Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Cuban exiles rejoice after Castro cedes presidency
International Herald Tribune ^ | 08/01/2006 | Terry Aguayo and Christine Hauser, The New York Times

Posted on 08/01/2006 12:52:27 PM PDT by Republicain

Cuban exiles reacted with exuberance at the news that Fidel Castro had temporarily ceded power to his brother late Monday night, taking to the streets, dancing and honking their car horns in celebration that decades of dictatorship in Cuba was coming to an end.

But today, the initial joy turned mostly to uncertainty as Cubans paused and considered the unanswered questions: why did Mr. Castro himself not appear to announce his illness? Was he alive or dead? What would the future bring for families with loved ones in Cuban prisons, or for those with executed relatives in the grave?

(Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...


TOPICS: Cuba; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: castro; cuban; cubanamericans; deathwatch; exiles

1 posted on 08/01/2006 12:52:29 PM PDT by Republicain
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Republicain

OK, ding dong the witch is dead but Is there any reason to think Raul will be any better? Even if so is there any reason to think the Cubans here will go back and for what? Cuba is devastated and will require decades of rebuilding.


2 posted on 08/01/2006 12:57:00 PM PDT by Leg Olam ("You only upset yourself with your sins, but you upset other people by your confessions" H. Crosby)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lee Heggy123
Party pooper! >:P

::gets his dance on::

3 posted on 08/01/2006 12:59:50 PM PDT by Gordongekko909 (I know. Let's cut his WHOLE BODY off.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Republicain
I take issue with the post's title; Castro is not a "President" of a democracy...he's a friggin' dictator, NYT!!!
4 posted on 08/01/2006 1:01:37 PM PDT by kromike
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kromike

Yes. Calling oneself 'El Presidente' does not a president make.

Just ask Kerry and Obrador or Mexico!


5 posted on 08/01/2006 1:03:59 PM PDT by Bigh4u2 (Denial is the first requirement to be a liberal)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Bigh4u2

As good Christians, we should pray for Fidel. May Jesus take him soon and do his will with him.


6 posted on 08/01/2006 1:06:13 PM PDT by Lion Den Dan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Lee Heggy123

Raul is more radical than his brother. He became a communist before Fidel. The only hope is that with his age, unless Castro's son, "Fidelito" takes over, that he doesn't remain in power for long.


7 posted on 08/01/2006 1:11:07 PM PDT by mak5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Lee Heggy123

They probably want to go back to help rebuild the place.

I visited Cuba in December of 2002. It's a heartbreakingly beautiful place, and it has wonderfully hospitable people. I really enjoyed my trip but decided not to return after the big crackdown on dissidents in the following March. I'd convinced myself that Castro was pretty much a paper tiger dictator but in March I was rudely awakened.

It's true that the place is falling apart but Havana could be one of the world's most stunningly beautiful cities if the reconstruction is done well.

If you are so inclined, you can check out my photos here: The fabulous ruins of Cuba:

http://www.amazing.com/cuba/fabulous-ruins/

I'd love to be able to visit again under a healthy government and society, so I hope present Cubans and exiles can work something out for the good of everyone. It's going to be touchy since billions of dollars of expropriated property is involved. The people in it now aren't going to want to move, after decades, and the exiles who fled are going to want it back - and may be the only people with the capital to fix it up.

D


8 posted on 08/01/2006 1:15:06 PM PDT by daviddennis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Lee Heggy123
My gut feel is that a stunning number of Cuban ex-pats will return to their homeland. This will include scion of the original refugees, many of them Batista supporters. Then the issues of who gets their land & property back, and who's going to run the place, will cause major problems. Think East / West Germany reunification, on a smaller numeric scale, but with a lot more emotion.

I don't think that shooting hostilities will break out, but it's not going to be pretty... look for political parties to appear along the lines of who left & who stayed.

Even if so is there any reason to think the Cubans here will go back and for what?

9 posted on 08/01/2006 1:25:56 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy (Ever had Vuja de? That feeling that you've never ever been here before?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: daviddennis

David, I've seen your pictures and they are quite stunning. I was in Cuba for a few days a long time ago and it looked pretty much like you dipicted. Wonderful people with a hateful government. By contrast I also visited Haiti and that place made Cuba look like paradise.

Lee


10 posted on 08/01/2006 1:27:09 PM PDT by Leg Olam ("You only upset yourself with your sins, but you upset other people by your confessions" H. Crosby)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: mak5; Luis Gonzales

I seem to remember that Fidelito was seriously estranged from his father. Wasn't that particular wife of his pretty discontented with Castro?

I read a fairly comprehensive biography of Fidel and that seemed to be so.

I will say that I think Fidel really did try, with minimal cynicism, to make Communism work, and I give him credit for that. He took a lot from the economy from his personal use but not nearly as much as he could have. This all being said, in the end that didn't prevent his government from becoming a nasty dictatorship.

I'm glad I visited Cuba even though I supported an oppressive regime by doing so. You can't understand how bad things are unless you see them for yourself. In the end, the only way to keep a communist or socialist system is to create huge numbers of unfair rules to block human enterprise so that nobody becomes richer than their neighbor. Until you see how that works in practice, you don't understand it.

A really good example of this was restaurants. Nearly all Cuban restaurants are awful. Why? Because the government, in a bid to share in the profits, insists on selling them food purchased from the farmers at awful prices. So the farmers send their worst quality swill to the government, and the government sells it to the restaurants.

The most expensive places, at the very top end of the market, buy this food and sell it on the market for what little it can bring. Then they buy the good stuff from the private markets. But places that are not so expensive have to use it because their sales are counted against state food store purchases.

This produces a horribly distorted system where running a good restaurant you can be proud of is very difficult. And State restaurants are almost as "good" as private ones because they both use the same bad food as a base.

I rented a room in someone's house. The people I rented the room from became good friends and they would prepare good food for me by buying it from the market and preparing it themselves. But if they had opened a restaurant they would have had to serve the same swill as anyone else.

I think it's worth visiting a communist country to see what it's like. In a perverse sense it's too bad they're going the way of the dodo, because they will no longer serve as a warning sign for others. But in the end, I can't wish that people be enslaved just to provide that kind of entertainment. Only a Communist would be that cruel.

Cuba is a beautiful place and a wonderful nation with fantastic potential, and I look forward to seeing what it will become after Castro.

D


11 posted on 08/01/2006 1:28:53 PM PDT by daviddennis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: daviddennis
I think it's worth visiting a communist country to see what it's like. In a perverse sense it's too bad they're going the way of the dodo, because they will no longer serve as a warning sign for others. But in the end, I can't wish that people be enslaved just to provide that kind of entertainment. Only a Communist would be that cruel.

This is exactly how I feel, although the communist countries I visited were in Eastern Europe, and I was a part of a NATO delegation - hence we didn't see what they were truly like, only what the Soviets/puppets wanted us to see. Still, we saw people afraid of their government, and we saw some pretty poor conditions.

With these countries serving as a very visible sign of totalitarianism going away, it's hard to convince many Americans to be as cautious as they should be, in regards to accepting what our own government does and wants to do. No longer do we really have this clear example - China is now the country that turns out the cheap crap we buy in Wal-Mart, North Korea is run by a loony, etc., nobody sees the real threat, because all of the dictatorships are not much of a threat to us, so they are out of sight, which means out of mind.

I heard a talk given by Viktor Belenko years back (he defected to Japan with a Mig-25 in the 1970s, which shocked a lot of us - in some ways the Mig-25 was better than we expected, in others it was pathetic).

Anyways, he mentioned a lot of interesting contrasts between the US and the USSR (he lectured for years about how bad the Soviet system was, and was proven right in the late 1990s). This is from an interview he gave 1996:

Q: What made you question?
Belenko: Because I am very practical, technically oriented, person. I love to be in wilderness alone with Swiss army knife and matches rather than have a huge surplus and a huge crowd. When you're around very sophisticated equipment you have this honest trait-do it right and enjoy, do it wrong and die. You cannot use ideology to survive, or be like American lawyers who can talk themselves out of any situation. So I questioned the Soviet system by using my technological knowledge. I said okay U.S. is so bad how come they send man on the moon and bring him back? (Russians could send men on the moon in only one way.) If U.S. is so bad how come they're building best fighters in the world? If U.S. is fallen apart how come they have more Nobel Prize winners than progressive communist society? At same time I could not ask anyone those questions. If I had, at that time (in late 1960s), I would have ended up in mental institution. So I made my conclusion that U. S. is not that bad. At same time I did not have a clear picture of American society. And when I came to U.S. I behaved like someone from outer space. I put myself in very funny situations. Americans were laughing at me. I behaved worse than Mork in "Mork and Mindy".

Q: Like what did you do, for example?
Belenko: First of all American super-market, my first visit was under CIA supervision, and I thought it was set-up; I did not believe super-market was real one. I thought well I was unusual guest; they probably kicked everyone out. It's such a nice, big place with incredible amount of produce, and no long lines! You're accustomed to long lines in Russia. But later, when I discovered super-market was real one, I had real fun exploring new products. I would buy, everyday, a new thing and try to figure out its function. In Russia at that time (and even today) it's hard to find canned food, good one. But everyday I would buy new cans with different food. Once I bought a can which said "dinner." I cooked it with potatoes, onions, and garlic-it was delicious. Next morning my friends ask me, "Viktor, did you buy a cat?" It was a can of chicken-based cat food. But it was delicious! It was better than canned food for people in Russia today. And I did test it. Last year I brought four people from Russia for commercial project, and I set them up. I bought nibble sized human food. I installed a pâté, and it was cat food. I put it on crackers. And they did consume it, and they liked it. So the taste has not changed. By the way, for those who are not familiar with American cat food. It's very safe; it's delicious, and sometimes it's better than human food, because of the Humane Society.

I bought a box of Freedom with the picture of nice looking lady. I did not know what it was. (I'm talking about maxi-pads.) I brought it to my apartment, I opened it, and I tried to figure it out. I thought well it's probably some cleaning device for the kitchen to give these American women freedom in the kitchen to clean up and absorb everything, because even today Russian women do not have this convenience.

Q: What do they use?
Belenko: Well, what American women did in 1920s. This is the gap between two societies. During my presentations I emphasize this by using samples from everyday life. I had so much fun and adventure during my assimilation of American culture. You could write a book or make a movie, "Top-Gunski in America." I know how Russians live today, and as long as I live I'll never take those things for granted which many Americans do take for granted.

12 posted on 08/01/2006 1:44:49 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Republicain
I'm thinking "stroke".
13 posted on 08/01/2006 1:47:06 PM PDT by Question_Assumptions
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lee Heggy123

i visited the Philippines in February of this year, in a research trip to try and find out whether it would be a good place for me to move to shrink my cost of living.

I found that people were far more upbeat and less money oriented than they are in the US. I stayed at one place with a Filipina friend who happened to be the owner's best friend. Naturally the owner treated us like kings, feeing us and taking us around independently of the cost of the room.

When I left, I paid my room and drinks bill and offered an enormous tip - it was a bit more than my total bill for staying there. The owner refused it with a gentle smile, saying that she didn't want me to think Filipinas were mercernary!

There were things the Philippines had in common with Cuba. There are squatter areas that are very much like Cuban slums, because nobody owns the land and the person who builds the fastest keeps a claim in the property. Since these are not based on beautiful old Spanish architecture like housing in Cuba, they were just plain ugly. Toilet paper was only slightly less of a premium item than it was in Cuba.

But there was a zest and a vitality in the place that just didn't exist in Cuba. Crony capitalism, the system there, seems to impact people close to the top more than those close to the bottom. People work super-hard, more so than they did in Cuba, and generally reaped more in the way of rewards.

The Philippines has horrible problems, mainly in terms of a national attitude that is outrageously short term. But they're doing far better than Cuba and there are some institutions, such as shopping malls(*), that rival American ones in quality.

So I have seen more of the third world now, and I can conclude that a repressive country like Cuba is far worse than a simply corrupt country like the Philippines.

What i really wonder is where the better attitude came from. I'd rather live in Cuba than the US, as long as I can bring some US money along with me, because the people have an upbeat attitude that's 1000 times better than the mopy gloom I see here in the US.

Thoughts?

D

(*) I would take a Robinsons center in the Philippines over a Simon center in Pittsburgh any day. Cleaner, better maintained, better service.


14 posted on 08/01/2006 1:59:18 PM PDT by daviddennis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: daviddennis
He took a lot from the economy from his personal use but not nearly as much as he could have.

Only a few billion here and there

15 posted on 08/01/2006 2:05:01 PM PDT by GeronL (http://www.mises.org/story/1975)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: af_vet_rr

Interesting interview! I remember reading the reaction of an East German couple after they'd managed to get across the wall. They went to an upscale West German store and were overwhelmed by 300 types of bread! It confused them instead of gratifying them, which I thought was rather funny/sad.

I'd love to hear an elaboration on the MIG-25 - how was it better and worse?

I read an interesting analysis of Soviet weapons some years back which said that they were designed to be difficult, even painful, to use because then they could crank them out by the million on the cheap. American weapons, by contrast, were said to be comfortable, elegantly designed and very high quality, but some of the gizmos had trouble working, and we couldn't build enough of them to be effective.

I must say that recent wars seem to have vindicated the US approach. The gizmos worked a lot better than I'd heard they would, and we were able to vanquish our enemy with relative ease. I must say that I'm impressed by the work of our defense contractors nowadays. They seem to have done the job, despite the mid-80s skepticism.

D


16 posted on 08/01/2006 2:06:03 PM PDT by daviddennis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: daviddennis
less money oriented than they are in the US

Like they have a choice.

I'd rather live in Cuba than the US, as long as I can bring some US money along with me, because the people have an upbeat attitude that's 1000 times better than the mopy gloom I see here in the US.

whats stopping you?

17 posted on 08/01/2006 2:09:02 PM PDT by GeronL (http://www.mises.org/story/1975)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: af_vet_rr

That is a screamingly funny interview, yet sad in a way.

He seems to be making light of it himself, so to find it funny is to "laugh with him, not at him".


18 posted on 08/01/2006 2:13:27 PM PDT by GatorGirl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Correct. He looks like a piker compared to Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, who took over 684 million.

The big scandal with Castro is his strangulation of the economy to make it more egalitarian, not the money that he personally took.

D


19 posted on 08/01/2006 2:14:15 PM PDT by daviddennis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: GeronL

Whoops! Typo due to absent-mindedness, I meant the Philippines :-).

Definitely not Cuba!

D


20 posted on 08/01/2006 2:15:49 PM PDT by daviddennis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: daviddennis
The biggest difference between us and them is we actually TRAIN !

Warsaw Pact pilots had very few hours in their planes compared to their NATO counterparts.
Also even in ground warfare our training wasn't 'scripted' all Warsaw Pact exercises were.

Now look at non-Western & non Warsaw Pact militaries aka 3rd Word. These militaries have only a 'theoretical' familiarity with their weapons. All modern technically sophisticated weapons in the hand of a 3rd World (even in many cases 2nd World !) military is days within turning into a piece of expensive junk.
21 posted on 08/01/2006 2:16:16 PM PDT by Reily
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: daviddennis
bimp...

and those Russian subs spend 80% of their time in dock for some reason... while some ships are beached... which I do not understand

22 posted on 08/01/2006 2:18:30 PM PDT by GeronL (http://www.mises.org/story/1975)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: areafiftyone
Did you see this.

Rumors and information
As you can imagine, rumors are rampant right now within circles of the Cuban-American community. Ive heard that there was one person who witnessed the bearded bastard die personally. Of course, I cant cofirm the validity of that report. Nor, I suspect, will we be able to confirm any report of any kind regarding this issue. the Cuban government is holding all the cards on this right now.

Im getting emails from folks who have been in contact with family in Cuba, most of which saying that there's an eerie silence in the island and most family members are apprehensive about discussing the events via telephone with family abroad for fear of reprisals.

Im told that the US Interests Section in Havana is busy preparing for come what may.

Again, at this point I want to stress that we cannot confirm much, if anything, of the information that is seeping out of the island and I certainly dont want to get everyone's hopes higher than they already are. We are all just going to have to be patient, perhaps until some member of the MSM in Cuba shows some cojones and does some real reporting as opposed to trumpetting the Cuban government's statements.

We will do our best to bring you all whatever news and information we can as soon as humanly possible. But until we can get verifiable facts and data, we're going to hold off on calling for the champagne to start pouring.

We've waited almost half a century. A few more days is but a drop in the bucket.

But let's all keep our fingers crossed, por si las moscas.

Update: Some of the emails Ive been receiving are heartbreaking. Many are from sons and daughters and grandchildren of Cubans in exile who have already passed away. They all say the same thing: " I wish my father or mother or grandfather or grandmother had lived to see this day." I'd like to assure them all that all of our family member that have passed on are watching the event unfold from up in Heaven. It is through you all, who quite possibly do not remember a thing from Cuba or were born here in the States, that freedom for Cuba is carried. Enjoy these moments as there will be much hard work to come.

Posted by Val Prieto at 09:53 AM

Link: http://www.babalublog.com/

23 posted on 08/01/2006 3:31:16 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc. 10:2)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Republicain

What are the 3 biggest achievements of Castro's Cuba?
Sports, health care, education.
What are his 3 biggest failures?
Breakfast, lunch & dinner.


24 posted on 08/01/2006 3:31:27 PM PDT by Arkady
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: daviddennis
I'd love to hear an elaboration on the MIG-25 - how was it better and worse?

- Short range
- Used lots of vacuum tubes (which while heavier/bulkier, could hold up to electronic interference - especially nearby nukes, and could handle bad weather and were easier to replace for the ground crews)
- The engines were too fast for their own good - the MiG-25 that did the mach 3.2 or 3.3 run over Israel in the early '70s nearly came apart - the engines were totalled after it was over, from the stress.
- The airframe could not handle some of the stresses of a serious dogfight (an F-4 could out-manuever it!).
-It was steel, not titanium like was thought (and the thing was incredibly heavy - which limited the range and maneuverability).

Also, it was hand-welded. It was however, fairly reliable, rugged, and easy to maintain if you kept it within parameters, and it had one helluva radar - could easily kill small animals (and probably humans) along the runway if you turned it on while taxiing, and would go right through our best signal jamming at the time.

I heard somewhere it could hit 100,000 feet in under 4 minutes, but in a one-on-one situation, just about all of the NATO fighters could defeat it (in all fairness, it was really built to scramble and go after high-altitude Mach 3 bombers like the XB-70).

Belenko was a real character and one of the gutsiest people I know of - he planned it for years, and when he was finally in a position to defect, the man loaded his cockpit with technical manuals and guides to the MiG-25 and some of the other Soviet fighters. The US gave him a nice pension/trust fund.

He reminds me of the Cubans that take old Chevy trucks and cars and turn them into boats and literally drive them across the ocean to the US (even if it is a short stretch, it's still driving a CAR in the OCEAN). It's a shame we continue to turn those types back - they probably would appreciate freedom more than many Americans born here.
25 posted on 08/01/2006 6:16:19 PM PDT by af_vet_rr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson