The Author, Dr. Kofi Dankyi Beeko, MD.
You don’t have to be an academician, to understand that animals too, tend to dominate one-another, except that with time, each learns to refuse to be dominated. History is replete with societal domination. Going as far back as the confrontation between the Jews and the rulers of the Nile-basin in 1850 BC, would lengthen the discussion beyond what time would allow, but, how about 1789 (France), 1917 (Russia), and 1959 (Cuba)?
The oppressed wrestled power out of the hands of the oppressor. We shall soon learn what he may do with such power, once he gets it. “Power is being taken away by those who feel they can run the affairs of the state better for the benefit of ‘the man’ in the street.”
If you happen to require dealing with many personalities called Castro, you may not find it easy collecting many of them. Your assignment is tougher still, if you need one forenamed “Fidel”, and born in 1927, thus, ten years younger than the flamboyant John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Both men liked what young men living in America at the time loved best. Whatever it might have been, it included good liquor in moderation, and the company of young ladies with super-fragrance.
John was of Irish origin, and his father was America’s richest man at the time. Fidel? -well, it is said that he was a Latino/Spanish mixture. Fulgencio Batista was of a similar mix. He was born in Cuba in 1901. From 1933 he kept toying with political power in Cuba until he had turned absolute dictator by 1940. He was Capitalist, and loved by the businessmen on the “Mainland”, USA. Castro, groomed by Communist philosophers until his mind was turgid with Marxism-Leninism, would outwit Batista’s America-supported doctrine.
Come 1959, Batista would be overthrown by Castro’s forces, and Batista would flee to America, where he would die in exile in 1973. For support to stand against a nation as militarily as mighty as the United States of America, Castro would turn to the Soviet Union, whose Chairman of the Political Bureau was a man no less than the one and only Nikita S. Krushchov.
The tiny Island, with a population just 2% of that of America, won the love and sympathy of the Soviets, and an interesting romance would ensue between the two nations, which would last until Michael Gorbachev would end the “senseless economic blood-letting” in 1985. Cuba had been a source of inspiration, plus “physical support” to many third-world countries that needed support to “free themselves from oppression,” so they could advance.
Many nations that received such support from Cuba were African. Among intellectuals from the West who visited Cuba, testimony was “multicolored.” A German Doctor of Medicine, who as part of a group that was invited from Bavaria to visit Havana in 1981, seemed thrilled. He had been to Senegal in 1978, and he could now draw the difference between the two nations, like light-years apart, where Cuba had scored the highest points.
Education, health-care delivery (the most favorable Doctor/Patient Ratio in Latin America, and Africa, except the Union of South Africa). “Enviable,” he stressed. When asked how he found “human rights in Cuba”, his answer was, “it depends on how you see it.”
He wasn’t asked any further questions. President Fidel Castro had been in power for twenty years then. For most Europeans living in the Free World, nothing could defeat the issue of human rights. John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the USA, had stood firm against a Soviet attempt to station inter-continental ballistic missiles on the island of Cuba.
The Soviets were asked to dismantle those missiles within 24 hours, or America would declare war! This would go down in history as ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis, early in 1962.’ The Soviet leader, who, according to anonymous diplomatic sources, had developed a liking for the flamboyant young man at the White House, did comply, and had the missiles removed, as demanded.
It is often said that among both American and Soviet intellectuals, nobody knows just how serious the American President meant with his threat to go to war. “If it was a bluff, it paid off for him, the American Head of State,” some would say.
For the Soviet leader however, it turned out not a laughing matter, because, not long after John Kennedy had been assassinated in November of 1963, intrigues against him within the Kremlin escalated until a couple of years later he lost his position as Soviet Leader.
Europeans, scared of Communism, did not welcome it anywhere in the world. Detractors of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in Europe (Europeans) thought he was a Communist, and hence they saw his removal as justified. The German Doctor, who gave the impression as though “the issue of human rights was not important, when it came to third world countries (Cuba, or Ghana), for example, scored an “own goal.” President Fidel Castro carried on single-handedly until a couple of years ago, when his failing health forced him to “retire” and to pass on the baton to his younger brother. One should not forget that in Cuba, so close to the United States of America (the freest place on earth), mobile phones were not allowed.
Interestingly, the new leader is of another opinion, and the cell phone business is booming in Cuba.
Then, since just recently, small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), (the hall-mark of capitalism), are allowed in Cuba. Yes, they are allowed!! For forty-one years now, thousands of Cubans have languished in Cuban prisons for offenses that are now seen as laughter. Dialectical materialism is the point where Christianity, Capitalism and Communism clash sharpest. Castro’s brother Raulf cannot wait to bury his elder brother and mentor (the architect and constructeur of Cuban Communism), before courting the Catholic Church in Cuba for what could without much debate be seen as rapprochement between Church and State.
Cuba was seen as a 20th Century example of successful experimentation with Marxism/Leninism, successful in any place other than Marxist Red China, after Europe (Soviet Union).
Nations in Africa opened their arms for “assistance rather than co-operation” with Castro’s Cuba. Civil wars fought in Africa, a glaring example being Angola, received “a helping hand” from Cuba. Ghana’s illustrious leader and “founder of the nation, “OSAGYEFO DR. KWAME NKRUMAH,” got an institution of higher learning named after him in Cuba. The intellectuals still debate: If you visit Cuba, so I am told, what you encounter is an admixture of a number of races, the most outstanding of them being “white and dark skinned.”
The German physician mentioned above maintains, “except for the very old age of the motor cars of American construction, one would think he was walking in the streets of New York. You encounter three white skinned guys, and then one white, or the other way around.” Was there such a harmonious cultural mix? Many are skeptical, especially, talking to former students from Africa to Cuba. What you hear from one is what everybody else would tell you.
“It is a more advanced country than Ghana, for example. They don’t weed with cutlasses. They are “food-sufficient. In spite of severe restrictions concerning trade with America, CUBA EXPORTS MEDICINES TO AMERICA.” Their roads don’t have potholes, and non-asphalted roads don’t exist in Cuba. So, why is there such a hurry to see things happen, which Castro didn’t want to see, for as many as forty years? “According to one Arab, now increasingly with trade links with Cuba, “it won’t be long, and life in Havana will be in the hands of the Mafia, just like it was before 1959.” For whom would that be good?