, including medical school, law school, art school, whatever. Even adults who want to change careers re-enter the university mid-life, free. I experienced freedom of religion -- Fidel is open to all things, as long as they are not against the values of social justice that are the heart of the revolution. Your approach at PBS has been slanted against what I have come to know is the truth. Cuba is, however, a threat to the U.S. way of doing business in the world -- the threat of a good idea, said one international scholar.
Cuba IS actually an ownership society -- everyone has a home, there are no homeless. They pay the government 10% of their income toward ownership. Of course, there is economic poverty, the result, they believe, of our 40+ years of blockade and economic warfare. We refuse to let them pay reparation for the land they nationalized -- all other nations have done so, and now have business partnerships on the island. The bottom line -- that Cuba has the lowest infant mortality rate and the highest literacy rate in the Western Hemisphere -- speaks well for Fidel. Of course he is strong. He is brilliant, idealistic, charismatic, a leader loved by many worldwide... when the U.S. stops sending millions of $s to fund mercenaries on the island to work against the revolution, then Cubans will be able to have greater political freedoms. They now have human rights (education, jobs, food, shelter, health care) -- now they wait for greater political rights, when the playing field of their sovereignty is respected.
I think Castro and the people of Cuba have made remarkable achievements considering the state of economic war they've had to endure from the imperialist United States. I feel, for the advance of Socialism and the eventual realization of Communism, the dictatorship of the proletarian, as realized by Castro, is entirely needed, especially in the context of wars as imposed on the nation from the United States. Hopefully soon enough we in the nation can match the will and steadfast dedication of Castro and the Cuban people and end the horrific exploitative and deviating nature of Capitalism as realized in this nation.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I've been reading all these comments that people have been writing about how Castro is not so bad, how he's done so much for his country and so forth. To these people I say, do you enjoy your freedom? It's nice isn't it? Something you take for granted. I'd like to see you live in Cuba for a week and dare you to make those same statements. You'd have a completely different outlook. It's always so nice for people to comment about issues when they're on the outside looking in, quite different from the other side though. Have you seen pictures of Cuba recently? Have you spoken to a Cuban national lately? One that didn't fear for his freedom (literally) if opposed to the government? Cuba is in ruins! And it's been like that for over 40 years. The people there have the bare minimum. Are you OK with that? There is no room for growth, personal or economic. Most of the things that are considered "nice to have" by us are considered a luxury over there and the only way to obtain that is through the black market, because it's illegal to buy or trade amongst the Cuban people. If you go to a store the shelves are empty. Eating meat which we can do everyday is considered a luxury and very hard to do in Cuba. Again I ask, is this your idea of a good and successful leader, one that provides only the bare necessities? To you people I say, go ahead and invest your life in a business and work in it for 20 or 30 years and be successful and then one day wake up and give it all away to your government and let them run it and reap all the fruits of your labor. Or better yet, let them come and rip it off of you and your family and everything you've worked for and then buy into the idea that it's for the greater good. For the Revolution! Go ahead. Do that. And then come talk to me. You have no idea what it is to be repressed because you've never walked a single step in those shoes! Had you ever been (repressed), you would find yourselves writing quite a different story!
I was born under this government. Born in 1977, my childhood and my teen years were totally dominated by the system. But this is the interesting part, "ojos que no ven, corazon que no siente" (if your eyes can't see it, your heart won't feel it) and that's why when you are raised in Cuba, unless you leave you are not able to understand what you didn't have and what freedom is supposed to be.
The future of Cuba and Cubans is tightly related to their education. Cubans have no real information of the outside world for over 4 decades... it's not easy to understand how everything works on the real world, Cubans need to be educated on how real life is like.
When anyone asks me about Fidel and Cuba I tell them that it's the most that a communist revolution can ever hope to accomplish. Everyone knows how to read but books are controlled. Everyone eats everyday but most are still hungry. Everyone gets medical care but medicines are scarce. Yet the liberals in this country still continue to blame America for that farce 90 miles from our shores. Fidel's ideas could never stand on their own two feet any where in the world. People need freedom in order to prosper. No one gets on a leaky raft and risks their life unless a life without freedom is not worth living. Fidel is a monster! Once he dies I hope the Cuban people will finally be free. Hurry Fidel hurry!
I feel that the American embargo against Cuba is completely stupid; why doesn't the American government realize that the fastest way to bring down the Cuban system is to open up trade and tourism? Good ol' American commercialism and consumerism would inevitably seep in down there and the next thing we know, there'd be Wal-Marts and MacDonald's all over the island.
Cuba is frozen in time thanks to a dictator such as Fidel Castro. He stole a revolution that was supposed to rid Cuba of petty caudillos, and he imposed a dictatorship that has not allowed Cubans to decide the fate of their country for the past 46 years. How long will it take for people to realize that Castro is not a hero but a petty dictator, worse than any Cuba has ever had? There is no freedom of speech, association, press, enterprise -- nothing of the sort in Cuba. People who dissent politically are tried and sentenced summarily, with no judicial protection. The economy is in shambles, and it is not due to the American embargo. American businesses are already trading with Cuba (on a cash basis for grain and medicine) and Cuba can trade with any other country in the world (and does). The true reason for the scarcity and hardship in Cuba is an inefficient, centrally planned economy that already went the way of the Berlin Wall, and is being propped up artificially through sheer force. It is time that certain ideologues stopped touting Cuba's supposed "social achievements." Universal health care is not worth much when the shelves are empty and there is no medicine to be had, and free education is questionable when you are indoctrinated in communist ideology from your fifth birthday on and must see the world through a Marxist-Leninist lens, whether you want to or not. Cubans should be allowed to vote and decide their own country's fate. The time for freedom in Cuba has come.
Marilu Del Toro
I, without having to be there and suffer the limitations of political expression, accept the severity with which he must overcome the propaganda and economic hardships our govt (the U.S.) has imposed over the last 4 decades. His devotion to his people and people of the world in general is shown by his phenomenal health and education programs. If history of the future has any truth, he will be treated well.
Nevada City, California
He has made ruin out of a rich country. Destroyed our environmental resources. Separated families only for political gain. Has destroyed young lives sending them to protect private companies in Africa, killing innocent civilians and filling them with dirty propaganda. He has denied the people of Cuba to enjoy beaches and restaurants with the wealthy tourists, and maintains political prisoners (plantados) like animals. He should be locked in Guantanamo or dead.
Key Largo, Florida
I have been to Cuba. I have studied all the relevant facts, listened to many people speak, including a representative from the American interests section and their Cuban counterpart in Havana. I can see no relevant reason why the embargo must continue. It is counter productive to U.S. and Cuban interests. I am not alone in my viewpoint. Please join me and every person I spoke to in Cuba in calling for an end to the embargo. Let U.S. citizens trade with Cuba and let us know again rejoin our Latin American family in Cuba. Viva Cuba!
Los Angeles, California
I detest his regime, his socialism, his human rights violations. My views about Fidel Castro are, he destroyed a country and its people by ripping apart families and taking away Cuba's history of Democracy and Freedom of Speech. As far as what I think about Castro's decades in power, well, I think they were wasted time Cuban-born citizens lost living away from their native land. That in order to survive, they were forced to leave their native country in order to just live like a human being. The future of Cuba is unknown and quite frankly, Castro is not stepping down from office and neither will his successor. The only way to get rid of Communism would be if the U.S.A. steps in to help. The same way U.S.A. helps fight Iran, Iraq and Vietnam, the U.S.A. should interfere and help their Cuban neighbors.
Flushing, New York
With all the fuss -- everyone below the age of 50 don't know about the conditions of Cuba before Fidel. When a revolution is successful there is a reason and the reason in Cuba was poverty. Everyone hears communism and forgets everything else. It's about time Americans realize that communism is and never was a threat to our way of life. Without the strength of Castro, Cuba will fall into decline searching for a direction and will come under the fold of the United States just as it was in the 40s and 50s.
Our policies have proven Fidel Castro right. We exalt the so called democracies of Latin America while a great number of its citizens are illiterate, live in poverty, have no healthcare. In our own country we still struggle with education for all as well as with homelessness, lack of healthcare and significant pockets of poverty. Cuba, under political threat and economic blockade by the U.S. for over 40 years, manages to curtail poverty, reduce mortality, educate its population, eradicate homelessness, yet continue as an independent country with grassroots participation in their parliament.
It seems that Cuba has achieved what the U.S.A. is still working for... health, education, and wellbeing covering all their population. We in the U.S.A. now have a Patriot's Act and a Homeland Security Department -- names more consistent with Stalinist Russia than Reagan's America. Further we restrict the rights of Americans, and Cuban families to travel to Cuba. Fidel Castro's Cuba in turn has open its borders to U.S. citizens and Cubans living in the U.S., widened its economy and expand its ties with all other nations. All points to a bright sovereign future for Cuba and a failed U.S. policy.
Milton Sanchez-Parodi, M.D.
Fidel Castro, like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and few others, is a man of utmost integrity, intellect, and lifelong dedication to the people of Cuba and to the revolution of the global community. People speak of human rights abuses in Cuba, I argue that the most fundamental of human rights are met in that peanut-shaped Caribbean Island. Namely, there are four: healthcare, education, shelter, and food. Secondary, in my view, are freedom of the press and freedom of speech, for indeed, what good are these freedoms when one is sick, hungry, ignorant, and homeless. In these respects Cuba is unequalled in the third world, and in fact, in most of the first world too. In a word, Cuba is socialism. For this, all of the incalculable advances made by the Cuban revolution enable her to stand as a beacon of hope for the planetary community of conscience. Fidel Castro, for his part, is the spearhead of this blow to iniquity, and this -- together with the Chavez movement in Venezuela, and the Bolivarian project as a whole -- gives me reason to wake up in the mornings.
I came to the U.S. from Cuba in 1945. My parents were poor and appreciated the opportunities available here. However, being poor in Cuba, they had seen suffering and injustices and were absolutely committed to the original goals of Fidel's Revolution. I understand that their attitudes might have been different if they had lived under Fidel, especially in these last few years. I cannot bring myself to condemn Fidel. He is absolutely no threat to the U.S. Cuba has had terrorism visited upon it. Remember Cubana Airlines which was bombed on 10/6/74? Orlando Bosch took pride in this act and was pardoned by George Bush and is living a comfortable retirement in a condo in Miami, probably paid for by the U.S. taxpayer. The American public is not well informed about Cuba , so when the U.S. classifies Cuba as a terrorist nation, they accept it on face value. I could go on and on, but I feel we should normalize relations with Cuba. Of course, a lot of people's rice bowls in Miami would be broken.
I grew up in a household where Fidel may as well have been the anti-Christ. Cuba was a tabooed topic of conversation. As I grew older, I started to question things. From what I have read, Fidel did do some good things for the country, however, like most in power, he got greedy. He is a genius, for better or worse. I do appreciate any work that tries to de-romanticize him and the revolution and bring him down from the mythic stature... the one created by my Cuban immigrant parents, by the media, and by some of his own people. The issue is not so black and white and I don't believe Fidel is either; he is as complicated as the island's history, culture and people.
Fidel Castro is a despot; a tyrant. He is, among other things, a traitor to his country who betrayed his country to communist enslavement under the former Soviet Union. And he imposed communism on the Cuban people with brute force, and against their will.
Most important, Fidel Castro is a brutal, corrupt, totalitarian dictator who rules Cuba with an iron hand and tolerates no dissent as shown by his arrests of 75 dissidents last year and their being sentenced to long prison terms for simply having the courage to stand up and publicly criticize his regime, or for refusing to bow and kowtow to the altar of Castroism and communism or refusing to buy into his Marxist-Leninist gobbledegook or his warped, perverted, convoluted "vision" of what he thinks Cuban society should be or what society in general should be.
And finally, Fidel Castro is a terrorist who has terrorized the people of Cuba throughout the 46 years of his reign of terror. Fidel Castro should have long ago been deposed and brought before a war crimes tribunal to stand trial for treason, murder, genocide and crimes against humanity. He is nothing more than a common criminal cut from the same cloth as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tsetung, Adolf Eichmann, Saddam Hussein, Ghengis Khan and all the other notorious despots, criminals and sub-human animals that have come and gone throughout the course of human history.
May God reward him according to all his works. VIVA CUBA LIBRE!!!
Plainfield, New Jersey