Friday, March 19, 2010

How the US and the EU sustained the Castro dictatorship

How the US and the EU sustained the Castro dictatorship
By Daniel Hannan World Last updated: March 19th, 2010

Sola mors tyrannicida est, wrote Thomas More: death is the only way to
get rid of tyrants. And so it has proved for Fidel Castro. Twenty years
ago, he looked finished. The USSR had collapsed, and the Soviet
subsidies that had propped up the Cuban economy for 30 years had been
abruptly terminated. Around the world, statues of Lenin were being
melted down or sold off to collectors of kitsch. But Castro never
wavered in his revolutionary fervour. Unlike the apparatchiks of Eastern
Europe, he had not inherited the Communist system, nor seen it imposed
by a foreign army. The Cuban revolution was his revolution, and he was
damned if he was going to give it up.

By sheer force of personality, Castro kept the red flag flying over his
muggy Caribbean island. His eyes grew rheumier, and his beard sparser,
but his domination of the political machine remained total. The
Americans were in no doubt that if they removed the dictator, the
dictatorship would collapse. The CIA, acting on St Thomas's dictum, is
supposed to have tried to kill Castro 638 times, sometimes in ways that
were pure Inspector Clouseau. On one occasion, agents are said to have
persuaded Castro's former lover to assassinate him with poisoned cold
cream; on another, they tried to plant an infected wetsuit on him; on
yet another, an exploding cigar. In the event, it will fall to the
Almighty to achieve what the boys from Langley could not.

It will fall to the Almighty, too, to hold Castro to account for his
misdeeds — he has escaped any reckoning in this world. Not for him the
international court orders that were served on Ariel Sharon and Donald
Rumsfeld. Not for him the obloquy heaped on his old foe, Augusto
Pinochet, whom he was delighted to survive. On the contrary, Castro's
most famous bit of swanking, the claim after his first failed coup
attempt that 'history will absolve me', seems to be coming perversely
true. (I know readers of this blog are bored rigid by South American
dictators, but look at what has happened in Venezuela, Ecuador,
Nicaragua and Bolivia, for Heaven's sake.)

If the US has been unwise in giving the Cuban Communists the alibi of
their blockade, the EU has behaved wretchedly, refusing to deal with the
pro-democracy dissidents. Between them, they have condemned Cuba to 50
years of poverty and dictatorship. History will not absolve them.

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