[Marxism] Petras' criticism of Fidel

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 12 09:00:24 MDT 2008

The heroism, sacrifice and committment of the FARC are
not in question. It's their political strategy that is
being discussed, reviewed and critiqued. Fidel Castro
argued that their taking and keeping of hostages for
extended periods of time was a mistake, and that they
should immediately and unconditionally release all of
the remaining hostages. He argued that they should at
the same time retain their weapons. This is a sign that
Fidel Castro doesn't have any illusions in the peaceful
nature or intentions of the Colombian oligarchy. Chavez
has called on the FARC to lay down their weapons, but
Fidel Castro has not done that. And that is basically
where James Petras is mistaken.

In the history of the Cuban Revolution, they did engage
in one famous kidnapping, called "Operation Fangio" and
a book was published about it recently in Cuba which is
still in print, in Spanish, only, as far as I'm aware.
that kidnapping lasted 25 hours, and was designed to 
make a few quick political points before releasing the
man, an Argentine race-car driver named Fangio. There
was a feature film made about that, though I have not
seen the movie myself. It was presented in 1999 at the
Havana film festival, however.

Armando Hart wrote an essay about Operation Fangio:

Rosalie Schwartz in her excellent historical narrative
PLEASURE ISLAND: Tourism and Temptation in Cuba (1995)
provides a fine summary of Operation Fangio within
the context of her broader narrative.

A Memory of Fangio
por Katia Cárdenas / Photo Archivo


It was February 25, 1957, and Havana witnessed the presence
of the best Formula One pilots. The city was hosting the
Grand Prix of Cuba, an international competition that
included among its participants Argentinean Juan Manuel
Fangio. The five times winner of the Formula One world
championship drove a Masserati 300S of the Brazilian
Madunina team, the same that had sponsored his participation 
the previous month in the 1,000 kilometers of Buenos Aires.

Pub.: 7/23/07, 06:06:10 PM

Although he did not have a good start, Fangio pressed on
until on the 68th lap he was in second place, behind the
Marquis of Portago. A few laps later he was heading the
race and kept leading it to the end, bettering such
experienced drivers such as Eugenio Castellotti, Harry
Schell, Phill Hill and Stirling Moss.

Half a century after that memorable race, the Havana
Historical Core pays homage at the Depot of the Automobile,
an institution that treasures vehicles of museum value. 
At Jústiz Alley, engineer Eduardo Mesejo transformed one of
the car props used in the film Operation Fangio into the
dummy of the Masserati 300S, complete in its striking blue
color and with the original insignia, a true replica of the
one that took Fangio across the finishing line.

But 1957 was not the date of Fangio’s only visit to Havana.
A year later, on Sunday, February 24, a few hours before
the start of the 2nd Grand Prix of Havana, Fangio was
kidnapped by the 26th of July Movement that opposed
Dictator Fulgencio Batista. The world champion was held for
26 hours until delivered to the Argentinean Embassy in
Havana. Operation Fangio, directed by Argentinean filmmaker
Alberto Lecchi, is based on those hours that Fangio spent
kidnapped in the Cuban capital.

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California
From: Jscotlive at aol.com
What this fails to point out is the role of the Colombian
oligarchy as a willing tool of US policy and imperialism in
Colombia and the wider region in order to maintain,
sustain, and entrench their own class privileges.

Too, I rather think the FARC are more than a pressure
group. An organization whose members have sacrificed their
lives and their liberty in the cause of social and economic
justice are more deserving than this kind of condescension,
wouldn't you say? Perhaps resistance is a more apt word to
describe them.

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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