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57 years of the House of Castro

January 2016. Just three weeks after the ascent of “the revolution” to power in Cuba, Time magazine ran a cover story on Fidel Castro. Titled “The Vengeful Visionary,” It questioned how to reconcile the mass executions taking place all over the country with Castro´s promises (“vision”) to restore rule of law and free elections.
“The executioner’s rifle cracked across Cuba last week, and around the world voices hopefully cheering for a new democracy fell still. The men who had just won a popular revolution for old ideals —for democracy, justice and honest government— themselves picked up the arrogant tools of dictatorship. … The constitution, a humanitarian document forbidding capital punishment, was overridden.” (Time, 1/26/1959.)
No one could have imagined that the terror would last decades. As of this past January 1st, the Castro dynasty has been in power longer than any other monarchy, dictatorship or presidency in the history of Spanish America or all the 19 presidencies put together of Cuba’s republic since independence (1902-1952). 

The Castro brand: terror and deliberate propagation of ignorance
The Castro brothers’ true “vision” was to install a Communist police state under their absolute control that would gain legitimacy and support over time through deliberate influence and manipulation of perceptions. To repress internally and spread influence globally, they put in place a powerful intelligence/counter-intelligence apparatus and a huge international propaganda network.
The Castro regime has perfected the art of spreading ignorance, dedicating massive resources during decades to willfully spread confusion and deceit. The study of the deliberate propagation of ignorance, is called “agnotology” (agnosis from the Greek for ‘not knowing’ and ontology, the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being). In Cuba, the National Directorate of Intelligence, working with numerous state agencies including the Ideology Department of the Communist Party, systematically delivers misinformation and propaganda by designing and implementing “active measures” with a methodology learned from the Soviet KGB. The internet and mass communications have actually helped Cuba’s rulers, who ironically keep internet access from the population, but have deployed armies of IT experts to flood cyberspace with their message. As Robert Proctor, from Stanford University, warns, we now live in a new era “of radical ignorance,” where knowledge is very accessible, but that does not mean it is accessed.

Today, according to defectors, Cuba has at least 100,000 individuals working 24-7 just on spreading influence and propaganda. This greatly explains how the Castro dynasty has been able to stay in power for 57 years and enjoys impunity and widespread international support. The resulting human suffering, in Cuba and throughout several continents, is of staggering proportions.

The cost in lives. To date, Cuba Archive has documented 7,064 deaths and disappearances attributed to the Castro regime. See an update of the work in process here and the 2015 report here. These numbers by far under-represent actual cases and do not include tens of thousands killed as a result of Cuba’s participation in assorted wars and international terrorism and subversion.

Raúl, the reformer? The Cuban regime´s favored script these days is that the Cold War is over and that General Raúl Castro is a “reformer.” This is propagated like a mantra by those who work for or collaborate with the regime or fall prey of manipulated ignorance. We are expected to believe this means that the dictatorship and police state are, somehow, now acceptable.
In fact, Raúl us a serial killer. Raúl Castro is directly responsible for the impoverishment and oppression of the Cuban people as well as of multiple crimes against humanity. He was second-in-command during the two-year rebel fight against Batista (1956-58) and began executing people back then (actual or suspected informants, deserters, etc.), a practice he then gleefully enforced as head of Oriente province after Batista fled the country in the early morning hours of January 1, 1959. Cuba Archive has documented 125 executions (partial list) just in the month of January 1959 in Oriente province. The January 26, 1959 Time story reports:
“In the trials rebels acted as prosecutor, defender and judge. Verdicts, quickly reached, were as quickly carried out. In Santiago the show was under the personal command of Fidel’s brother Raul, 28, a slit-eyed man who had already executed 30 “informers” during two years of guerrilla war. Raul’s firing squads worked in relays, and they worked hour after hour. Said Raul: “There’s always a priest on hand to hear the last confession.” (…) The biggest bloodletting took place one morning at Santiago’s Campo de Tiro firing range, in sight of the San Juan Hill, where Teddy Roosevelt charged. A bulldozer ripped out a trench 40 ft. long, 10 ft. wide and 10 ft. deep. At nearby Boniato prison, six priests heard last confessions. Before dawn buses rolled out to the range and the condemned men dismounted, their hands tied, their faces drawn. Some pleaded that they had been rebel sympathizers all long; some wept; most stood silent. One broke for the woods, was caught and dragged back. Half got blindfolds. … By noon 70 prisoners had died.”
Raúl had personally ordered the mass killing described above, carried out the night of January 12, 1959. Many, if not most, of the victims were merely guilty of wearing a police or military uniform.  Raúl continued as head of the Armed Forces and as second in command until July 31, 2006, when Fidel fell ill. During his tenure as head honcho for the last nine and a half years, Cuba Archive has documented 264 cases of death and disappearance. See report here.
The Time story carries a prescient warning. “Castro led a revolution against personal government and for restoring a rule of law; since the date of his victory, he has built a government based largely on his personality, while his men have violated his country’s basic law. If he can summon maturity and seriousness, the bloody events of last week may yet turn out to be what Puerto Rico’s Muñoz Marin [1] thinks they are: “A bad thing happening in the midst of a great thing.” If not, the seeds of hate sown in the execution ditches will sprout like the Biblical tares.” Sadly, it was a bad thing leading to many more bad things and its seeds continue sprouting.

[1] Luis Muñoz Marín, governor of Puerto Rico 1949-1965.

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Cuba Archive’s Truth and Memory Project documents the loss of life resulting from

the Cuban revolution and studies transitional issues of truth, memory and justice.


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