Tag: Castro

The stupid cult of Russia & the Latin American Idiot

Wednesday, 1 May, 2019

May Day: The comrades are unfurling their red flags and dreaming of revolution. There will be rallies today for expropriation in Berlin and against capitalism in London.

Which reminds us that it was none other than the great George Orwell who said that “Socialism… smells of machine-worship and the stupid cult of Russia.” And it was the same Orwell who brilliantly described the typical Russian commissar as “half gangster, half gramophone”. Which sounds just like Corbyn. But Orwell wasn’t done. “The fact is that Socialism, in the form in which it is now presented, appeals chiefly to unsatisfactory or inhuman types.” Which sounds just like Maduro.

These withering observations have to be placed in context. Orwell was a lifelong democratic socialist and the context in which he made his remarks was the delivery of The Road to Wigan Pier manuscript in 1937. The book had been commissioned by Victor Gollanzc, who ran the Left Book Club, and its 40,000 members regularly received a work that reflected their beliefs. Gollanzc hoped that a work about poverty in the British Midlands would fit the bill. The first half of Orwell’s book depicted the awful conditions in which the coal miners worked and described the sordid nature of their housing. A clear case for socialism, felt Gollanzc. But it was the second half of the book that upset the apple cart.

Orwell stated plainly that the British working class would never take socialism seriously. The notion of a classless society was a delusion, he wrote. Adding insult to injury, he noted that ordinary people could not identify with the Marxist ideologues because they were objectionable cranks, teetotallers and health-food fanatics. He was particularly scathing of those who peppered their sentences with “notwithstandings” and “heretofores” and got excited when discussing dialectical materialism. Gollanzc was shocked and wanted to publish the first part of the book only, but Orwell was a man of principle, not a gramophone, and he stuck to his guns.

Orwell is gone, but all is not lost. The Peruvian thinker Alvaro Vargas Llosa patrols a similar beat and a decade ago, in “The Return of the Idiot,” he wrote: “European journalists like Ignacio Ramonet and some foreign correspondents for outlets such as Le Nouvel Observateur in France, Die Zeit in Germany, and the Washington Post in the United States, are once again propagating absurdities that shape the opinions of millions of readers and sanctify the Latin American Idiot.” Llosa was on target, especially when noting the curious penchant of Western intellectuals to admire thuggish leaders who sprout anti-American slogans and pay lip service to The People. Interestingly, their admiration for these thugs — Castro, Ortega, Chávez, Morales, Correa, Maduro — somehow never leads the same intellectuals to depart the decadent West for the glories of the Workers’ Paradises.

In the 1993 Fall issue of Dissent, Günter Grass, the German winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999, wrote: “Cubans were less likely to notice the absence of liberal rights…[because they gained]… self respect after the revolution.”

Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s reply was perfect: “Reality check: How would you feel, Günter, about trading your bourgeois liberal rights, including the right to publish, for a bit of Cuban dignity?”

Looking at the misery of those parts of South America then in the hands of the “carnivorous” left, Alvaro Vargas Llosa concluded: “Until the Latin American Idiot is confined to the archives — something that will be difficult to achieve while so many condescending spirits in the developed world continue to lend him support — that will not change.”

But it will. As Sam Cooke sang: “It’s been a long time, a long time coming / But I know a change gonna come.”


Christopher Hitchens on the Castro Dynasty

Sunday, 27 November, 2016 1 Comment

“If we cannot yet say that Castro is dead and we cannot decently say ‘long live’ to the new-but-old Castro, we can certainly say that the Castro era is effectively finished and that a uniformed and secretive and highly commercial dictatorship is the final form that it will take.”

So wrote the late, great and greatly-missed Christopher Hitchens in August 2006. The focus of “The Eighteenth Brumaire of the Castro Dynasty” was Raúl Castro’s fatigued take over of the family enterprise: Cuba. “The even more grotesque fact that power has passed from one 79-year-old brother to a ‘younger’ one who is only 75 may have assisted in obscuring the obvious,” noted Hitchens, acidly, and added, “As was once said of Prussia, Cuba is not a country that has an army but an army that has a country.”

As the world waits for the final form of this commercial dictatorship to pass let’s recall what W. C. Fields said: “All roads lead to rum.”

Bacardi rum


Cuba libre!

Saturday, 26 November, 2016 0 Comments

The national cocktail of Cuba tastes best when raising a toast to freedom. But there’s more to it than just cola, rum and lime; it’s all in the way you make that Cuba libre.

Ingredients:

1 part Bacardi Oro rum
2 wedges of lime
2 parts Coca Cola
Ice cubes

How to mix: Fill a long glass with ice. Squeeze and drop the lime wedges into the glass, coating the ice well with the juices. Pour in the Bacardi, top up with chilled Coke and stir gently. Now, say, Cuba libre! And remember: Fidel Castro imprisoned and impoverished his nation. He was one of the most evil men of his time. Sic semper tyrannis.

Cuba libre


Castro’s hipster apologists

Friday, 19 December, 2014 0 Comments

In the Daily Beast, Michael Moynihan names and shames them: “Here is Matt Bradley, Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal: ‘I really hope I can make it to Cuba before McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc.’ And progressive radio host Matt Binder: ‘Booking my Cuba vacation now before there’s a Starbucks, a McDonald’s, and a bank on every block.’ BBC producer Jeane McCallum: ‘May be time for a return to Cuba before McDonalds moves in.’ And Jonathan Eley of the Financial Times: ‘Cuba: visit now before McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks et al move in. It’s a unique place.'”

That’s just a sample. How predictably predictable they are.


JFK and 007

Thursday, 21 November, 2013 0 Comments

In March 1960, Ian Fleming had dinner with John F. Kennedy at the White House. In his book, The Life of Ian Fleming, John Pearson notes: “During the dinner the talk largely concerned itself with the more arcane aspects of American politics and Fleming was attentive but subdued. But with coffee and the entrance of Castro into the conversation he intervened in his most engaging style. Cuba was already high on the headache list of Washington politicians, and another of those what’s to-be-done conversations got underway. Fleming laughed ironically and began to develop the theme that the United States was making altogether too much fuss about Castro — they were building him into a world figure, inflating him instead of deflating him. It would be perfectly simple to apply one or two ideas which would take all the steam out of the Cuban.” Kennedy asked him what would James Bond do about Fidel Castro. Fleming replied, “Ridicule, chiefly.”

In March 1961, Hugh Sidey wrote an article in Life Magazine on JFK’s top ten favourite books designed to show that the president was both well-read and in touch with popular taste. The only work of popular fiction on the list was From Russia With Love. Up until then, Bond had not sold well in the US, but by the end of 1961 Ian Fleming had become the largest-selling thriller writer in America.

“The great trains are going out all over Europe, one by one, but still, three times a week, the Orient Express thunders superbly over the 1,400 miles of glittering steel track between Istanbul and Paris. Under the arc-lights, the long-chassied German locomotive panted quietly with the laboured breath of a dragon dying of asthma. Each heavy breath seemed certain to be the last. Then came another.” Ian Fleming, From Russia With Love

From Russia With Love


Snowden and the Venezuelan gangsters

Thursday, 11 July, 2013 0 Comments

The economy of Venezuela has been ruined by the Hugo Chavez/Nicolas Maduro regime, under the tutelage of the Castro brothers. Detailing their crimes, Gustavo Coronel writes:

“They have stripped the Venezuelan Central Bank of much of its international reserves and Petroleos de Venezuela of its oil income, in order to place the money in a non-transparent parallel fund called FONDEN. According to Economist Pedro Palma this fund has received up to $105 billion from these institutions. The money has been managed very discretionally, with no accountability by four persons: H. Chavez/N. Maduro, Jorge Giordani, Rafaél Ramírez and Nelson Merentes. Much of the money has been utilized for partisan political purposes.”

Into the arms of these thieves and ruffians, Edward Snowden is said to be determined to flee.

When the British traitor Kim Philby fled Beirut in January 1963 for Moscow, the chattering classes praised his heroic defection from the decadent West. On 30 July Soviet officials announced that they had granted him political asylum in the USSR, along with Soviet citizenship. We know how that “paradise” ended.


Hugo Chávez left a legacy of ruin and hatred

Wednesday, 6 March, 2013 2 Comments

The Venezuelan despot, Hugo Chávez, spent much of his time stoking class hatred and abusing his control of the judiciary to persecute and jail his political opponents. He seized millions of hectares of farmland and hundreds of businesses, with little or no compensation. The result was that Venezuela became an even more oil-dependent economy, which instead of the “endogenous development” promised by the so-called Bolivarian Revolution, increasingly relied on imports of the most basic foodstuffs that were once produced domestically. Meanwhile, Chávez, his clan and his corrupt cronies, the Boligarchs, amassed huge fortunes. Without a hint of irony in his tribute, President Michael D Higgins of Ireland said: “President Chavez achieved a great deal during his term in office, particularly in the area of social development and poverty reduction.” Oliver Stone and Sean Penn were said to be equally grief stricken.

Hugo Chávez lavished praise and aid on ideological allies such as Bashar al-Assad, Robert Mugabe and Muammar Gaddafi. The dead despot’s generosity was worth billions each year to the Castro tyranny in Cuba and was vital in helping its economy recover from the depression that followed the collapse of its last patron, the Soviet Union. Subsidies to the autocratic government of Daniel Ortega are estimated to be worth around eight percent of Nicaragua’s GDP. The best obituary for the man’s wretched misrule is provided by Bloomberg: “Chavez the Popular Autocrat Leaves a Legacy of Ruin.”