Friday, January 6, 2012

The Castros and the Kims: Historic Parallels / Iván García

The Castros and the Kims: Historic Parallels / Iván García
Iván García, Translator: Unstated

Autocrats are clones of the same litter. They're not separated by
ideologies, what joins them is an unhealthy ambition for power. Each and
every one of modern dictators consider themselves enlightened. Types
essential on the national map. Founding Fathers. Irreplaceable. They
could not be more narcissistic. Egos more than enough. The nation is
their private estate.

They arise in periods of bad governance, economic crises, wars of
decolonization and political instability. They usually have a foolproof
formula under their arm to catapult the country forward. When in the
embryonic state they are very popular. Humans need icons. Heroes.
Heavy-handed leaders.

Then the despots come through the back door. In this 21st century, with
Internet, social networking and digitization, and there are few left.
You can count them on your fingers. In Equatorial Guinea, an
unpresentable man named Teodoro Obiang has all the makings of a dictator.

The monarchies of the Middle East and Morocco are another variation of
dictatorships. Natural dynasties. By blood, the throne belongs to a
family. And there is nothing, or little, you can do about it. Already in
the 18th century in Europe there were monarchies, but after the French
Revolution republican forms arose and the kings and princes were mere
decorative objects. Dedicated to works of charity or creating
foundations. Certainly one of them, the son of King Juan Carlos, Iñaki
Urdangarin, is embroiled in a corruption scandal.

There are people who consider themselves superior intellectually to lead
the destiny of a nation. It may be a gene to be discovered.

The guy with ways of a dictator knows the league. He does not like to be
out of power. Neither stands. They make up laws, such as Hugo Chavez and
Daniel Ortega, for indefinite re-election. The reckless one of Barina
went to the executive for votes. Those same votes would put him back in
the house.

Fidel Castro and Kim Il Sung took over the throne by bullets. Castro
overthrew the illegal and tyrannical government of Fulgencio Batista.
Sung was boosted by Moscow. Military preparations in the USSR. A golden
age for Stalin after World War II where the map began to change colors
and the Red Army imposed Marxist socialism by force of their T-34 tanks.

It has always intrigued me whether these two Third World autocrats had
among their purposes to remain in power. Perhaps they move, for a time,
fair ideals to build a decent way of life for its citizens. But betting
on the wrong horse.

The communism of Marx has been inefficient everywhere in the world where
it has been established. Never mind that the country has wealth or not.
Within a few years, the economy and the nation go adrift. It is, no
doubt, an unnatural system. That goes against the human soul. A slapstick.

An autocrat never acknowledges he's wrong. Right there is where their
pathological cases are slated to be part of medical studies. Castro, for
example, is never wrong. Others are wrong.

Kim Il Sung was the only God allowed in North Korea. He turned the
nation into a cult. His ego was so overwhelmed that he invented a new
philosophy, Juche.

Yes, because some dictators want to go down in history as thinkers and
righteous men. Gaddafi, the jackal of Tripoli, between cocaine and
sexual abuse of the young, gave birth to a pamphlet called The Green Book.

Fidel Castro wasn't given to outline a new social philosophy. But he
dipped his oar into all fields. He is the most knowledgeable about
cattle, sugarcane, bananas, dams, cyclones … And baseball: the
preparation of the Cuban team to play against the Baltimore Orioles in
1999 was designed by the commander. He was master of everything and the
student of nothing.

Kim Il Sung idiot of the unhappy Koreans with a cult of personality more
potent than a narcotic. Statues everywhere and him dressed in grey with
the stamp of a leader on the lapel. After these autocrats a change
doesn't necessarily come.

In North Korea Kim Jong Il, the son of Sung. Another madman. North
Korean media said, in two years he wrote 6 operas and read 180,000
books. He used to play 11 holes of golf on one drive. His writings were
released daily by the state radio. It is said that such was his passion
for film, he kept 20,000 films under lock and key, and later, maybe in
his cups, he ordered the kidnap of a couple of directors of South Korea
to make a personal film.

He liked to eat lobster with silver chopsticks while his people starved
and fell like flies on the streets of Pyongyang. A rotten collection.

He ordered the kidnapping of Japanese citizens. Downed planes in flight.
And to prove he was a tough guy when he came to the throne in 1993 he
ordered a terrorist act in Rangoon that cost the lives of 17 South Koreans.

Not content with his mischief, he produced half a dozen nuclear bombs.
He made North Korea a rogue state. After his death on December 17, he'd
hand-picked its favorite son Kim Jong Un to continue the communist
dynasty. The child knows little: 28 years, fat, and fan of the NBA.

The parallels between Castro and Kim are remarkable at the time of
passing power to his family. In Cuba, now, General Raul Castro (another
hobby of autocrats is to get many stars on the epaulet), rides to the
rescue and attempts to repair the damage to the economy.

But Castro II, 80, is as old as his brother, 85. On the island, the
average age of life for men is 76 years. Both are past it. The question
is whether in these parts after the two die, their offspring and
hand-picked relatives will touch the presidential chair.

We must wait. Meanwhile, Cuba was among the few countries that declared
three days of national mourning for the death "of Comrade Kim Jong Il."
Autocrats are part of a club. They play in another league.

Video: 1986. Fidel Castro visits the Democratic People's Republic of
Korea. At the foot of the stairs of the plane he is received by Kim Il
Sung, Kim Jong Il's father and the grandfather of Kim Jong Un.

January 5 2012

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