Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy, Cincinnati, Ohio, Democratic Dinner, October 6, 1960
Exploiting the twin themes of human misery and Yankee hatred, Castro’s campaign has met with success in almost every country – in Brazil, where both Presidential candidates found it politically expedient to appeal to pro-Castro and anti-American elements in the electorate – in Mexico, where anti-American riots followed pressure on a pro-Castro spokesman – in Guatemala, where Castro-equipped revolutionaries are a real menace – in Uruguay, where a general strike was threatened if Castro was not supported at the San Jose Conference. And – at the same foreign ministers’ conferenc – the United States suffered one of its few diplomatic defeats in the history of inter-American relations, when it was forced to withdraw its protest over Communist efforts in this hemisphere.
This is a critical situation – to find so dangerous an enemy on our very doorstep. The American people want to know how this was permitted to happen – how the Iron Curtain could have advanced almost to our front yard. They want to know the truth – and I believe that they are entitled to the truth. It is not enough to blame it on unknown State Department personnel. Major policy on issues such as Cuban security is made at the highest levels – in the National Security Council and elsewhere – and it is the party in power which must accept full responsibility for this disaster.
The story of the transformation of Cuba from a friendly ally to a Communist base is – in large measure – the story of a government in Washington which lacked the imagination and compassion to understand the needs of the Cuban people – which lacked the leadership and vigor to move forward to meet those needs – and which lacked the foresight and vision to see the inevitable results of its own failures.
Unrepentant hypocrite Colin Kaepernick defends Fidel Castro (Armando Salguero, Miami Herald, Thursday)
Cuba for more than five decades under the Castros has stifled practically any and all dissent. According to Human Rights Watch, “Cuban citizens have been systematically deprived of their fundamental rights to free expression, privacy, association, assembly, movement, and due process of law. Tactics for enforcing political conformity have included police warnings, surveillance, short-term detentions, house arrests, travel restrictions, criminal prosecutions, and politically motivated dismissals from employment.”
Now go to Google images of the Ladies In White protesting on Cuba’s streets. Kaepernick, the poster child for protest among NFL players, should do this. He would see images of women — white, black, mothers, daughters, sisters — systematically violated in one form or another by Castro’s thugs.
Dozens of protesters arrested before Obama’s arrival in Cuba
Hours before President Barack Obama landed in Cuba, Cuban officials arrested some 50 protesters of a key dissidents group, the Ladies in White.
They are harassed, spat upon, pushed and even bloodied simply because they are fighting to do in Cuba what Kaepernick does on an NFL sideline without fear or physical repercussion — just before he wears that Castro shirt to his postgame presser.
Fidel Castro is dead (Miami Herald)
Castro bragged that he would free his island of economic dependence on the United States, and he did — but only by becoming even more dependent on another foreign power based nearly 6,000 miles away in Moscow. Cuba ran up billions of dollars in debt for weapons, oil, machinery, food and other supplies. And when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Cuba’s crippled economy imploded, bringing new hardships to a population that already had suffered decades under his mismanagement.
Hundreds of thousands fled the society Castro created. The exodus began early with the powerful and affluent and continued with former comrades who found themselves in opposition to his rule. Next to go were the middle class and professionals and, finally, just about anyone who had the courage to grab a boat or cobble together a raft for the perilous crossing of the Florida Straits.
Castro, although always controversial, once seemed to embody a fresh, youthful approach to his island’s conflicts. Few moments in Cuban history rival the euphoria of Jan. 8, 1959, when the black-bearded comandante rode a tank into Havana with his swaggering rebel fighters, making their way through streets filled with cheering throngs. President Fulgencio Batista had fled a week earlier.
Message Conveying the Government’ s Official Condolences on the Death of Joseph Stalin (1953)
THE GOVERNMENT of the United States tenders its official condolences to the Government of the U.S.S.R. on the death of Generalissimo Joseph Stalin, Prime Minister of the Soviet Union.
Statement by the President on the Passing of Fidel Castro
At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.
Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.
Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.
“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.
“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.
“A huge figure of modern history and 20th century socialism” – Corbyn’s tribute to Fidel Castro
“Fidel Castro’s death marks the passing of a huge figure of modern history, national independence and 20th century socialism.
“From building a world class health and education system, to Cuba’s record of international solidarity abroad, Castro’s achievements were many.
“For all his flaws, Castro’s support for Angola played a crucial role in bringing an end to Apartheid in South Africa and he will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.”
Statement by President Juncker on the passing away of Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro was one of the historic figures of the past century and the embodiment of the Cuban Revolution. With the death of Fidel Castro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many. He changed the course of his country and his influence reached far beyond. Fidel Castro remains one of the revolutionary figures of the 20th century. His legacy will be judged by history.
I convey my condolences to the Cuban President Raúl Castro and his family and to the people of Cuba.
President-Elect (sic) Donald J Trump Statement
Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.
While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.
Former Chilean dictator Pinochet dies at age 91 (USA Today, 2006)
The White House on Sunday marked Pinochet’s death by calling his rule a “difficult period” and commending the country for establishing a free society.
“Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile represented one of the most difficult periods in that nation’s history,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. “Our thoughts today are with the victims of his reign and their families. We commend the people of Chile for building a society based on freedom, the rule of law and respect for human rights.”
Fidel Castro was an unwavering champion of racial equality (Ronald Howell, New York Daily News)
The most telling manifestation of Castro’s determination to stand against racism came in the 1980s. That was when Cuba sent 25,000 troops to fight in Angola alongside factions opposing the old apartheid government of South Africa. Keep in mind that the United States had been phony on the topic of racial justice. It took militant protests by American college students to get the United States to finally declare, through the 1986 Anti-Apartheid Act, that it was wrong to operate a country along racial lines, as South Africa was doing.
The South African racial justice hero Nelson Mandela, who was released from prison and went on to become the country’s first black leader, traveled to Cuba in 1991 to personally thank Fidel Castro and the Cuban people for their support in fighting apartheid and colonialism. Through the turning of the last century, Cuba remained a significant presence in Africa, providing medical assistance and trying to strengthen diplomatic bonds.
For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun (New York Times, 2013)
Racism in Cuba has been concealed and reinforced in part because it isn’t talked about. The government hasn’t allowed racial prejudice to be debated or confronted politically or culturally, often pretending instead as though it didn’t exist. Before 1990, black Cubans suffered a paralysis of economic mobility while, paradoxically, the government decreed the end of racism in speeches and publications. To question the extent of racial progress was tantamount to a counterrevolutionary act. This made it almost impossible to point out the obvious: racism is alive and well.
If the 1960s, the first decade after the revolution, signified opportunity for all, the decades that followed demonstrated that not everyone was able to have access to and benefit from those opportunities. It’s true that the 1980s produced a generation of black professionals, like doctors and teachers, but these gains were diminished in the 1990s as blacks were excluded from lucrative sectors like hospitality. Now in the 21st century, it has become all too apparent that the black population is underrepresented at universities and in spheres of economic and political power, and overrepresented in the underground economy, in the criminal sphere and in marginal neighborhoods.
In Havana, Castro’s Death Lays Bare a Generation Gap (New York Times)
With the departure of Cuba’s epic revolutionary in green fatigues, at the age of 90, the residents of Havana have not erupted so much as moved into their own emotional corners. All over this city on Saturday, indifference and relief stood side by side with sorrow and surprise as the conflicts that characterized Fidel Castro in life continued to reverberate after his death.
“He was the only leader I ever knew,” Graciela Martinez, 51, said as she mopped the floors of a cafe near the American Embassy on Saturday morning. She paused, then began to weep, thinking of her father, who fought for the revolution — and of her relatives who had fled to the United States.
“For those who loved him, he was the greatest,” she said of Mr. Castro. “For those who hated him, there was no one worse.”
Cuba, a verdant, struggling country of 11 million people that has been moving slowly toward free-market changes, finds itself again at an international crossroads. Mr. Castro died as Venezuela has pulled back financial support, facing its own political and economic crisis, and the détente engineered under President Obama threatens to be rolled back by President-elect Donald J. Trump.