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FIDEL's Birthday Party - Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit (8/18)

Film:: "Fidel- The Untold Story"
Reading:: by Author "Through The Wall- A Year In Havana"
Song and Laughter:: Raging Grannies

DATE: August 18 TIME: 7pm SHARP!!
PLACE: Live Oak Grange
17th Ave Santa Cruz, Ca
DONATION: $10-15 Hurricane Relief for our sister county Guama, Cuba

Enjoy Birthday Cake while listening to the RAGING GRANNIES singing their original hits "Fidel" and others.

Margot Pepper's will read from her memoir "Through The Wall - A year in Havana"


Revealing the failures and successes of one of the few functioning alternatives to corporate-run government. Her book will be embraced by all who believe another world is possible.

The join us for a walk at Fidel’s side with the film Fidel- The Untold Story -


See him visiting his childhood school, joking with Nelson Mandela, Ted Turner and Muhammad Ali, meeting Elian Gonzalez, and celebrating his birthday with members of the Buena Vista Social Club. Documentary film by Estela Bravo. English.

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Re: FIDEL's Birthday Party--Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit

for more information contact cubastudygroup (at) or call 831-331-5844

"Hats off to the Carnale Tiahui"

On this same website but in another forum carnale and Brown Beret Tiahui gives a very cool, calm, considered, compassionate and restrained response to a contributor identified as "Chicano831" who takes a very negative and critical stance against Che and Fidel in that forum and complains about why young people wave Che flags and wear Che tee shirts when he was such a tyrant (sic). Both of these men generate great passions when discussed, pro and con, and it would have been very easy for brother Tiahui to lose his patience and start yelling and screaming (with capital letters and numerous exclamation points) at "Chicano831". Instead he kept his composure and explained in a few, profound sentences why people admire Che and even Fidel in some cases. I wish to applaud Tiahui and congratulate him on his reserve and to add a few passing comments of my own.

It's important to remember that Che, at least, was never a communist. He never joined any Communist political party and was gone from Cuba when it installed itself there. He despised the russian communists as much as he did the american imperialists. And he refuted the Bolivian communists when he was there because they wanted to take over his 'foco insurrectionale' for their own purposes and he said no. It's speculated though I don't know if it's been proven yet, that the Bolivian Communist Party had a hand in Che's demise there because they worked with the CIA trained, equipped and sometimes led Bolivian Army to capture and kill him.

Che disliked labels-communist, socialist, democrat-and never wanted anyone to pigeonhole him in that way because it might force him into an ideaology that might try to contain and limit his global thinking and what he wanted to do. In the comment by "Chicano831" he says (as if we didn't know this and had to be told) Che was Argentinian, not Chicano, presumably meaning that why should any Chicanitos carry his flag or wear his tee shirt. (which he says makes him sick) In a Mexican-American sense he may have been right. Che wasn't a Chicano.
But he was hispano-latino and Chicanos fall into that group with him. And in anycase, as brother Tiahui said, the admiration for Che doesn't stem from where he was born or what his nationality was or what ethnic grouping he fell into. Che's idealogy had no nationality. He was a citizen of the world and at home in Cuba, Agentina, Bolivia, Angola or anywhere else he chose to rest his beret. His thoughts were international in scope. He wanted to help the down-trodden, the poor and destitute, the colonized, the forgotten whether they were his countrymen or not.
And a desire to do that is not something that's just local or regional or even national in its scope. those are things People can feel and understand everywhere and that's why the man is so admired all over the world and why the tee shirt I have with Che's picture on it was purchased in a tiny, out of the way seaside resort town on the south coast of France where I traveled to in 2003. The man's influence had even touched and reached them and they knew who he was.

"Chicano831" goes on to say that if we want the 'truth' about Che and Fidel we should access Okay,
I did that. It is of course a totally anti-Che website. Nothing objective, two sided or fair about it at all. Just a complete slam and misrepresentation of everything Che stood for and meant to people. My guess is it was probably put together by Cubano exiles in South Florida where the hatred for Che and Fidel is stronger than anywhere else in this country. As an example, they refer to a supposed conversation that took place between Che and his executioners. Che supposedly pleaded for his life and they portray him as a wimp begging for mercy when he says, "I'm worth more to you alive than dead". But as I heard the story told his executioners asked him if they should kill him and he replied...."Kill me if that is your wish but from a propoganda standpoint you could do more with me alive than dead." And he said this in a calm, almost serene and dignified way, not begging and pleading on his knees or anything like that. When Che and Fidel cleaned up the cesspool that was Cuba under Fulgencio Batista, his mafia-controlled government,the prostitution of Cuban women,the uneducated ignorance of its children, the destitution of its sick, the denegration of the men by rich Americans who saw it as their lawless, limitless playground and 'banana republic'--many of those who got their riches confiscated, particularly Cuban collaborators in this maddness, and lost all their goodies that they were reveling in under
Batista and America's millionaires...many of those fled to Florida. It's no wonder the sentiment against Che and Fidel is so virialent there. They want their sugar plantations back. They don't want to overthrow communism. They couldn't care less about what political idealogy governs Cuba. Just as long as they can satisfy their stolen greed. And they know that constantly slamming Cuba as communist will keep the Americans presidents enforcing the embargo and against the country and is leader in their effort to break both enabling them to once again enjoy the profits they had so rudely taken from them in 1960.

Well, I could go on and on but I think the point's been made and maybe someone else will pick up where I've left off. Once again I wish to thank Tiahui whose response to "Chicano831" inspired mine and who I'm afraid was far more restrained than I was. You go, Brown Berets! Viva Tiahui and ReSista and Celia Sanchez- the woman who kept both Che and Fidel going during those harsh days in the Sierra Maestras.

Re: FIDEL's Birthday Party - Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit (8/18)

Very well, put El Gitano. You encapsulate the spirit of Che, may he rest in peace.

I would also like to add that when someone talks about communism like it is inherently evil, that just doesn't make sense. What is the essence of communism but to have things in common? All is for the common good, so to speak. It means that intstead of only thinking about myself, I also consider the needs of my brothers and sisters. When anthropologists examine cultures of the past and the present, this is a predominant pattern of most societies. Indeed, it is the American ideal of the individual first that is so uncommon.

Yes, some governments that have embraced communism have also oppressed their people. This is wrong, but it is not communism that caused this; it is corrupt politicians who did!

I'm a lot like Che. I don't like labels because they oftentimes serve to divide people and decrease our effectiveness and ability to adapt. As a model of communism, I think Fidel's version isn't too bad. I have a lot of respect for him because apparently he is still a man of the people, not hoarding wealth for himself at the expense of his fellow citizens. As politicians go, I think he still has some integrity. How many other leaders can you say that about?

Re: FIDEL's Birthday Party - Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit (8/18)

To Anonymous above- I couldn't agree with you more. In fact if people took the time to read the actual dictionary definition of the word communism instead of waiting for some captalist politician to tell them what it means they'd discover it to be an excellent lifestyle and political philosophy. In fact most races of color-whether they were the Africans, Native Americans, Asians, Polynisians or Aztecs all lived a 'communist' or communal existence to some extent where the wealth of the community was shared equally with all its members irregardless of who farmed it or who caught it or who made it and they did quite well with it until they came into contact with Europeans and their selfish,dog eat dog, I got mine-you get yours, me,me,me kind of culture. And when people started trying to live like europeans and abandoning their shared and considered lifestyle, it began their downfall which is why so many 'third world' countries and peoples are in the deplorable states they're in now. They stopped living in the state of grace that made them great and started trying to live like their colonizers and conquerers. The only problem with communism comes when corrupt and evil men subvert it for their own ends. You can't corrupt and subvert capitalism. It is by its very nature already corrupt and subverted. It requires those two things in order to survive and flourish. And before anyone gives me the 'love it or leave it line' let me just preempt you by saying it's better to work for change from the belly of the beast rather than from its
right hand.

Fidel is probably doing the best that he can with what he has which God knows, thanks to the embargo, isn't very much . But those who hate Castro and want to see him brought down needn't worry. As soon as he passes away I'm sure they'll be a made rush to 'americanize' Cuba again as it was prior to 1960. Turn it into a millionaire's playground, use it as a drug conduit to the US, get its people back into prostitution and street hustling and close all the free schools and free clinics. After all there's no profit to be made in that. And that'll last until another Castro comes along. You see, the funny thing about captialism is that in the end it dooms and consumes itself and actually creates the very thing it claims to hate most. A Fidel Castro.

Re: FIDEL's Birthday Party - Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit (8/18)

>In fact most races of color-whether they
>were the Africans, Native Americans, Asians,
>Polynisians or Aztecs all lived a 'communist'
>or communal existence to some extent where
>the wealth of the community was shared
>equally with all its members... and they did
>quite well with it until they came into
>contact with Europeans

1. There are no "races" of people. Race is a myth -- a social construct without any scientific merit -- which merely serves to perpetuate racism. There are social, ethnic and/or cultural groups of peoples, but NO races.

2. Many peoples around the world, including various peoples of "Europe," lived in communal, egalitarian societies prior to invasion/destruction by expansionist, hierarchical societies.

3. However, various societies around the world became violent, class-stratified, invaders on their own, without any influence from European invaders.

We shouldn't overly idealize the pre-Euro-invasion past as some glorious utopia, nor blame *everything* on Europeans, OK? They didn't invent imperialism and genocide; those had been around for many centuries (millennia?) prior to the rise of any significant European threat. This isn't meant to diminish or justify what European invaders did (genocides and slavery) to many peoples around the world, but is merely a call look honestly at history.

Re: FIDEL's Birthday Party - Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit (8/18)

Race is no myth.

"Probably nothing."

- Jeb Bush, during his losing 1994 bid for Florida Governor, when asked what he would do for black people, quoted by Salon on 10-05-02

Re: FIDEL's Birthday Party - Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit (8/18)

"Quit looking at the symbols. Get out and get a job. Quit shooting each other. Quit having illegitimate babies."

- State Rep. John Graham Altman (R-SC), addressing African-American concerns about the 'symbol' of the Confederate Flag, The New York Times, 01-24-97

Re: FIDEL's Birthday Party - Cuba Hurricane Relief Benefit (8/18)

All I can say to the hagiographers is that Che was far from the hero you make him out to be. He was a human being, so he had faults, a lot of them. For one, he had the bad habit of killing people he disageed with--including unionists and other leftists.

The myth that Che was "at home in the world" is just that, a myth. An excellent book was published fairly recently that reprints some of his diary entries from the Angola egangements. Let me tell you, Che comes off as someone who is frankly, racist. He does not come off as the proletarian brother and friend to all that you seem to believe he was.

Anyway, if you'd like more information on the historical Che--not the saint you've created in your mind--have a look at the pamphlet "Saint Che."

See also:

This is a *left-wing* source that is critical of Fidel and Che.

Herbert Matthews -- foreign correspondent and later a senior editor of the New York Times, now retired -- was granted his sensational interview with Fidel Castro in the Sierra Maestra on February 17, 1957. Matthews has since then been welcomed to Cuba and granted interviews with Castro and other leaders. His attitude towards the Cuban Revolution is extremely positive. Yet even he admits that the economy was "criminally mismanagemed" by Fidel and Co. and Matthews gives examples:

... the Central Planning Board (Jucesplan) was created to control the economy as a whole but it did little of practical value ... Fidel, Che, and a few others had the real authority which they failed to coordinate or use systematically ... There was a decline in the national income ... too many cattle were slaughtered in 1961, bringing severe shortages from 1962 onwards ... rationing of foodstuffs was instituted in the summer of 1961 ... somthing had gone seriously wrong with the economy. Even in World War II, there was no need for rationing ... Che Guevara, the Minister of Industry, reported many errors ... much of what they were planning was impossible. Naturally a huge bureaucracy evolved ... (pgs. 167-169)

Regimenting Education

In contrast to the obscurantism imposed by Spain during centuries of despotism, Cuba's public education system [during the first 25 years of the Republic] provided for every child--with exemplary vigor and dedication--an ample, well-rounded, progressive education, free from all political and religious domination. To provide 300,000 children with free quality education--including food and clothing for poor children--in a country which, at that time, numbered only 1,500,000 people, was indeed a stupendous achievement.

During the Machado dictatorship [1925-33] both the quality and availability of public education declined. This was due to the dependence of jobs on political connections, the poorly trained teachers, crowded, unhealthy school buildings, the scarcity of educational equipment, and the location of school buildings far from poor neighborhoods most in need of good schools. Eventually, widespread and monumental administrative corruption, and other failures of the state, as well as rapid population growth, brought about the collapse of public education. This led to a proliferation of all kinds of parochial schools--Masonic, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, etc.

Castro's much vaunted anti-illiteracy campaign was used to glorify his regime and to indoctrinate children, teenagers and adults with adoration of the state and the "cult of personality" a la Stalin.

The system was designated to militarize the mentality of children. For example, in teaching the alphabet, the letter "F" was introduced with "el Fusil (the gun) de Fidel Fue (was) a la Sierra." The letter "R" was treated thus: "Raul el faRo" (Raul Castro, beacon, bearer of light). "CH" was the pretext for constructing the following phrase: "Los MuCHaCHos y muCHaCHas quieren muCHo al CHe" [The boys and girls like Che Guevara very much]. Similar techniques have been used in teaching other subjects. Thus, in geography, photographs of Castro and his companions were placed on maps to indicate the Sierra Maestra.

History was, and is, taught from the Marxist point of view. Before the establishment of the "Revolutionary government," Cuban parents had something to say about the kind of education their children got. Now they must accept the curriculum imposed by the state without protest. Anyone venturing even the slightest disagreement is immediately denounced as a "counter-revolutionaty agent of imperialism" and treated accordingly.

Teachers are obliged to faithfully follow the official curriculum, methods, and policies meticulously worked out by the "orientators," whose indoctrination sessions they must attend. To further insure enforcement of the rules, every educational center is under the constant surveillance of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, which in this case serves as a sort of academic police, made up of teacher and student stool-pigeons, Who faithfully obey the orders of the government.

The technical schools, the secondary schools, trade and professional schools, and the universities are subjected to the same procedures. Autonomy of the university--won after years of struggle and immense sacrifice, and of which Cuban students were justly proud--has been totally destroyed. The University of Havana is ruled by the arbitrarily imposed Junta de Gobierno [Administrative Council], whose membership can be revoked each year in order to guarantee the "revolutionary fidelity of the faculty."

The fake "university reform" was put into effect by intimidation and violence. The old Stalinist and Batistiano sycophants, Juan Marinello and Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, fill the most important posts in the University with their hand-picked appointees. The Federacion Estudantil Universitaria [F.E.U.--Federation of University Students] that fought so valiantly for freedom and autonomy against all oppressive governments has lost its liberty. The students no longer have the right to elect their own officers. From his office in the Ministry of the Armed Forces, Raul Castro dictates who shall be the president of the student organization--in flagrant violation of all the rules and regulations of the F.E.U. [For details see "How the Communists Took Over the University of Havana," below.]

An emphasis on the monstrous intervention of the state in all academic activities may appear exaggerated to readers not acquainted with the bitter reality of the Cuban tragedy; but it is a truly serious situation. It is most distressing for a man like myself, nearly 50 years of age, to be led around by a boy of 12, uniformed and shouldering a small size rifle of Czechoslovakian make. It is shocking to see boys barely 15 years of age standing guard, guns in hand, in front of public buildings. It is disgraceful to contemplate teenagers parading through streets and along highways all over Cuba, marching in step and singing martial hymns full of hate and venom...


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