February 3rd 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Is Malcolm Turnbull out of his depth?

EDITORIAL: Are we in for another interest rate hike?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Why Howard Government could fall this year

THE ECONOMY: Qantas takeover bid - leave it to the market?

WORKPLACE RELATIONS: New laws exploit vulnerable employees

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Sheik's outburst - more than once is enough!

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: When truth is no defence

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Invisible premier / Victoria Agonistes / From log-rolling to White House / Another conspiracy? / Russian roulette / Media watch

SRI LANKA: Who are the terrorists in Sri Lanka?

CUBA: Mass-murderer Fidel Castro to die unpunished

EAST TIMOR: Alkatiri's right-hand man tried in East Timor

SCIENCE: Cull the human race - Australian scientist

No such thing as 'private' morality (letter)

Messiah status for Labor leaders (letter)

Major doctrinal errors in Nativity film (letter)

Word engineering (letter)


BOOKS: JACKA VC: Australian hero, by Robert Macklin

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Mass-murderer Fidel Castro to die unpunished

by John Ballantyne

News Weekly, February 3, 2007
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro cruelly oppressed his people, and aided and abetted terror and genocide in Africa. Yet there are no calls (as there were with Chile's General Pinochet) for Castro to be brought to justice, writes John Ballantyne.

Only last year, media commentators and human-rights activists were expressing indignation and outrage that Chile's former military dictator General Augusto Pinochet should die without facing justice for the state-sanctioned torture, killings and disappearances which occurred under his rule.
Fidel Castro

But scarcely anything like this indignation has been expressed at the prospect of Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro dying without being brought to account for the far worse atrocities for which he was responsible during his more than four decades of iron-fisted rule in Cuba.

Not content with cruelly oppressing Cubans and driving into exile a tenth of the country's population, Castro is responsible for having exported violent revolution around the world, and for having aided and abetted terror and genocide in Africa.

All these, and many other of Castro's crimes against humanity, are a matter of public record. It is strange therefore that the Western media and chattering-classes should contrive to overlook them.


Psychopath and serial-killer though he was, Castro was also a superb self-publicist, and succeeded in winning himself a large and uncritical following among his bobby-sockser admirers in the West.

It was widely (and wrongly) believed that Castro was originally not a Communist, but rather a sort of Jeffersonian Democrat, reluctantly driven into the arms of the former Soviet Union by an intransigent United States.

As a matter of historical record, Castro's coming to power in Havana in 1959 was owing largely to the U.S. withdrawing support from the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.

The U.S. in fact was one of the first countries in the world to recognise Castro's revolutionary regime. Not long afterwards, Castro was given a ticker-tape welcome by New Yorkers, and delivered a speech at Harvard.

On June 6, 1961, however, Castro declared that he had become a Communist many years before, at the age of 17. In 1983, he admitted: "No one drove me into the arms of Moscow. I studied these matters carefully and came to the conclusion that Marxism-Leninism offered the only logical explanation for human history — past, present and future."

Seldom reported in the Western media are Castro's pre-Communist political beliefs. People who knew Castro at university recall that he used to carry with him a well-thumbed copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf and was fascinated by Nazi pageantry and paraphernalia. He also admired Italian fascist dictator Mussolini, and would stand before a mirror copying Il Duce's style of delivery and strutting manner.

Historian (Lord) Hugh Thomas observed that Castro's subsequent dictatorship was "more than anything the first Fascist Left regime — by which I mean it is a regime with totalitarian left-wing goals established and sustained by methods of fascism".

Castro's Cuba and Pinochet's Chile each had populations of approximately 10 million. But Castro's repressive regime was many times worse than Pinochet's.

According to the scholarly French work, The Black Book of Communism: 14,000 Cubans were shot by firing squad alone (almost five times the estimated 3,000 people killed by Pinochet's dictatorship).

The true death toll of Cuban victims of Communism is probably closer to 102,000 if one were to include those killed in the anti-Castro resistance of the early 1960s and those who drowned at sea fleeing Castro's regime.

The total number of refugees from Castro's dictatorship is more than a million (compared to fewer than 5,000 from Pinochet).

According to Hugh Thomas, the 500,000 Cubans who left the island between 1959 and 1980 were more numerous than those who emigrated there from Spain between 1511 and 1898. Indeed, more Cubans fled from their homeland in the course of 1980 than Spaniards emigrated to Cuba in the first 200 years of the island as a colony.

Castro, throughout his adult career, was unswervingly loyal to Moscow. In 1968, he supported the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia and the suppression of the Prague Spring. He called Czech dissidents "fascists".

In the 1970s, he dispatched scores of thousands of Cuban troops and "advisers" to prop up Soviet client-states in Africa, such as Angola and Mozambique. He backed Ethiopia's murderous dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, known as the African Pol Pot, who for 17 years inflicted red terror, famine and war on Africa's second most populous country.

Despite being an accessory to mass murder, Castro has frequently been praised for supposedly establishing in Cuba a health service that is the envy of the world. In reality, however, Cuban hospitals have deteriorated under Castro, as catalogued by www.therealcuba.com.

But whether Castro's enviable health service is real or exists only in Cuban propaganda, it is generally held up as a "plus" in Castro's favour and apparently covers a multitude of sins, including his complicity in genocide.

- John Ballantyne.

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