Bella Ciao Dear Comrade …. you’ve earned your rest. May you remain healthy and strong and be with us for many years to come….

Thanks for everything!

Image by David Baldinger


  1. February 28, 2008 at 13:29

    He didn’t retire the CIA planted an old age virus in his chicken soup. Assassination attempt 740.

  2. February 28, 2008 at 14:23

    Thanks for using the cartoon and linking those videos.

  3. Masher1 said,

    February 28, 2008 at 18:31

    I also echo my respect for the long struggle against the Empire Americana Gringo.

    My hopes for a long enough life for you to see your friend Hugo Also retire as you have done.

    We all on the other hand need to keep the axe pressed FIRMLY into the stone if we are going to survive our coming tests of faith.

    Peace IS coming to Palestine.

    Trust me. Peace is the ONLY way through the tests of our time.
    Use the Fidel model to steer your life to come using as much peace as you can stomach right into retirements Galore.

    Evil money grubbing baby killers Will become dust under the foot of the peaceful march home for the few with full stomachs and strong will to do good.

  4. Ger said,

    February 28, 2008 at 18:35

    Fidel Castro has created a legacy that few leaders around the world can match. The people of Cuba can be proud of what has been achieved despite the sanctions foisted upon them by the American mafia aided by American government and corporate interest. It would have made far more sense if American foreign policy for the last fifty years had of created a good trading relationship with Cuba. They may have succeeded in achieving by trade what they tried to do by force. (Bay of Pigs)

  5. TooTiredForIllusions said,

    February 28, 2008 at 19:21

    I’ve been to Cuba many many times and have had no lack of open discussion.
    Are many Cubans unhappy with the economic situation? Sure. Just like any other country. Do they ponder assumed positives of ‘democracy’? Sure. Just like many of us have had to ponder the negatives. At the end of the day they are a proud
    people who cherish their history of independence and self-determination in the face of aggressive colonial administrations: and they fondly attribute that much to Fidel…….Peace to the world.

  6. Sirk said,

    February 28, 2008 at 19:41

    In the section on Cuba, in the book Rogue State, author William Blum paraphrases Dave Barry as follows:

    “The motto of the CIA: Proudly overthrowing Fidel Castro since 1959”

    Viva Fidel! y gracias.

  7. Gusano Contento said,

    February 28, 2008 at 21:17

    I am one of those Fidel calls a “gusano” or “quedado” (Cuban Exile).
    It never ceases to amaze me how supporters of the Fidel regime,
    keep exhalting it, carefully picking the so called “good things” but
    hardly ever going near the “bad things” in the regime. What these people
    also lack is the hard and repressive daily experience that most Cubans

    The Fidel regime is no different to that of countless other authoritarian
    regimes of right and left. Usually based on the cult of personality and spouting that sacrifice and hardship by millions is a worthy cause, in order to satisfy the delusions and obsessive ideas, by force, of a deluded personality.
    This particular regime is based on a succession of ideas, based
    on Marxist Lenninist theories which Fidel identified with long ago and then continued to develop and change as situations and circumstances required.

    I know a few people (not Cubans) who meet him several times for reasons of business, and who all reported that although he was an afable person, when
    contradicted would accept no arguments, giving the impression to others
    that he felt he was always right.

    While nobody will dispute that he gave all Cubans the opportunity to receive
    a good education and easy access to medical services, this was at the cost
    of total loss of liberty to freely think, create or act in any way not approved
    by the dogma of the revolution. All this without even counting the hardships of most Cubans in acquiring the things we all take for granted, like food, soap, deodorants, cosmetics, standard drugs, etc. ad nauseam. This has been going on for almost 50 years. Just before a British friend went on holidays to Cuba he asked me if there was anything he could take for an aunt of mine (now deceased) who lived in Habana. So I called her and she said they needed thinks like aspirins, anti-inflammatory pills/creams, perfumed soaps, toothpaste, writing paper and utensils, etc.

    The ration book is still going strong and when you get to the state store, it is almost certain that you won’t find what you want. That is unless… you happen to be working in the Tourism industry, where you may get the odd tip in foreing currency, or if you are a good looking woman then you can become a “jinetera” (prostitute) as a way of getting that desired foreign currency that will enable you to provide your family, at any of those tourist shops spread throughout Cuba, with all those things we take for granted.

    So if you are an artist of any sort, an intellectual or thinker, gay & lesbian,
    or simply a common person, and would like to express yourself freely, you better watch out. G2 could knock at your door any day if one of your
    state-spy neighbours or an offical, doesn’t like what you have to say.
    Say you are a Doctor, Architect, Scientists, you name it, there are thousands of Cubans with a good education but only a tiny fraction will actually get to fully exercise their respective professions.

    Habana vieja is almost in ruins, living conditions are bad, with whole families living in very cramped conditions, infrastructure is also very poor and transport a daily calvary for many. Travelling within Cuba is also restricted and many living outside La Habana are not permitted to live there.

    Now lets talk about the Cuban elite. They tend to be people who profess undying loyalty to the regime and constantly parrot its virtues. In exchange they get certain priviles denied to most Cubans, like travel abroad, access to modern gadgets, etc. – Here in London I happen to be working just oppossite the Cuban Embassy, but guess what, right in front I see everyday 4 top of the range BMWs – Damn and I thought they would really live what they preach and would perhaps have a more economical vehicle, more in keeping with the spirit of the revolution.

    Like in Franco’s Spain, tourism will be their undoing, for it will awaken the minds of those brainwashed by years of indoctrination to the reality beyond their borders, be it for good or bad. Cubans are very entrepenurial by nature and quick to recognise opportunitites. May they soon be able to exercise those abilities as well as be able to express themselves freely without looking over their shoulders. It is to their credit that they have endured this experiment engineered by an egocentric and his cohorts.

    Once Fidel dies, the regime will soon collapse, for when the idol is found to be a mere mortal, it will difficult to sustain the archetypes he engendered.

    To all those who really support him I say, live what you preach, give up
    everything and with no foreing currency or savings to rely on, go and live in Cuba. I’ve suggested this to many over the years, none has ever taken it up.
    But then it’s easy to “sympathise” with things that cost us nothing while sitting comfortably in our armchair. Sorry if I upset your carefully constructed beliefs.

    Viva Cuba Libre (con Libertad de expresion)

  8. Ekk said,

    February 28, 2008 at 22:04

    Cuba’s aid programme in Bolivia
    By Hugh O’Shaughnessy
    BBC News, Bolivia

    Though the facts are not widely reported around the world, Cuba supplies aid to a number of countries and one of the biggest aid schemes is in Bolivia.

    “There is usually a love interest behind it all, if you ask me,” says Dr Maria de los Angeles.

    A sparky woman from Guines, not far from Havana, she is the director of the Cuban-Venezuelan eye hospital at El Alto, 13,000 feet up (3,962m) in the High Andes. It serves La Paz, the main city of Bolivia, which lies in a canyon 1,000 feet (305m) below us.

    We are discussing why a very small number of the 2,000 Cuban medical personnel sent to Bolivia from the island over the past two years have jumped ship and gone home.

    Her colleague Dr Mabel, an attractive young eye surgeon from Pinar del Rio, the western-most province of Cuba, agrees.

    “There’s no pack of parties here,” she murmurs contentedly.

    At the same time, both women fiercely agree about the worth of what they are doing, attending without charge to the sight of thousands of poor Bolivians, who otherwise would not be able to see.

    “Nothing could be more rewarding,” says Mabel, who is on her first overseas posting, or “mission” as the Cubans call it.

    They add that it is not a bad career deal either.

    “We get our salaries paid in Cuba, our food and lodging is paid here, and we get some pocket money,” says her colleague.

    Immense benefits

    We walk around her scrupulously clean premises with its well-stocked pharmacy, neat rows of free Chinese-made spectacles, and an occasional Che Guevara poster.

    Maria de los Angeles reflects on her time and on the years she spent among the indigenous peoples of Guatemala.

    “Until I went from Cuba to Guatemala and Bolivia, I didn’t know what real poverty was,” she says.

    The two surgeons are part of an ambitious medical and literacy programme here, and in many other countries around the world. It has brought the Cuban government immense benefits in terms of gratitude from beneficiaries and foreign governments alike.

    What Cuba has done in Bolivia alone is staggering.

    In a score of general hospitals built mainly with Venezuelan money over the past two years, 2,000 Cuban medical staff including 1,300 qualified doctors have been at work.

    They have provided more than nine million consultations.

    In particular, Maria de los Angeles, Mabel, and her colleagues have carried out 200,000 operations in ophthalmological units up and down Bolivia.

    So popular are they, that the units built on the frontiers with Peru and Argentina have treated more Peruvians and Argentines than Bolivians.

    “We treat anyone who walks in, and we do it for nothing,” says Maria de los Angeles.

    Literacy programme

    In the other Cuban hospitals in this country, services go from preventative medicine – which has pushed down infant mortality and pushed up life expectancy – to general healthcare and emergency operations.

    Then there is the joint Cuban-Venezuelan literacy programme. One hundred and eighteen Cuban and 18 Venezuelan trainers backed with texts and television sets have taught Bolivian teachers the best ways of getting people to read and write.

    It is very difficult to attack a country that is giving free health care and education
    Rafael Dauza, Cuban ambassador

    At the Cuban embassy, the ambassador Rafael Dauza explains the diplomacy behind the scheme.

    “We give our services free, bring our own supplies and equipment, and don’t take any patients from the Bolivian doctors. Our staff have been accused by those who object to our presence here of being careless and unqualified. But they have never been able to stand their objections up,” he says.

    “And it is very difficult to attack a country that is giving free health care and education. One provincial governor who had opposed our presence here ended up having his life saved at one of our hospitals,” adds Mr Dauza, with no hint of a grin.

    US ambassador to Bolivia Philip Goldberg (Photo: Javier Mamani/AFP/Getty Images)
    Philip Goldberg met the Bolivian government to discuss the charges

    All of this has done nothing to calm fears at the US embassy, which looks askance at the Cuban and Venezuelan presence in Bolivia.

    A few days ago, the US ambassador Philip Goldberg had to apologise to Bolivia. It was established that an embassy official, Vincent Cooper, had tried to persuade a young US volunteer worker in the Peace Corps to spy on the Cubans and Venezuelans he came across.

    “That was a lamentable mistake,” says Mr Goldberg.

    But Bolivian president Evo Morales declared Mr Cooper persona non grata. He has left for the US and will not be allowed back.

    For the Cubans, the recent Cooper affair was all part of a US strategy to tempt Cuban doctors to desert.

    US regulations allow Cuban citizens to enter the country with a false passport, or no passport at all.

    “We are the only people on earth with that privilege,” says Dauza with a wry smile.

    Back at the hospital, the two eye surgeons were relaxed about the occasional defaulter.

    “Some of them drift back home to Cuba anyway,” says Mabel.


  9. Ponce said,

    February 29, 2008 at 01:01

    Not a “gusano” but born in Cuba…….

    As far as I am concern Fidel saved Cuba from the Yankees…….. I would have hated to see the US “liberating” Cuba like they did with Iraq, I would have been back in Cuba in a flash defending not the Cuban government but the Cuban people.

    It might be poison but it is MY poison…….

  10. costa said,

    February 29, 2008 at 02:20

    “To all those who really support him I say, live what you preach, give up
    everything and with no foreing currency or savings to rely on, go and live in Cuba. I’ve suggested this to many over the years, none has ever taken it up.”

    This psuedo-challenge is supposed to be an indicator of insincerity or lack of insight? Cheesey.

    Who would give up everything and with no foreign currency or savings to rely on move to ANY country?

    I couldn’t imagine giving up my way of life to move to an Inuit Village in the Arctic ; does this exempt the Inuit from respect? Arrogance.

    As arrogant as pretending the Cubans are oblivious to the world outside of their own or the frailities within which they live.

    Sounds like the kind of simplistic innocence prefacing debacles like Vietnam, Bay Of Pigs, Somalia and Iraq c. 2003.

  11. Happy Hula said,

    February 29, 2008 at 05:59

    In an imperfect world, Fidel did much better than most. No homeless in Cuba!

  12. Saddam said,

    February 29, 2008 at 08:37

    Life is long, the gods are far.
    We make our fates by who we are:
    Who, like Fidel, has lived to see
    Such confusion plague his enemy?

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