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Politics of Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro proclaimed himself to be "a socialist, a Marxist, and a Leninist".[1] As a Marxist and Leninist, Castro believed strongly
in converting Cuba and the wider world from a capitalist system in which individuals own the means of production into a socialist
system in which the means of production are owned by the workers. In the former, there is a class divide between the wealthy classes
who control the means of production (i. e., the factories, farms, media, etc.) and the poorer working classes who labor on them, whilst
in the latter, there is a decreasing class divide as the state withers away to formcommunism.

Marxism is the socio-political theory developed by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-19th century. It
holds as its foundation the idea of class struggle, i. e., that society mainly changes and progresses as one socio-economic class takes
power from another. Thus, Marxists believe that capitalism replaced feudalism in the early modern period as the wealthy industrial
class, or bourgeoisie, took political and economic power from the traditional land-owning class - the aristocracy and monarchy. In the
same process, Marxists predict that socialism will replace capitalism as the industrial working class, or proletariat, seize power from
the bourgeoisie through revolutionary action. In this way, Marxism is believed by its supporters to provide a scientific explanation for
why socialism should, and will, replace capitalism in human society

Leninism refers to the theories put forward by Russian revolutionary, political theorist, and politician Vladimir Lenin, the leader of
the Bolshevik Party, who was a leading figure in the October Revolution that overthrew the Russian Provisional Government and
replaced it with the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republicunder the rule of the Communist Party. Taking Marxism as its basis,
Leninism revolves around putting forward ideas for how to convert a capitalist state into a socialist one. Castro used Leninist thought
as a model upon which to convert the Cuban state and society into a socialist form.

On the Soviet Union and its leaders
On Israel and anti-Semitism
Public image
Further reading

Castro described two historical figures as being particular influences on his
political viewpoints: the Cuban anti-imperialist revolutionary José Martí "What talent and abilities! What thought,
what resolve, what moral strength! He
(1853–1895), and the German sociologist and theorist Karl Marx (1818–
formulated a doctrine, he propounded a
1883). Commenting on the influence of Martí, he related that "above all", he philosophy of independence and an
adopted his sense of ethics because: exceptional humanistic philosophy".
—Fidel Castro on Martí, 2009[2]
When he spoke that phrase I'll never be able to
forget – 'All the glory in the world fits into a grain of
corn' – it seemed extraordinarily beautiful to me, in
the face of all the vanity and ambition that one saw everywhere, and against which we
revolutionaries must be on constant guard. I seized upon that ethics. Ethics, as a mode of
behavior, is essential, a fabulous treasure.[3]
On the other hand, the influence which Castro took from Marx was his "concept of what human society is", without which, Castro
argued, "you can't formulate any argument that leads to a reasonable interpretation of historical eve

On the Soviet Union and its leaders

Although a Leninist, Castro remained critical of Marxist–Leninist Joseph Stalin, who was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941
to 1953. In Castro's opinion, Stalin "committed serious errors – everyone knows about his abuse of power, the repression, and his
personal characteristics, the cult of personality", and also held him accountable for the
invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany
in 1941. At the same time, Castro also felt that Stalin "showed tremendous merit in industrializing the country" and "in moving the
military industry to Siberia", things which he felt were "decisive factors" in the defeat of

On Israel and anti-Semitism

In September 2010, The Atlantic began publishing a series of articles by Jeffrey Goldberg based on extensive and wide-ranging
interviews by Goldberg and Julia E. Sweig with Castro, the first of which lasted five hours. Castro contacted Goldberg after he read
one of Goldberg's articles on whether Israel would launch a preemptive air strike on Iran should it come close to acquiring nuclear
weapons. While warning against the dangers of Western confrontation with Iran in which inadvertently, "a gradual escalation could
become a nuclear war", Castro "unequivocally" defended Israel's right to exist and condemned anti-Semitism while criticizing some
of the rhetoric on Israel by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, under whom Iran–Israel relations have become
increasingly hostile:

I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims. They have
been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. [Iran must
understand] Jews were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed
God. The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the

Asked by Goldberg if he would tell Ahmadinejad the same things, Castro responded: "I am saying this so you can communicate it."
Castro "criticized Ahmadinejad fordenying the Holocaust, and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of
Israelis fear for their existence".[6]
peace by acknowledging the 'unique' history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why

Public image
By wearing military-style uniforms and leading mass demonstrations, Castro projected an image of a perpetual revolutionary. He was
mostly seen in military attire, but his personal tailor, Merel Van 't Wout, convinced him to occasionally change to a business suit.[7]
Castro is often referred to as "Comandante" ("Commander"), but is also nicknamed "El Caballo" ("The Horse"), a label that was first
attributed to Cuban entertainer Benny Moré, who, on hearing Castro passing in the Havana night with his entourage, shouted out:
"Here comes the horse!".[8]

During the Cuban Revolution campaign, fellow rebels knew Castro as "The Giant".[9] Large throngs of people gathered to cheer at
Castro's fiery speeches, which typically lasted for hours. Many details of Castro's private life, particularly involving his family
members, are scarce as the media is forbidden to mention them.[10] Castro's image appears frequently in Cuban stores, classrooms,
taxicabs and national television.[11] Despite this, Castro had stated that he did not promote acult of personality.[12]

Castro took a relativelysocially conservative stance on many issues, opposing drug use, gambling, and prostitution, which he viewed
, and self-discipline.[13]
as moral evils. Instead, he advocated hard work, family values, integrity

1. Castro & Ramonet 2009, pp. 157
2. Castro & Ramonet 2009, pp. 147
3. Castro & Ramonet 2009, pp. 101–102
4. Castro & Ramonet 2009, pp. 102
5. Castro & Ramonet 2009, pp. 181
6. "Fidel to Ahmadinejad: 'Stop Slandering the Jews' " (
o-ahmadinejad-stop-slandering-the-jews/62566/) . September 7, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2011.
7. "In brief" (
. Arizona Daily Wildcat.
February 10, 1995. Retrieved August 12, 2006.
8. Richard Gott, Cuba : A new history. p. 175. Yale press.
9. Jon Lee Anderson. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life. p. 317.
10. Admservice (October 8, 2000)."Fidel Castro's Family"( Retrieved January 13, 2010.
11. "Americas | Ailing Castro still dominates Cuba"(
. BBC News.
August 11, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
12. "Fidel Castro (" PBS Online Newshour
February 12, 1985.
13. Bourne 1986, p. 200.

Further reading
Castro, Fidel (2009). My Life: A Spoken Autobiography. Ramonet, Ignacio (interviewer). New Y ork: Scribner.
ISBN 978-1416562337.
Theodore Draper: Castroism: Theory and Practice. New York: Praeger 1965.
Iain McLean,Alistair McMillan:The concise Oxford dictionary of politics. Oxford University Press 2009,ISBN 978-0-
19-920516-5, p. 66 (restricted online copy, p. 66, at Google Books).
Frank O. Mora, Jeanne A. K. Hey:Latin American and Caribbean Foreign Policy. Rowman & Littlefield 2003,
ISBN 0-7425-1601-6, p. 98-102 (restricted online copy, p. 98, at Google Books).

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This page was last edited on 31 March 2018, at 19:45.

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