Castro: From Liberator to Dictator

December 9, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Sami Jamil Jadallah

America, the great democracy, could never find a dictator it did not like; of course, there are always exceptions to the rules, and the exception is Fidel Castro.

Too bad, the man who “liberated” Cuba from the American mafia of gambling, prostitution, and plantation slavery went on to become its new dictator.

No one can deny that Castro did many good things for Cuba. He re-invented its education, making sure every Cuban regardless of age or location is able to have basic education. He did the same thing, introducing a basic health care system that is the envy of many countries around the world, especially developing countries, and he ended the practice of slavery in the sugar plantation.

Of course, Fidel Castro inspired “revolutionary leaders” around the world mainly in Latin and Central America, which for the most part were ruled by the dictatorship that America loved and sponsored. A dictatorship that killed hundreds of thousands, looted the country, putting all the stolen wealth in a safe haven in South Florida. However, his success ended here.

Castro did not loot the country for his own private purpose, and he did not take over plantations or expropriate properties for himself or his families and did not have secret accounts in Zurich or Panama. He looted the country on behalf of the state, with the state becoming the owner of the entire country, ending private ownership. He nationalized anything and everything, keeping the poor, poor and making the rich poor, equality of misery and needs Soviets style.

While he liberated the people of Cuba from Colonial and Neoliberal capitalism, he did not provide his people with the vision, let alone the standards of  “socialist-capitalist” states like Scandinavia where the quality of life is high and where government services are exceptional including quality education and health care, and where productivity is unmatched. He could have done that, but he didn’t. His style of Communism put Cuba in a time machine that stopped in 1962.

While delivering to Cubans the “safety net” all societies must have, he robbed Cubans of the very freedoms they fought for. Freedom of speech, assembly, elected and accountable government. Every right must be processed through Cuba’s Communist Party.

The Cuban community of South Florida is anti-Castro not because of the rights and liberties it lost, but because it lost many of the privileges it had during Batista regime.

Castro is not the only dictator to rule, but he certainly ruled longer than any other dictator. Many dictatorships ruled for generations, exercising the rights to rob and steal, loot and jail, and exile, certainly assassinate and murder, dictatorships like Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Assad (Father and Son) of Syria, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Ali Saleh of Yemen, General Suharto of Indonesia, Noriega of Panama, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Ben Ali of Tunisia and of course Yasser Arafat, a fraud who looted billions and came back only to manage the Israeli Occupation.

All of these dictators were the darlings of either the US or the Soviet Union. No need to mention many of the petit dictators of Africa, the likes of Teodoro Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Jose dos Santos of Angola, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Sani Abacha of Nigeria, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, and of course the infamous Mobutu Sese Seko of the Congo, sponsored by the colonial powers of France and Belgium and the US. Dos Santos was a big ally of the former Soviet Union and an ally of Fidel Castro who sent Cuban troops to fight along his side.

As Castro was an exception to the rule for America, there were two dictatorships that were the exception to the rules of dictatorships, exceptional in so many ways. In that they did not rob, fleece or loot the country and did not create the “personality cult” around them, they built their nation, not destroy it. These exceptions are:

–    General Park Chung-Hee, who ruled South Korea for many years with an iron fist. He did not make the jails overflow with prisoners and dissidents and did not loot the country and deposit its wealth in a Swiss bank account, but he is credited as the father that made South Korea into the industrial power it is today. He ushered the Korean Tiger economy by supporting capital investment in heavy industries such as steel, shipbuilding, electronic and consumers goods through the establishment of an Economic Planning Board, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Finance, all working together to make South Korea an economic tiger it is today. Of course, as a dictator he was assassinated and killed, not because of corruption but because of his heavy handed running of the state. South Korea continued on its path of industrialization irrespective of its political upheaval, but nothing too serious to make South Korea a failed state.

–   Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. This man is truly an exceptional leader and exceptional dictator. When he took the lead to split from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore was a sleepy port town with a major waterway, the gateway to the Orient. In a few short years he made Singapore into a world global power in commerce, finance, and transport. Under his guidance and leadership, Singapore became the third largest foreign exchange market, the third largest finance center, and third largest oil refining and transport hub.

Thanks to this man, Singapore ranked 11 in the UN Human Development Index beating many European countries and is ranked first in Asia in education, health and quality of life, certainly first in personal public safety and quality housing.

More importantly, Singapore is considered the least corrupt country in the world according to Transparency International beating the US and many European countries. The late Mr. Yew is known to have said, “end corruption start at the top” and this is where many countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, certainly in some countries in Europe, failed to understand and do. Singapore is a model society where multi-racialism flourishes, is productive and where “meritocracy” takes its true meaning.

One has to wonder that if Fidel Castro was Singapore’s Yew, what could he have done for Cuba and its people? But then there are dictators and there are dictators. Keeping in mind until the very recent past, Europe has it own dictatorships, the like of General Tito whose death precipitated the break up of the Yugoslav Republic ensuring one of the ugliest civil wars in Modern European history. And of course who could forget General Franco of Spain who handed over the reign to the young Juan Carlos, and the infamous Oliveira Salazar who ruled Portugal with an iron fist jailing and murdering tens of thousands. Keeping in mind, the Spanish Civil War between Royalist and Republicans cost one million lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Sami is a Palestinian-American immigrated to the US while in high school. He was drafted in the US Army during Vietnam War earning the leadership award from the US Sixth Army Non-Commission Officer Academy.

After honorable discharge, Sami enrolled at Indiana University where he was active in student politics, elected class president, student president and chairman of the Indiana Student Association representing students from all colleges and universities in the State of Indiana.

Sami earned his Bachelor Degree (economics and politics), Master of Public and Environmental Affairs and Doctor of Jurisprudence. After a 2 years stint with a major Wall Street law firm Sami took on the job as general counsel of a major international construction company in Saudi Arabia. As an international legal and business consultant, Sami served as owner representative on major projects such as hotels, conservation foundation, defense, and technology.

In the area of public service, Sami was the founding member of the United Palestinian Appeal, a well known not for profit organization serving the needs of Palestinians refugees with over $100 millions in projects and donations serving 16 years as a trustee.

Sami as founding member and executive director of the New Arab Foundation, a US based Not for Profit Tax Exemp, a think tank (with a mission) and management consulting organization, and is working now on the launching of the Arab Peace Crops inspired by President John F Kennedy’s American Peace Corps.

Sami lives in Fairfax, VA and is married to Dr. Alma Abdul-Hadi Jadallah an international expert in mediations and conflict resolution, they have three children all living and working in Washington DC.

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