Retire the Revolutionary Myth

By Krauze, Leon | Newsweek International, March 3, 2008 | Go to article overview

Retire the Revolutionary Myth


Krauze, Leon, Newsweek International


While strangling Cuba's economy, the United States lost its grip on the imagination of much of Latin America's youth.

It was from Mexico that Fidel Castro launched the Cuban revolution half a century ago. It was there that he met Che Guevara, and there where he trained his comrades in arms. For years after, Mexican politicians treated "El Comandante" with respect, fear or just plain awe. And for good reason. When they haven't, they've paid for it: after President Vicente Fox tried to limit Castro's role in the Summit for Development in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002, Castro responded by releasing the tape of their supposedly private conversation to the press, humiliating Fox. "He knows nothing about politics," Castro would later say.

So Mexico is the perfect place to gauge how Latin Americans at large now feel about the recently retired strongman. A few hours after Fidel released his grip on Cuban politics last Tuesday, I ran a survey of Mexican public opinion via a nightly radio show that I do from a studio in Mexico City. The question was simple: has Castro been good or bad for Cuba? The show received dozens of calls almost immediately, with callers reflecting Latin America's deeply ambiguous relationship with Castro and his legacy.

Younger callers, especially those who had been to Cuba, denounced Castro's regime. Javier Castillo called to say he had visited Havana in 2007 and found "a miserable country, where people offer their daughters to tourists and everything is falling apart." A 23-year-old student declared Castro to be "an anachronism." But a majority of callers concluded that the dictator had been good for Cuba. "He was a hero," said Teresa de Jesos Garcia, from the northern state of Durango. A vehement Mario Vallarta called from Guadalajara: "Fidel Castro has given dignity to the Cuban people, and that you just don't buy at the supermarket!" Guillermo Lopez added that "Fidel has given education and free health services to all Cubans. We only wish we had something like that here."

What explains this enduring affection? First, there is the original freedom and romanticism that the Cuban revolution, at its very beginning, represented for those who remember 1959 or lived through the transition. Eliseo Alberto, among the best of the many exiled Cuban writers, resents Castro almost instinctively. But when asked about the first stages of the revolution, he instantly describes them as "a beautiful thing." The Cuban revolution has become, in Latin American mythology, a unique act of successful liberation from the powers that be. Castro's accomplishments were not insubstantial: his initial defeat of Fulgencio Batista and his half-century battle against the U. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Retire the Revolutionary Myth
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.