What William Mandel learned from Fidel's May 1 speech

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue May 6 09:52:32 MDT 2003

One of the most thoughtful writers on
political topics is William Mandel. He
no longer sees himself as a socialist
or a Marxist, but I would call Mandel (who stood up dramatically to the
House Un-American Activities Committee back in 1960)
a radical democrat in the very best
sense of the term. Great comments
on Fidel's speech pointing to the
threat of fascism in the United States
of America at this time.
Walter Lippmann

----- Original Message -----
From: "William Mandel" <wmmmandel at earthlink.net>
To: <undisclosed-recipients:>
Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2003 11:16 PM

I received this before noon. It is now bedtime and I simply can't
believe that no one has seen fit to comment on it, although I daily see
posts snapped out within minutes about statements by world figures.

Fidel Castro has never been one to cry wolf. In recent years he
has been, if anything, more diplomatic toward existing great-power
governments. and specifically Washington, than his well-wishers would
like. In the film COMANDANTE, in which Oliver Stone boils thirty hours
of interviews last year down to ninety minutes of essentials, Castro is
essentially an old man presenting the distilled essence of what he has
learned in his three-quarters of a century of life involving an
extraordinary richness of experience in world affairs.

Now he has clearly decided that Bush' success in eliminating the ruler
of Iraq and the statements of intent by the occupant of the White House,
many of which Castro quotes in this speech, means that an American
attempt at "regime change" in Cuba by shock and awe can be expected at
any time. So the Cuban president sets forth his country's record (we
would say his record) foreign and domestic, in a manner and with
specifics never previously presented by anyone, including himself,

It is not news that Cuba has excellent free medical and educational
systems. But here he spells them out in detail, and names things that he
claims have no precedent worldwide. Certainly I, as a Soviet affairs
scholar, recognize that the USSR never offered some of what he

Nor is it news that Cuba sent armed forces to assist
trans-oceanic countries emerging from colonial or semi-colonial status.
But most of us, including myself, think of that chiefly with respect to
Angola. The list of places in Africa he mentions is astonishing and
quite specific in each case. And I, with considerable interest in Near
Eastern affairs, had never heard that Cuba had a military brigade in

With respect to the United States he describes Bush as
neo-fascist. But he expresses the view, quite clearly as a
thought-through opinion and not a p.r. compliment, that the traditions
of this country can lead to defeat of that trend. He also points out
that corporate control of the media to the contrary notwithstanding,
access of millions here to the Internet offer an effective means of
preventing a monopoly of ideas.

This speech is Castro's legacy but also his challenge. He
declares that his country will not be defeated, no matter what his
personal fate, and he challenges humanity to prevent the attack against
it and to support it if that attack comes.

William Mandel

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