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Is Fidel Castro A Prophet Of Almighty God?

Why, yes he is [1], according to the elderly commie priest whose right to celebrate mass was just reinstated by Pope Francis, nearly 30 years after John Paul II withdrew them over the priest’s refusal to get out of politics, as Church law demanded. D’Escoto, a Maryknoll father, was the Sandinista government’s foreign minister. And he is today an unrepentant Marxist:

The priest and former Nicaraguan foreign secretary Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann said tday [Tuesday] that Cuban leader Fidel Castro is a chosen man of God to convey the message of the Holy Spirit in Latin America.

The Vatican may silence everyone, then God will make the stones speak, and may the stones spread his message, but He didn’t do this, He chose the greatest Latin-American of all time: Fidel Castro,” the religious, 81 years old, declared today to Channel 4 in the local [Nicaraguan] television.

D’Escoto Brockmann, current director for border issues and international relations of the Government of the President of Nicaragua, the Sandinista Daniel Ortega, made these declarations the day following that in which the Vatican made public the papal decision to lift his “suspension a divinis” that Pope John Paul II had imposed on him.

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It is through Fidel Castro that the Holy Spirit sends us the message. This message of Jesus, of the need to struggle to establish, firmly and irreversibly, the kingdom of God on this earth, which is his alternative to the empire,” he added.

D’Escoto kept his real faith all these years, looks like. It’s one thing to be left-wing in your politics, but quite another to deliver such obsequies to a vicious communist dictator and persecutor of the Church and others. John Paul II took the real measure of this man. But he’s dead, and it’s a new day in Rome.

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65 Comments To "Is Fidel Castro A Prophet Of Almighty God?"

#1 Comment By grumpy realist On August 7, 2014 @ 2:37 pm

I remember reading a book some time ago detailing exactly what was going on in Cuba just before Castro. Turns out the plan by the Mob was to set up in Cuba their own little empire safely away from US laws. They were setting up quite a string of resorts and casinos to provide gambling/drugs/prostitution/whatever under the aegis of the existing gov’t (which was quite happy to get kickbacks from all of this and turn a blind eye to what happened to the local population.) Frankie Sinatra and the Rat Pack were hangers-on in this, being invited to partake of the goodies in exchange for performing at said locations….

Go back and look at what Castro was a revolutionary against. You may not like what Cuba warped into after he ruled for many years, but what the alternative could have been would probably have been even worse.

#2 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 7, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

Wes, when you can write a coherent factual statement that does not rest on the word “probably,” it might be worth responding to your self-serving fill-in-the-blank versions of history.

Often we have to deal with bad actors who are lesser evils and in accordance with our national security interests.

Yeah, communists have that problem too. Are we all on a common moral plane now?

David J. White… thumbs up to your observation on George Washington. I have read that when he stepped down after two terms, King George III exclaimed, if he does that, he will be the greatest man in history. I don’t know how well documented the account is.

Yes, and that is why so many American kida are riding on top of trains trying to get into Guatemala and away from the Yankee capitalists.

Actually, they are trying to get away from what Yankee capitalists made of Guatemala and Honduras. The receiving end of the money pipeline is always a more pleasant place to live, even, relatively speaking for the peons. That’s why Africans and Asians migrate to France and England… just following the money.

#3 Comment By Anne On August 7, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

There have been a number of articles in the Western press in recent years reporting that Castro has softened on religion in his old age, having become curious about the afterlife. A Slate story from 2008 on the subject managed to insult Castro, religion AND Russian orthodoxy all in one shot. See
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#4 Comment By Reinhold On August 7, 2014 @ 7:08 pm

“Often we have to deal with bad actors who are lesser evils and in accordance with our national security interests.”
The Sandinistas were the lesser evil, the Contras were much more vicious. A right-winger will always choose the right-wing dictatorship, a left-winger will always choose the left-wing dictatorship, as the lesser evil. To me, the Sandinistas appear OBJECTIVELY less evil––but to you, the Contras do––despite the fact that they killed and tortured far more and far more destructively––simply because they are counter-revolutionaries and not revolutionaries. The ‘whose violence is worse?’ game is fruitless because, despite the fact that revolutionary violence and counter-revolutionary violence are both, y’know, really violent, the issue will always be settled according to political commitments.

#5 Comment By Wes On August 8, 2014 @ 3:47 am

Reinhold, you wrote this: “The Sandinistas were the lesser evil, the Contras were much more vicious. A right-winger will always choose the right-wing dictatorship, a left-winger will always choose the left-wing dictatorship, as the lesser evil.”

The U.S. government viewed the Sandinistas as our enemies because they were allies of the Soviet Union, our nuclear superpower arch-enemy at the time. The Contras may have been as or even more brutal than the Sandinistas, but they were the enemies of our enemy. And body count isn’t the only determining factor in deciding how evil a particular political actor is.

Even though I am conservative, I don’t necessarily reflexively favor right-wing dictatorships over left-wing dictatorships This doesn’t really matter much anymore outside of Latin America with the Cold War over. What about contemporary Russia, a major geopolitical rival of ours? Is it left-wing, right-wing, or a combination of both? If we’re going to ally ourselves with authoritarian regimes we should pick those who actually like us and who have common security interests with us. To me there has been little substantial difference between Fascism and Communism and between Soviet Communism and Chinese Communism. I never understood why some conservative elites and aristocrats in the Western democracies supported Hitler to some extent before WWII as a foil against the Soviet Union. As if the “right-wing” Hitler would actually give them more freedom to spend their fortunes than Stalin would. I also never understood by Nixon and Kissinger went to China to recruit it as an “ally” against the Soviet Union. As long as China is ruled by the Communist Party, that country will never be our ally. Support for German Nazis in the Western democracies didn’t just happen before WWII. It also occurred after WWII when Western intelligence agencies, especially the U.S. and British, employed several former Nazis, including war criminals. These bad actors are bad actors who I would never be in favor of allying with, no matter how anti-Communist and Soviet they claimed to be.

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#6 Comment By dominic1955 On August 8, 2014 @ 10:32 am

“Now, when discussing the revolutionaries that fought this bad form of Latin American capitalism, one would expect these same critics to acknowledge that Castro was fighting a moral cause to end the suffering caused by these corrupt capitalists in Latin America (about 60 years ago). I mean, if Latin American capitalism is really corrupt and worthy of strong moral critique (as opposed to our good form of capitalism), then there probably was some moral good in fighting the Cuban revolution, right?”

You don’t need to burn down your house because it need new siding and there are rats in it.

#7 Comment By Reinhold On August 8, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

“If we’re going to ally ourselves with authoritarian regimes we should pick those who actually like us and who have common security interests with us.”
The issue is, we don’t usually ‘pick’ them except in the sense that we create and prop them up––over and again it was decided that the fascist third world dictator was a necessary bulwark against communism, I mean, a Soviet takeover of then world. And I object to the constant use of ‘us’ and ‘our’ security interests, as though somehow my interests are always best served by American foreign policy.

#8 Comment By Wes On August 8, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

Reinhold,you wrote this: “And I object to the constant use of ‘us’ and ‘our’ security interests, as though somehow my interests are always best served by American foreign policy.”

I’m sorry, but I never thought about it until I read that sentence, but are you German? Reinhold is a German name. Did you read what I wrote about the Nazis? Did you read the articles that I linked to? I don’t know if you’re German or not and I don’t mean to offend you here, but I’m not sure that Germany and the German people will ever recover from the legacy of the Nazis and before that, to a lesser extent, the Kaiser. Sometimes, the Germans act ungrateful toward the Americans, who liberated them from Hitler’s rule and their own self-destruction. And it’s not just the Americans who feel this way. The British and the French, yes the French, also sometimes feel this way. During the run up to the NATO-led military strikes in support of the Libyan rebels in their war against Ghaddafi, Germany abstained from voting on the UN Security Council Resolution that called for a no-fly zone to protect Libyan rebels and civilians. British and French diplomats were furious at Germany’s abstention and thought that this could permanently affect their relationship with Germany. For years, Germany has been talked about as a new permanent member of the UN Security Council, but after its abstention on the Libya resolution, that has gone down the drain. (The same goes with India, which also abstained from voting on the Libya resolution.) If the German people think that they can make up for the sins of their fathers by being neutral toward other people’s sins, then they are dead wrong. This is even more relevant today with Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Now I do have to admit first that the U.S. has to lead the entire West against Russia and Obama is not. But with that being said, Germany is the European Union’s largest country and economy and it has to lead the rest of the E.U. against Russia. Now it is true that Britain and France, the other two largest countries and economies in the E.U., are hesitant to do much against Russia either. But they and others in the E.U. might agreed to do more against Russia if Germany was willing to do more. But unfortunately, the E.U. and the U.S. are hesitant to do much against Russia, just as Britain, France, and the U.S. weren’t willing to do much to challenge Hitler before WWII (and for the U.S. even after the war started), not that I think that Putin is as evil or dangerous as Hitler was.

#9 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 8, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

over and again it was decided that the fascist third world dictator was a necessary bulwark against communism

Which should have given us pause about our blind commitment to “fighting communism.” We made communist sympathizers of millions who saw us backing their brutal fascist dictators because we were fighting communism.

E.g., apolitical Vietnamese peasant asks “Why did that plane drop a bomb on our village?” Answer “Because they don’t like communists.” Reply, “Oh, really? How do I become a communist?”

Hector, WHERE ARE YOU?

#10 Comment By Reinhold On August 8, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

I’m not German at all, actually, I’m 100% American––or at least 4th generation Italian-American––I took my nome de guerre from Karl Leonhard Reinhold, an Austrian Kantian philosopher from the 18th/19th centuries. And Germany sucks, I’m with you; their corporatist capitalism and vision of themselves as the EU’s core is the definition of post-fascism.

#11 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On August 11, 2014 @ 11:52 am

Siarlys Jenkins,

Hey there!

I was on vacation all week- my brother got married on Saturday, to a well known liberal blogger (he was one himself for a couple years), and I was helping them prepare for it. I’m back today.

Castro’s ‘35,000 victims’ really is the Goebbelsian Big Lie that will never die, I guess, largely because of the Cuban-American exile community here and the Republican noise machine. The real number of people executed in Cuba is a lot closer to 5,000 than to 35,000 (even the hardcore right wing CANF estimates a bit over 10,000) and the vast majority of those were for, you know, actual crimes like treason, murder and rape. Which is, actually, pretty similar to the number of people the French executed for collaboration, after World War II. Societies coming out of a war usually undergo a purging process. The Cuban Communists were, interestingly enough, famous for their good conduct before they took power (releasing the enemy prisoners they captured, and disciplining their own men who committed crimes) which was one of the things that made them quite popular among the populace.

Religious persecution in Castro’s Cuba is also overstated. There was certainly some- for example, until 1992, Catholics weren’t allowed to join the ruling party. That’s a thing of the past, too, though. And it’s worth stating that much of the persecution against the Catholic Church, such as it was, was for political rather than religious reasons. The Church, as in a lot of Latin America in the 1960s, was largely a conservative institution, staffed largely by Spanish priests many of whom had some sympathies for Franco.

Most credible sources say that the Communists remain fairly popular among Cubans *today*, though not nearly as much as in the 1960s. Mona Rosendahl, at the height of the special period when the well-being of Cubans was probably at their lowest level in decades, estimated about 1/3 of Cubans were strong supporters of the regime, and another 1/3 were weakly acquiescent, of the general sentiment that ‘the revolution was a good thing, but someone needs a new chance at governing”. Anecdotal evidence from people I’ve talked to- including friends of mine who have done volunteer work, and the well known doctor Paul Farmer, who does a ton of work in Cuba, suggests that *most* Cubans are pretty happy with their government. One of my friend’s remarks to me was pretty memorable- he said that he saw teenagers interacting with police officers in a much more easygoing manner than their equivalents typically would in the States. Political dissidents are of course a different story (though the actual number of political dissidents in Cuba is well under a hundred, and virtually none of them have been *executed* in two decades). But as in most societies, the number of actual active dissidents is pretty small.

So there’s certainly repression in Cuba, although it’s mild, and certainly nothing proportionate to the ‘vicious tyrant’ and ‘murderer’ appelations that are being tossed around here. The big question, what has Cuba gained in exchange for giving up political freedom, and was it worth it? The second part depends on how highly you value democracy and political freedom, and I think I’ve gone on record here as not valuing it particularly highly. The first part though, is easier to resolve. Cuba has *one of* the highest human development scores in Latin America. It’s one of the most economically equal societies in the world. It’s a country with low unemployment, very little crime, and a population which has guaranteed access to the basic necessities of life, though not much to the luxuries. It’s a society with a life expectancy roughly comparable to western countries, with minimal malnutrition or severe Third-World level poverty. It’s a country which has made a genuine effort to change the moral tenor of society and to replace materialist, individualist values with collectivist ones. It’s a country whose people, in short, live better lives than in *most* developing countries in Asia or Latin America. As Paul Farmer likes to say, that’s what they’ve gained in exchange for giving up freedom and democracy, and I think it was eminently worth it.

#12 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On August 11, 2014 @ 11:57 am

Miguel D’Escoto’s been a man I deeply respect and admire since I first started reading for him. Whether or not you agree with his opinions about Castro, or his disagreements with the leadership of his church, there can be no doubt that he saw his service in a socialist government as entirely consonant with his Christian values, and he probably had a point. If an entirely disinterested observer was looking at the 1984 war in Nicaragua and trying to judge which side was really more in tune with the message of the Gospels and Acts- the one which was distributing land to peasants, encouraging shared ownership of the means of production, teaching people to read, setting up free clinics, etc., or the one which was blowing up the schools and clinics and encouraging the restoration of a regime that used agricultural workers as guinea pigs for pesticide testing and that dumped political prisoners into volcanoes- which side do you think they would pick? Which side, for that matter, do you think Jesus would pick?

#13 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On August 11, 2014 @ 12:01 pm

Anne,

I don’t doubt that Castro has softened on religion now that he’s gradually dying. I heard a very interesting story two days ago from my evangelical pastor uncle, about how his father- who was a culturally Hindu atheist, as far as anyone knew, all his life- secretly converted two days before his death. Castro probably has too much invested in his career as a Marxist war horse to publicly convert, but he’s for the last couple decades been an increasing admirer of the person of Jesus, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in his heart he becomes a Christian before he dies. And, hopefully, puts that into action by encouraging the iron fist of the Cuban legal and police system to loosen a little bit.

#14 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On August 11, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

“I object to the use of ‘us’ and ‘our’ security interests’

Yes, this. Why are *my* values better served by allying with bad actors overseas, when *I* don’t personally care about American hegemony one way or another?

Not that America is unique here of course. Probably the worst thing that Castro ever did was to mirror American foreign policy by supporting some very, very evil people overseas, most notably the Mengistu regime in Ethiopia. My enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend, and just because you preferred the Americans or the Soviets to their rival, did not make it right to support murderous tyrants who happened to fly the right flag.

#15 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On August 11, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

Thanks Hector. I used to be able to quote stats like that, but it hasn’t been as high a priority on my reading list lately. I did used to have a collection of LIFE magazines around the time Castro came into Havana and Batista fled — coverage was entirely positive, of course, and the occasional photo of an execution was present with indulgent recognition that this was often justice delayed but not denied.

Like many revolutionary regimes, the ruling party in Cuba has been slow about bringing new leadership forward on a regular basis. Any dialectician should know that twenty years after the revolution, the contradicitions will be different ones, calling for new and generally younger leadership. And the way Huber Matos was dealt with was way over-reaction.

But by and large, Cuba is a much better place to live for most people than most of Latin America… although the wealthiest classes behind their gated communities would beg to differ.