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Fidel Castro Resigns 728

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-an-era dept.
Smordnys s'regrepsA writes "Fidel Castro, the leader of the island nation of Cuba has declined the possibility of keeping his seat as President, after the February 24th National Assembly election. "I neither will aspire to nor will I accept — I repeat — I neither will aspire to nor will I accept, the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief," Castro wrote almost 19 months after a severe illness caused him to hand power temporarily to his brother Raul."
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Fidel Castro Resigns

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  • nothing to see here (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:32AM (#22474476)
    As someone who has actually lived in Cuba for more than a year, I thought I should inform some of you that, while it is of some historical importance, this news changes very little politically. His brother Raul is as much of a communist as Fidel. It is highly unlikely that any Cuban policies will change due to this development. I think what we are all waiting for is for both Fidel and Raul to actually die. When that happens there is at least some possibility of real change. And since Bush didn't change his position wrt cuba when Fidel 'temporarily' stepped down due to illness I doubt if he will do so now that the change has been made permanent.
  • Re:Yawn... (Score:3, Informative)

    by DurendalMac (736637) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:33AM (#22474484)
    Political prisoners: Guantanamo is inexcusable, but I'd hardly call those guys political prisoners, especially not the kind that Castro locks up. Press: And you can choose sources outside of Murdoch. Imagine that! Criticism of the State: Are you serious? Yeah, look at all those presidential candidates getting lynched! Look at most of the country getting lynched! You're an imbecile. The government will not doing anything other than call you names if you criticize Iraq. That's all within the realm of free speech. Quit your utterly baseless whining. Other political parties: Yeah, two parties sucks, but guess what? There is no legal restriction to two parties. Anyone can run. If the people choose to vote for two parties, then that's what they do. It's still a republic (we're not a democracy), so quit bitching. Free elections: Your previous post did nothing to address that. Idiot. I don't know why I bothered responding to an AC, but this kind of ignorant crap just pisses me off. Things aren't so hot in the US right now, but it's far, FAR better than Cuba.
  • Re:Thank God (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:35AM (#22474512)

    Remind me again... why is the U.S. mad at them? France has pulled worse shitball stunts against you than Cuba has.
    They nationalized property without compensating international businesses. This earned them the initial embargo. Then they became Soviet puppets. This made it permanent. And when they refused to change when Carter dropped the embargo they lost the sympathy of future administrations that restored it. Various acts like supporting leftist guerrillas or shooting down Cessnas with MiGs continued to earn them international contempt.

    I'm not arguing for the embargo, but I just think it is wise not to paint Cuba as some super free haven that has the best health-care and education in the world. It is not as bad as the neo-cons paint it nor is it as good as the far left paints it. Hopefully Castro's resignation will spark a multi-party democracy.
  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:38AM (#22474554)
    No, that's very much against federal law. It's stupid as can be because it's a unilateral embargo that has little effect in the real world but not keeping it up would have been political suicide due to all the expats in southern Florida. As an individual you are unlikely to get in much trouble, but for example a coworker of mine can't risk it, she's a greencard holder from Canada who might be thrown in jail upon returning if it was found out she had been in Cuba and would almost assuredly have her greencard revoked.
  • Re:Idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrSteveSD (801820) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:40AM (#22474574)
    Exactly. When Castro met up with Che Guevara after the Guatemalan government was ousted, he wanted to know what happened. He couldn't believe that such a popular socialist (and democratic) government was overthrown. Guevara told him that the US had infiltrated the press and the unions and was spreading propaganda and stirring up trouble (which it was). Not surprisingly when Castro ousted the US-backed dictator Batista, he cracked down on the press and unions for fear of US infiltration. So the US taught an unfortunate lesson. i.e. If you have a government we don't like, and you have an open society, we will use that openness to attack and undermine your government.

    Now I don't approve of the Castro dictatorship, even though it is better than the US-backed Batista dictatorship. However, I acknowledge how difficult it would have been to have a socialist democracy in Cuba without the US subverting the whole thing very quickly. They almost succeeded quite recently in Venezuela during the failed coup in 2002 and they are also supporting opposition groups in Bolivia right now. The governments in Central and South America are really quite sick of the US trying to control them all of the time and there is a real backlash taking place.
  • Re:So does this mean (Score:5, Informative)

    by 1729 (581437) <slashdot1729@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:45AM (#22474654)

    So does this mean that we can get our fancy cigars again?

    Ironically, the end of the embargo will probably make it harder for Americans to get genuine Habanos, at least for a while. As of now, it isn't difficult to have Cubans cigars delivered to the USA from an authorized Habanos SA [habanos.com] retailer. However, the demand for Cuban cigars already exceeds the supply (unless you're interested in the infamous Glass Top Cohibas [cigaraficionado.com]), so the influx of Americans interested in trying these forbidden cigars will result in shortages around the world. The newly-legal cigars will also be met by large numbers of fakes [www.cbc.ca], making it even more difficult to get the real thing.
  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:46AM (#22474668) Homepage

    Can't you legally visit Cuba by flying through Mexico? I have friends who have done this.


    No, it's illegal for an American to go under any circumstances (other than "educational" trips and a few exceptions like that), though it is rarely enforced. So yes, plenty of people go through another country, but you can't tell the guys at customs and immigration you were there on your return or you may find yourself getting fined.
  • Re:Cool (Score:2, Informative)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:47AM (#22474702) Journal
    Does this mean the expat's in Miami will finally shut up

    The expat's what? And which expat are you referring to?

    Or do you simply not know when and wnen not to use an apostrophe [angryflower.com]? Go see Bob, he'll fix you [uncyclopedia.org] up.

    -mcgrew

    (Eye muss bee knew hear?)
  • by Scarblac (122480) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:55AM (#22474790) Homepage
    At the time of the revolution, a lot of American-owned property was nationalized.
  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by GiMP (10923) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @10:25AM (#22475098)
    You're not allowed to go to Cuba, but many do regardless. You're also not allowed to spend money while there, iirc.

    Something I found funny last year... Poland, as a former communist nation has enjoyed tourism to Cuba for decades. It is a popular vacation spot. Hunting for an exotic vacation, we visited several travel agencies, and kept getting pushed deal to go to Cuba.. it was quite shocking for them to hear that as US Citizens we weren't allowed to go there. Remember, we're quite still allowed to go to all kinds of other states, including but not limited to Russia, Belarus, Iran, and China.
  • Re:Cool (Score:4, Informative)

    by kaos07 (1113443) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @10:26AM (#22475110)

    Er, no.

    The Cubans who migrated to Florida are absolutely nothing like the Kurds, Palestinians or Albanians. The latter were all either invaded, occupied or attacked by an external force and currently live under occupation. The Cubans who fled after the revolution were by and large supporters of the corrupt Batista Government, wealthy and couldn't handle the idea of a socialist Cuba so they ran away to the United States where they could indulge in capitalism to their hearts content.

    They, unlike the Kurds or Palestinians, don't face constant military harassment, shellings, occupations, interventions, assassinations or kidnappings. They relax in their condo's and bitch about how bad Cuba has gone while sipping on mojito's.

  • Re:Ironic statement (Score:4, Informative)

    by Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @10:32AM (#22475188) Homepage
    Yours is one interpretation.

    That link also points out that Unita were allied with (apartheid) South Africa, also being financed by the US under Reagan and Bush. S Africa's support ended when Nelson Mandela was elected. At one point the MPLA offered free, supervised elections, when Unita lost them they started fighting again. The war finally ended when Unita's leader Joseph Savimbi [blogspot.com] died and Unita fell apart. Estimates of the numbers killed vary from 500 000 to 1 500 000, basically to satisfy Savimbi's ego.

    As African governments go, the MPLA are reasonable.
  • Re:Thank God (Score:5, Informative)

    by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:09AM (#22475602)
    They nationalized property without compensating international businesses.

    Hey now. Batista and those international businesses (US mafia) were no saints. Most of those companies were run by the Mob and Batista took bribes all the time when it came to business practices while squandering the Cuban people's money he collected through taxes and the state lottery.

    Yeah, Castro was no saint either, but the amount of corruption and totalitarianism by Batista and his cohorts is almost the same. (Heck Batista overthrew elections several times).

    Had the US simply accepted Castro and opened relations with him as a legitimate government he would not have turned to the Soviets for aid. Remember... The world almost went nuclear over the fact we wouldn't just acknowledge that we could work together or at least stop Batista while we had a chance when he over threw the elections and installed a dictatorship.
  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:23AM (#22475762) Homepage
    No, if you ask they don't stamp a US Passport. It's the same as in Israel, because other middle eastern countries won't admit someone with a stamp from Israel, if you ask they'll just stamp a temporary page for you that you can get rid of after you leave.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:35AM (#22475950)
    No evidence of limb chopping to a casual search.
    Lots of executions but mainly during the first 15 years of his rule. Since then it seems to mostly be arbitrary prison terms and allowing the prisoners to be abused (physically and sexually). However, this also happens in American Prisons and America incarcerates its own citizens at a higher rate- we just make everything illegal so we do not have to use bogus crimes like "insulting the president" to put someone away for seven years. OTH, you better not say anything mildly threatening or your fate will be similar. Of course, America has become a lot more of a fascist dictatorship than it was in 1960. And, of course, any good discussion needs to point out that Cuba was a dictatorship and 3/4 of it's property was not owned by its own citizens (conditions ripe for revolution by *someone* and a lot of revolutions were occuring- castro was just the successful one).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidel_Castro#Human_rights_record [wikipedia.org]

    Human rights record

            Main article: Human rights in Cuba

    Thousands of political opponents to the Castro regime have been killed, primarily during the first decade of his leadership.[135][136] Some Cubans labeled "counterrevolutionaries", "fascists", or "CIA operatives" were also imprisoned in poor conditions without trial.[137][138] Military Units to Aid Production, or UMAPs, were labor camps established in 1965 to confine "social deviants" including homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses to work "counter-revolutionary" influences out of certain segments of the population.[139] The camps were closed in 1967 in response to international outcries.[140] Professor Marifeli Pérez Stable, a Cuban immigrant and former Castro supporter has said that "There were thousands of executions, forty, fifty thousand political prisoners. The treatment of political prisoners, with what we today know about human rights and the international norms governing human rights ... it is legitimate to raise questions about possible crimes against humanity in Cuba."[141]

    Castro acknowledges that Cuba holds political prisoners, but argues that Cuba is justified because these prisoners are not jailed because of their political beliefs, but have been convicted of "counter-revolutionary" crimes, including bombings. Castro portrays opposition to the Cuban government as illegitimate, and the result of an ongoing conspiracy fostered by Cuban exiles with ties to the United States or the CIA. .[142]

    http://www.hrw.org/wr2k2/americas5.html [hrw.org]
  • Re:Thank God (Score:4, Informative)

    by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:28PM (#22476770) Homepage
    I wrote a paper for an upper-level poly sci class that was in part about Castro. I came to the conclusion that he wasn't a Marxist, but was forced to ally himself with either the Soviets or the Americans. He really didn't like the Soviets any more than he liked us, but the Bay of Pigs shot down him allying with us.
  • by pnewhook (788591) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:29PM (#22476790)

    And don't forget that before Castro's revolution, Cuba was ruled by Batista - a dictator propped up by the US government. Batista killed up to 20000 people, mostly political prisoners and many were tortured.

    Batista staged a military coup when it was clear he was going to lose an election. Casto was leader of one of the opposition parties and was jailed as a result. So gee - I wonder why Castro was a bit pissed at the US?

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:07PM (#22477416)

    None of the places where you would need a resident's card to get into,
    It is painfully obvious you have never been to the island. You don't have the slightest fucking clue what you are talking about. There is no such 'resident' card and no such restricted areas. I'm not sure there is anything that could be called a 'slum' in Cuba either. The nice/rich areas like Miramar and (to a lesser extent) parts of Vedado are the exception. Otherwise most of the housing in Cuba is pretty similar.

    I'm not even going to respond to the rest of your post. You are so far beyond clueless I cannot believe you recieved a +5 moderation. I don't think there is even one sentence in your entire post that is not completely wrong. Just a heads up to anyone reading that. I lived there for 14 months. I know what I am talking about and every single statement that applekid has made is factually incorrect. He knows absolutely nothing about the place. When you don't know anything about a topic how about it if you just STFU instead of spreading misinformation. Try talking about something about which you actually have a clue.
  • Re:Castro's bum rap (Score:3, Informative)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:29PM (#22477762)
    I hate to break this to you, but that is a myth. All of the medical care I have seen there is about what you would expect from a third world country. Neither much better nor much worse. Actually, with the possible exception of one or two hospitals in Havana, particularly Cira Garcia [cirag.cu], which very few Cubans could ever afford, I would rate health care there as being at a somewhat lower level than most of the third world countries I have traveled to. Certainly it could never hope to compare to countries like Colombia or Mexico or Argentina or Thailand. If there are any foreigners traveling to Cuba for medical care they are very, very stupid. And indeed I have never met any myself.
  • by Steve Hamlin (29353) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:01PM (#22478204) Homepage

    Presented: a contra-view to your assertion that because no US citizens are being held at Guantanamo, there are no political prisoners there.

    Can you please provide a reference for "As political prisoners are invariably citizens of the detaining state" ?

    Because I can't find anything, in dictionaries or Wikipedia. Political prisoners are those who (someone claims) are imprisoned for their political views. The term was used a lot to refer to Soviet dissidents (meeting your definition). However, it is often currently used to refer to those who are imprisoned for violence against a government that they were fighting against. In that case, they are usually NOT citizens of the detaining state. Their view that is that they were legitimately resisting a foreign government, and are thus are prisoners of politics, not of crime.

    Another description of Political prisoner [wikipedia.org] from Wikipedia: "A political prisoner can also be someone that has been denied bail unfairly, denied parole when it would reasonably have been given to a prisoner charged with a comparable crime, or special powers may be invoked by the judiciary. Particularly in this latter situation, whether an individual is regarded as a political prisoner may depend upon subjective political perspective or interpretation of the evidence."

    I would think that for a significant number of observers, the people in Guantanamo meet this definition. Disregarding the ultimate factual actions of the detainees, a lot of people believe that the people in Guantanamo are being held without due process of law, outside of an independent review by a court of competent jurisdiction. Based on decisions made by a government for seemingly political ends, as opposed to judicial or criminal needs.

    Not that they didn't commit some real crime. But they are currently prisoners 7 years later because of politics, not because they've been convicted of anything. How many enemy combatants have been tried by a reasonably independent tribunal 7 years after being detained? (CSRTs don't count) Convicted?

    How long can a state keep a non-citizen locked up without a conviction, or even a trial, before they are considered political prisoners?

    I should reply with the exact counter-argument, but then I'd be back in law school arguing both sides.

  • Re:Property (Score:4, Informative)

    by pnewhook (788591) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:40PM (#22478792)

    Sorry 'assassinated' was probably too strong a word - should have been 'illegally overthrown'.

    In 1953 the US government helped overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran, setting up the previous pro-American monarch the Shaw. He was then eventually overthrown in 1979 and you get the middle-east mess you get now with religious nutbars ruling the country.

    How about 1989 when the CIA invaded panama to overthrow Noriega who dictator of Panama and on the CIA payroll since the early 70's. The CIA backing likely helped his rise to power and his defacto takeover of the Panamanian government.

    And what about Regan funding the anti-government Contras in Nicaragua, funding it through drug trade and illegal weapons deals with Iran?

    Lets not forget the funding and training of the anti-government Mujahideen forces in Afghanistan (now the Taliban) against the Soviet government.

    Basically point to any trouble spot today and you can find US meddling in the recent past.

  • Re:Property (Score:3, Informative)

    by pnewhook (788591) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:44PM (#22478846)

    Read my post above then recomment. All the US 'lesser sins' are in the past 50 years and have really made a mess of world politics. And now your country is near bankrupt trying to fund multiple wars with they started and are responsible for! Nice going.

  • Re:Property (Score:2, Informative)

    by wanderingknight (1103573) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:52PM (#22478974)
    To add to the GP's point, the US was extremely supportive of the military dictatorships that ruled over South America in the 60's and 70's. A great deal of the South American countries' current economic problems have to do with the debts contracted by the military governments who, with support from the IMF, literally sold the country away to their big international corporate friends. Remember--the IMF had swore under the Washington Treaty never to lend any money to countries under a non-democratic regime, since evidently it was hard to guarantee the use of the money in favor of the people of those countries... but they did it anyways. The money ended up in the military governors & friends' pockets, and the debt is ours to pay.

    Thank you, US.
  • Re:Property (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnuman99 (746007) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:22PM (#22479498)
    This is not about being a policeman or not. USA is actually a policeman of the world in many ways, and that's why things are the way they are. I think more stable, but then whatever.

    *but* US should say out of Cuban politics for *many* reasons that have nothing to do with policeman of the world.

      1. Cold War is over
      2. Communism is not a "threat" - it is a political/economic system that doesn't work
      3. Cuba's communism is not as bad as many gov'ts that US has put in place because the countries in question had *democratically* *elected* socialist governments. Peru is an example. Panama. Nicaragua. The perpetual war in Colombia largely because of the "no talk with FARC" bullshit (and now FARC is very radicalized because of that policy over the last few decades).
      4. China? China's communism and nationalism is a much larger threat than Cuba ever was
      5. Don't bring up the "Cuban Missile Crises" - was it OK for US to put missiles in Turkey on USSR border first? Does US really keep grudges for half a century?
      6. Batista was a corrupt ass and US in fifties were bunch of racists - Cuba's revolution was the natural outcome of US's corrupt influence there at the time.
      7. Castro wasn't a commie from the get go - US stance to support Batista during the revolt and even after it alienated Castro and USSR took the opportunity.
      8. Iraq? - lesson to stay out of internal affairs of other countries
      9. Priorities?? see Darfur/Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Zionist/Palestine insanity, China, Global Warming, scientific research, space, etc. All more important than Cuba *ever* was.
  • Re:Property (Score:3, Informative)

    by Watson Ladd (955755) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @07:24PM (#22482672)
    Brothers to the Rescue violated Cuban airspace. Havana had intelligence indicating a possible military operation. They fucked up, but understandably so. It's not like the US would never fire on a civilian plane [findarticles.com].
  • Re:Thank God (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:12PM (#22483590)
    I get that we may have wanted it one point, but why would we want it now?

    Great cropland for tobacco and sugar, excellent launching point for anyone attacking the US, fantastic vacation property for politicians, and large recently discovered oil reserves. Cuba has all kinds of things that would appeal to the US.

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