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Fidel Castro: dictator or revolutionary? A necessary differentiation by someone who knew him

Fidel Castro was a revolutionary not a dictator. Cubans understand this even if Westerners don’t. His actions were always focused on improving the lives of Cubans – which is the opposite of what dictators do. If he had sometimes to act in an authoritarian way it was because the US left him no choice.,

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After watching CNN, MSNBC, France 24 and RT report on the death of Fidel Castro, their adjectives ranging from ‘despot’ and ‘dictator’ (US) to ‘revolutionary’ (France) to ‘world revered leader’ (RT) let me take a moment to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Fidel Castro did not pull off a one-man coup, as did Fulgencio Batista not once, but twice. Batista was a dictator whose goons tortured and killed those who protested his rule under a US tutelage that benefitted only the 1%. Fidel, Raul and Che gathered 80 men who fought a two-year war in the mountains against Batista’s better-armed military, beating it fair and square, forcing him to flee to the US.

The summary executions that soon became the only thing Americans were told about the Cuban revolution were in fact not carried out by Fidel, but, as both admitted to me, by Raul and Che, in the same spirit in which the Ceausescu’s (husband and wife) were executed in Romania when their Communist dictatorship fell — as ‘people’s justice’. According to Che, Batista’s crimes were known by all, and the new regime had more important things to do than set up trials in which negative testimonies would have been overwhelming.

Cubans today are mourning Fidel because they know he wasn’t in it for the money, but because he was determined to make life better for them while never bowing to their powerful neighbour. Every channel I heard noted that he had outlasted eleven US presidents, all but the most recent ones having unsuccessfully plotted and schemed to eliminate him.

One story I was told during my two year stay in Cuba was of an infiltrator into the rebel army who slept next to Fidel and confessed the next morning that he had been sent to kill him, but could not do it once he got to know him.

Having experienced the energy and charisma of this man, I was not surprised, and I believe these traits go far to explain why his death caused sincere mourning among Cubans young and old. Fidel literally incarnated the Cuban energetic love of life.

Call it paternalism if you like, the overwhelming majority followed him through thick and thin because he not only prioritised schools, hospitals — and the arts! — he taught them through example to be proud of who they were: the only people on earth to have successfully resisted the United States, from Teddy Roosevelt’s big stick to JFK’s Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Seeing Raul’s emotion as he announced the death of his brother on television reminded me of how special the relationship between them was: the younger one revered the older one as much as the Cuban people did, but he was no minor figure: he created and led a people’s army that quickly became self-sufficient in food and offered higher education to many of its recruits, ultimately becoming president.

Some will say that ‘the Castro brothers ruled with an iron fist’, but how else does one resist the most powerful nation the world has ever known? They arrested (and often rehabilitated) those who tried to sabotage their efforts, because failing to do so would have turned Cuba into another Haiti, as most Cubans – better informed than most Americans in matters that really count – know full well.

Cubans crying in Havana, especially the younger ones, do not want to see their country once again turned into a playground for the US 1%.

Americans who refer to Fidel Castro as ‘a brutal dictator’ refuse to see their own government’s school-to-prison pipeline, or the fact that instead of taking political prisoners, it assassinates its opponents with drones.

Dictators are in power for themselves, while revolutionaries, most of whom are born into the upper class, take power for the Other. Their authoritarianism stems from the refusal of the 1% from which they emerge to share — as stunningly illustrated by those who are dancing in the streets of Miami, hoping to turn the clock back in the land they abandoned.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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