by Netfa Freeman
It is laughable – or pitiful – to compare Barack Obama to Fidel Castro. The fundamental truth is: “Barack Obama is the president of imperialism, PERIOD. By necessity he must be a mass murdering, lying, enemy of humanity. It is an unspoken prerequisite for that job. Fidel Castro is the opposite, PERIOD.” That’s why a long line of U.S. presidents has tried to assassinate Castro over 600 times, and committed 1,000 acts of terror against his people.
Barack and Fidel: A Beyond Bizarre Comparison
by Netfa Freeman
“Fidel provided political asylum for freedom fighters who were targets of the F.B.I.’s COINTELPRO, like Assata Shakur, Nehanda Abiodun, Robert and Mable Williams, Guillermo Morales, Charlie Hill and others.”
With less than a month left before the end of the Obama administration the barrage of Western, particularly U.S., “news” media desecrating the legacy of Fidel Castro should come as no surprise. El Comandante Fidel Castro transitioned on November 25th, at 10:29 p.m.
It is a reflection of decades of U.S. media induced psychosis that compels even leftist progressives to add a caveat, when speaking favorably about the late Cuban leader, asserting that he had some “bad” and was not all “good.” If that goes without saying for every human on the planet, that no one is all bad or good, what makes it necessary to include such a disclaimer when speaking about Fidel?
On a recent string of comments on a social media post, one person wrote “Fidel Castro not all bad not all good. Barack Obama not all bad not all good. It's called being in power.”
Any comparison of Barak Obama and Fidel Castro that reduces it to the constraints of leaders dealing with being "in power," and therefore having to do some ugly things, is a bizarre and over simplified comparison. There is more to it than that. The least of which is, that Obama was only about two years old when a young Fidel led the Cuban revolution to power in 1959. At that time Fidel was 33 years old and 14 years younger than Obama was when he became POTUS.
But to put a comparison of these two men in a proper perspective one must consider the prism of a worldwide struggle between a minority class that benefits from the domination of international finance capital against a global majority class of masses exploited, oppressed and repressed by capitalism.
Barak Obama is the president of imperialism, PERIOD. By necessity he must be a mass murdering, lying, enemy of humanity. It is an unspoken prerequisite for that job. Fidel Castro is the opposite, PERIOD. U.S. government led propaganda makes it very difficult for some to put it in such absolute terms. In fact most liberals would likely dismiss that statement as a romanticized view that is without nuance. Such people would condemn such an assertion as being blind to subjectivity and relativity. Or say that “there are no absolutes,” which is not true. The world is made up of both relative and objective reality.
“Obama will leave office being the first POTUS to regime change an African country, Libya, through outright aerial bombing.”
Fidel led an anti-imperialist revolution in his country that extended internationalist assistance to other struggles against imperialism across the world. “When regular South African troops invaded Angola we couldn't stand by and do nothing. When the MPLA asked for our help we offered them the help they needed,” Fidel explained about Cuba’s remarkably unconditional assistance in the fight against apartheid South Africa and assistance throughout all of Africa against Western imperialist domination. Dispatched were not only volunteer Cuban military fighters but doctors and teachers as well. Obama’s record in this area has in contrast been to expand and enhance President George Bush’s AFRICOM and its militarization of Africa. Obama will leave office being the first POTUS to regime change an African country, Libya, through outright aerial bombing and support to the most politically backward and brutal elements in Libyan society.
Fidel also took the same principled stand for the Black and Puerto Rican liberation struggle in the U.S. in the form of political asylum for freedom fighters who were targets of the F.B.I.’s COINTELPRO, like Assata Shakur, Nehanda Abiodun, Robert and Mable Williams, Guillermo Morales, Charlie Hill and others. Barak Obama on the other hand pretends that the U.S. isn’t giving safe haven to known anti-Castro Cuban terrorists, like Luis Posada Carriles who is free and living like a hero in Miami. Obama pretends the 5 Cubans who served long prison sentences in the U.S. for actually combating the terrorism of the likes of Posada were guilty of espionage. The last of The Cuban 5 were released in December 2014 through a concession in the negotiations between the two countries.
In the midst of the protracted negotiations to normalize Cuba-U.S. relations, Obama publicly postures as if he doesn’t know the backdrop of over 600 failed CIA attempts to assassinate Fidel. No apology. No acknowledgement at all, even of the over 1,000 documented U.S. sponsored terrorist acts against Cuba. In the November 26th “Statement by the President on the Passing of Fidel Castro,” Obama’s official words say “For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements.” Is that what you call decades of violent, protracted and multi-faceted subversion of one country by another, “…discord and profound political disagreements?”
Although Obama isn’t responsible for any of these acts, he is responsible for the immoral equivalent in other countries that includes establishing and presiding over a “Kill List” with the executive authority to basically assassinate anyone in another country that he decides is a threat to U.S. national security.
“Obama offered no apology or even acknowledgement of the over 1,000 documented U.S. sponsored terrorist acts against Cuba.”
Fidel Castro led a revolution that has never committed a single act of aggression against the U.S. or against any other country in the world. Obama on the other hand leads a country that has unjustly and illegally created laws on the books specifically designed to overthrow the sovereign nation of Cuba and that buttresses a military industrial complex, in which mass killing and destruction of other nations is big business.
Reservations about Fidel’s legacy often refer to the marginalization of people of African descent in Cuba, citing that many live in poorer conditions of deficient housing, limited urban infrastructure, and episodic transportation in comparison to other Cubans. However this obscures the historical context and complexity of race in Cuba, and pins centuries of White supremacist colonialism onto a revolution that inherited the situation and has in spite of them made marked and unprecedented, albeit imperfect strides in overcoming them.
Of all Cuba’s leaders Fidel Castro has been most upfront and honest about this:
"…I am not claiming that our country is a perfect model of equality and justice. We believed at the beginning that when we established the fullest equality before the law and complete intolerance for any demonstration of sexual discrimination in the case of women, or racial discrimination in the case of ethnic minorities, these phenomena would vanish from our society. It was some time before we discovered that marginality and racial discrimination with it are not something that one gets rid of with a law or even with ten laws, and we have not managed to eliminate them completely in 40 years…" Fidel, September, 2000.
“Fidel Castro led a revolution that has never committed a single act of aggression against the U.S. or against any other country in the world.”
In response to uprisings in the U.S. against an epidemic of racist extra-judicial killings of African/Black people by police, Obama pathologically scolds the people of Ferguson who have been faced with no redress. As a killer and a war criminal that has centered the use of violence during his administration Obama lectures folks about the use of violence:
"Burning buildings, torching cards, destroying property, putting people at risk, that's destructive and there's no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts. People should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts…"
While even some Democratic party supporters have seen fit to adopt a position of “no cooperation with a Trump administration,” it is doubtful such an arrogant disposition in defense of racist repression as Obama’s can even learn from the principled consistency in legacy of a man like Fidel. Facing the POTUS administration of an incoming openly misogynist, racists, xenophobic, and homophobic successor, Obama can only say:
“… he [Obama] was certain after meeting Trump last week that his successor and longtime political foe was ‘sincere’ about being president for all Americans but also called on the President-elect to reach out to people who felt anxious after the explosive rhetoric of the campaign, including women and minorities.
“’I don't think he is ideological, I think ultimately he is pragmatic in that way and that can serve him well as long as he has got good people around him and he has a good sense of direction,’"
The revolutionary practice and wealth of thoughtful and principled positions by the late, great Comrade Fidel Castro leave no room to speculate what his stance would be against someone like Donald Trump or any enemy of humanity. In thousands of speeches and writings left to us by Fidel Castro countless examples teach us the only position to take in the face of clear obscenities against humanity and the planet itself:
“If fate were to decree that one day we would be among the last defenders of socialism, in a world in which U.S. imperialism has realized Hitler’s dream of world domination… we would defend this bulwark to the last drop of our blood.” -- Fidel, December 7th, 1989
Netfa Freeman is an organizer in Pan-African Community Action, the Events Coordinator at the Institute for Policy Studies, and radio producer and host for Voices With Vision on WPFW 89.3 FM, Washington DC.