by Luis Vega

Many countries are often puppets of the United States and do things to maintain import, and export agreements and a constant flow of capital into their impoverished countries. Contemporary leaders who have gone against the grain in maintaining close ties with the United States have often been ridiculed and subjected to harsh repercussion by the United States. The best example is Fidel Castro, president of Cuba, who has survived over 600 assassination attempts, 10 United States presidents, and a trade embargo that halts the economic progression needed to help lift Cuba out of poverty. So the question is, is Fidel Castro the man that should be feared and treated the way that he is by the United States?

Communist Cuba
As the contemporary leader of Cuba for the past forty-six years Castro has overcome some amazing feats. The communist government that is so often put in a negative light by Americans is the type of government that Castro has implemented. The masses believe in him, and the United States hates him. Why? Castro managed to reach his audience mainly by television. During these times he was able to instruct them. At times Castro confessed to them the problems and difficulties he as their leader has confronted. He visited even the most desolate areas to make himself available to the population. With the relationship that Castro developed with the people of Cuba he managed to remain popular amongst them. He has been successful at distinguishing himself as a selfless leader that personally took charge of exile forces at the Bay of Pigs, and participating in the annual cutting of sugarcane along with other government officials in Cuba.

At a time when the United States was fighting a war with a relentless enemy the North Vietnamese, and constantly on the brink of war with the Soviet Union, Cuba and Fidel Castro were the last things they thought they would have to worry about in Latin America. All the signs pointed to Castro taking over Cuba and the Revolutionary War of 1959 succeeding against Batista, then leader of Cuba, and ultimately the United States. Being that the United States was involved in other endeavors at the time Castro wasn’t really taken that seriously. On top of everything else the United States has pride, and usually gets involved in situations when it is either too late or past the point of no return. After Castro defeated Batista, and his military there is no way that the United States thought when they sent men in at the Bay of Pigs that they would be defeated in the fashion that they were.

Hate & Respect
I will tell you why you are both forced to hate and respect the man at the same time. It is because the relationship with Cuba and the United States has been uneasy since the Cuban Revolution of 1959. And although there is no way to gage the nation’s approval rating of Castro he still remains popular among the peasant farm class and among the afro-Cuban class after forty-six years in power. “Since becoming the leader of Cuba, one of Castro’s main objectives has been to undermine U.S. power and prestige in the world. His support of anti-American guerrillas and terrorists in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s, his military involvement with and support for anti-American regimes and groups in Africa and the Middle East in the 1970s and 1980s, and his constant denunciations of “U.S. imperialism,” “capitalism,” and “neo-liberalism” in international organizations and forums attest to his determination and consistency.” (Suchlicki, 1958-2003 Fidel Castro on the United States).

We are taught at a very young age that communism is a horrible way to run government, and although this may be true Castro has made his government work with literally no help from the United States, for the past forty-six years. He provides hope and promise in a way that promotes nationalism even though you may not be Cuban or even the Latin American/Caribbean part of the world. He words stay with you, as does his fight and determination to do away with imperialism and capitalism. In the way we were brought up as Americans capitalism is all we know and it has been proven that planned economies never worked and despite all this you still listen to what the man has to say.

Just answer a few questions about democracy and the United States. Was the United state forced to impose the embargo on Cuba because they had suffered an embarrassing lose at the Bay of Pigs? Was it because the United States did not take Castro as seriously as they should have? During the Revolutionary War of 1959 the United States gave Batista no backing because Castro was not thought of as a leader but as a self proclaimed militant planning another unsuccessful coup on the existing government. And when Batista gave up and left Cuba the United States still did not view him as a leader. The worst part about the United States not taking him seriously is when he announced that he was communist and was allying with the Soviet Union. This is when things got serious for Castro and the United States.

Ties that Unbind
Ties between the two nations would be severed until this very day because of the particular form of government that he chose to follow. Even with the fall of the Soviet Union, Castro and the United States have still not managed to establish ties together. Relationships between the United States and the former Soviet Union have been able to work out for the better of the two nations to a certain extent. So why haven’t they worked out for Cuba and the United States. Although no real answers can be presented at this time, only speculation can be offered. Castro has stuck to his guns against the United States, capitalism, and imperialism. He has not budged one bit when it comes to establishing relations with the United States. Even though the theory of “superegos” seems frivolous they are existent when it comes to the large superpower of the United States, and the small insignificant nation of Cuba.

Whose ego and pride is bigger? It can be argued that Castro’s ego and pride is the bigger of the two nations because his country has been in poverty and on the brink of starvation for such a long time that most leaders would have broke down and taken whatever the United States had to offer. The United States has not cared to make nice with Castro even though he has established diplomatic relations with just about every nation in the world except the United States. Now compare Cuba to the United States, there is really no match so why is Castro both feared and respected at the same time?