Home » Remembrance » Love Him or Hate Him, Fidel Castro Had a Huge Impact on the World

Love Him or Hate Him, Fidel Castro Had a Huge Impact on the World

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The Cuban Revolution, 1959

The passing of Fidel Castro is being mourned by some and celebrated by others, but one thing that can’t be denied, even by his detractors, is that the Cuban leader had a major impact on the world.

The Cuban Missile Crisis and the alliance Castro forged with Russia have perhaps been cited more so than anything else in the media obits published today. Much less attention is being given to the Cuban health care system that became a model for the world to emulate, although the New York Times does touch on it briefly.

“What a rich experience we have had, to live the two periods of Cuba–capitalism and socialism,” said Concepcion Garcia, a 55-year-old woman  in Havana. The report continues:

She removed her glasses and pointed at her eyes.

“I have the revolution and Fidel to thank for this cataract surgery,” she said, adding that she would not have been able to afford the procedure without Cuba’s socialized medical care. It did not cost her a cent, she said.

“He put Cuba on the map,” Ms. Garcia added, “and the world has recognized that.”

Her neighbor Josue Carmon Arramo, 57, chimed in: “His life may be over, but his work will live on.”

“This story will not die, because we are followers of his ideas of nationalism and solidarity of the Cuban people,” he said. “That’s who we are.”

Back in the 1990s when I was doing work for a radio station in California, I frequented the Cuban website Granma, which posted commentaries by Castro on various issues. In addition to the US-imposed economic blockade, the Cuban president often addressed issues in the wider world at large, including the conflict between Palestine and Israel–and he was a vocal, outspoken supporter of the Palestinians.

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Yasser Arafat on visit to Cuba in 1974

Cuba extended recognition to the PLO when it was founded in 1964, and Yasser Arafat made several trips to Cuba, where he was welcomed as a legitimate head of state.

“The Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence,” said Mansour Tahboub, former acting director of the Arafat Foundation.

In those days revolutionary movements were breaking out in many other parts of the world as well, particularly in Africa. This included Libya…


Castro with Muammar Gaddafi

South Africa…


With Nelson Mandela

And Angola, where Cuba sent 25,000 troops in 1975 to back the Peoples Movement for the Liberation of Angola. The MPLA succeeded in overthrowing Portuguese rule in Angola. Most of us think of “regime change” as something done by the US, but Cuba did it too. The 1970s basically brought about the end of colonialist rule in much of Africa, and many of the revolutionary movements supported by Cuba ended up overthrowing regimes backed by the US–which probably had a lot to do with why the US so obstinately and belligerently maintained its economic embargo over Cuba for as long as it did, this in the face of overwhelming support for Cuba shown by much of the rest of the world.

In fact, it got to be something of an annual theater of the absurd at the United Nations, where every year, going back to 1991, the General Assembly would vote on a resolution calling for an end to the US embargo. Year after year the countries of the world, by a lopsided majority, voted in favor of the measure, with the US and Israel often casting the lone votes against.

Although it’s just speculation on my part, Cuba’s success at regime change may well have been the inspiration for the Oded Yinon plan, which was adopted by Israel in 1982. The timing, at any rate, would seem to be about right.

The US managed to assassinate Castro’s fellow revolutionary, Che Guevara, in 1967, but they were never able to assassinate Castro himself despite numerous efforts (some say as many as 600 attempts ) . This is an accomplishment in its own right.

Whether you love him or hate him, what can’t be denied is that Fidel Castro profoundly shaped the world we live in.

7 thoughts on “Love Him or Hate Him, Fidel Castro Had a Huge Impact on the World

  1. As I recall, the 1970s was the decade of most frequent plane hijackings, and it was almost routine to expect demands that the aircraft be flown to Cuba!
    Yes, Castro and his small Caribbean island had a totally disproportionate impact on world affairs.
    RIP – the old villain.

  2. You are absolutely right, Bernard. Cuba was indeed a favorite destination for plane hijackers for a long while, though I think towards the end they stopped granting the hijackers assylum and routinely allowed the US to come and retrieve the stolen planes. On the other hand, former Black Panther Assata Shakur remains in Cuba to this day living under political assylum. In fact, I seem to recall reading a while back, when negotiations between Cuba and the Obama administration were first getting under way, that Shakur’s status had come up, with the Cubans insisting firmly that they would not turn her over.

  3. Let’s compare Castro to the USA. How many countries did Cuba tell lies about in the MSM in order to bomb that nation to bits?

    Was Castro involved in the Israeli masterminded 9/11 False Flag, which has gutted our Bill of Rights and the excuse to murder millions was granted to the liars?

    How many stock market swindles where millions of Americans lost trillions of wealth was Castro involved in?

    Does Cuba have a powerful central bank that gives away trillions to the same ones who pulled off those swindles, keeping them afloat to loot another day?

    Did the KKK have a Cuban affiliate.?

    Does Cuba have a weather changing HAARP facility on their island?

    Do they have an NSA that illegally listens to millions of calls and read millions of texts each day?

    I don’t know enough about Castro to make a judgement, but who’s the real SOB here?

  4. If Castro had been a corrupt, petty dictator, Cuba would have been lauded by the US as a model of “democracy” and there never would have been an embargo.

  5. The one thing often not often mentioned about Fidel Castro is that he was a Nationalist and only ever allied himself and the reveloution to communism is when he was rejected by Washington.Cuba was under the rule of US backed junta that also was cahoots with the Italian American mafia,the US influenced brought corruption and US style racial segregation, Fidel Castro did away with all of that,the movie the “God father”, truthfully showed the type of people who ran Cuba ,the kind of people who turned Cuba into a nation of bordellos and Casinos, all that ended with the arrival of Castro.I believe communism is floored ideology and I’m glad it failed but Castro and Guevara did influence the world by showing the yoke of a powerful empire can be fought and freedom won which inspired all of Latin America, south east Asia and Africa that they too can fight tyranny.p.s. Castro was No saint but just compare Cuba to the narco and facism states many Latin American countries are only just finding a way out of,Castro never lined people up in sports stadiums and machine gunned dessenters like Pinochet or have people beheaded like the Mexican drug cartels do,plus No drugs are flooding into the US from Cuba like it does from many a Latin American country,for all Castro’s faults he was Cuban and Cuba’s destiny was decided by Cubans and Not foriegn entities, Cuba is a sovereign state, and we can only look to Syria now to see how important Sovereignty IS..

  6. Despite the US presence on Cuba (Guantanamo), Castro managed to keep the rest of the island free and independent of US control. It kind of gives you a sense of awe thinking about the fact that one man was able to do that.

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