Fidel Castro: A Friend of Revolutionary Movements & Leaders

by Ashahed M. Muhammad

January 1, 2009 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. In viewing many of the articles written regarding the United States and their view of Cuba and its president Fidel Castro, they miss the mark, often focusing on the fact that Cuba practices Communism. While his strident opposition to capitalism in a capitalistic world is definitely a reason, another reason is that Fidel Castro has backed many revolutionary movements with resources.

He is hated by the government of the United States of America and this is simply accepted as fact, however, many lack a fundamental understanding of the history of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. As a law student at the University of Havana, he was a key leader of the student-led radical nationalism that swept Cuba during the mid-40s. Fighting against corruption and injustice, he had been detained, questioned on numerous occasions and ultimately was imprisoned for his revolutionary activity.

At that time under the leadership of General Fulgencio Batista, Cuba was a place where gambling, corruption and prostitution were the order of the day and many powerful Mafia chieftains had considerable financial investments there. So, many wanted to move the country away from being a playground for the rich and the Mafia.

In 1952, Castro prepared to run for political office as a part of an anti-corruption coalition of political forces. Support for the rebel political movement was strong, but Batista—who had actually been out of political office for several years and living in Florida—returned and staged a bloodless coup using his influence. The Batista-led regime insured that corruption and vice remained unabated as the masses of the people continued to suffer under oppression and mired in a collective quagmire of poverty. The Batista regime shut down universities and outlawed any dissident political parties thinking this crackdown would squash the idealism of those who had been energized by the hope that their people could benefit from revolutionary action.

Castro continued to organize an opposition guerilla army. During a two-year battle, Batista ordered the killings of many thought to be rebel sympathizers in a brutal attempt to squash the revolution. Many were tortured and imprisoned and it is estimated that over 20,000 were killed.

There was an unintended and unanticipated backlash leading to the sharp growth of popular support swaying in favor of Castro’s revolutionary movement. After 25 months of fighting, General Batista and his henchmen fled on New Year’s Eve. In the first week of January 1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana, Cuba as the triumphant revolutionary leader of the people.

During Fidel Castro’s first goodwill tour and visit to the United States, specifically New York in 1960 as leader of Cuba, Castro stayed at the legendary Theresa Hotel in Harlem and used it as his temporary base of operations from which he conducted meetings with national and international leaders such as Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Malcolm X and Nikita Khrushchev of what was then called the Soviet Union.

Fidel Castro returned to Cuba continuing his plan to lead his people to independence by setting up businesses that would be owned and operated by the Cuban people. He kicked out the American corporations and initiated a program of educational reform insuring that all Cuban people, young and old, urban or rural would be able to read.

In March 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower enlisted members of the exiled Cuban community living in the United States, initiating a secret training program for those who would be willing pawns and tools of the United States government to attempt to overthrow Castro. It was discovered that many exiled Cubans enlisted as pilots using American airplanes to bomb their own people in Cuba, killing many civilians and destroying many of Cuba’s natural resources. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America continued to hatch plans to assassinate Castro and his key aides and leaders in order to destabilize the Cuban government, leading to the most notable military attack directed at Cuba by the United States, the historic Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961. The attack was repelled in 72 hours. Opposition groups financed by the United States were defeated and the United States was humiliated.

Fidel Castro continued to steadfastly back revolutionary movements across the globe. In support of the Vietnamese rebel movement led by Ho Chi Minh in 1971, Castro’s government sent medical supplies and food to the Vietnamese rebels and also trained teachers, doctors and farmers. In support of the Chilean revolution of Salvador Allende in 1973, Fidel Castro declared solidarity. The United States saw this as a threat and, through the CIA, backed a coup led by Augusto Pinochet that ultimately led to Pres. Allende’s death and the installation of a puppet government responsive to the needs and desires of the United States of America.

Cuba backed the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan Revolution in 1979 giving aid and assistance to the military, as well as health care and industry. Fidel Castro was a good friend and supporter of Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Ideological factionalism led to disunity and provided an opening for the United States to mount a successful invasion and regime change in Grenada in 1983, in what was called Operation Urgent Fury.

Many Cubans consider Africa as a mother country and are not ashamed of their African roots. Fidel’s revolutionary ideas spread to many rebel leaders and political movements in Africa and abroad such as Sekou Toure of the Republic of Guinea; Amilcar Cabral, leader of the rebel movement against the Portuguese imperial forces; and Julius Nyerere, the first president of the United Republic of Tanzania.

Many were shocked and surprised during Nelson Mandela’s triumphant trip to the United States after being freed after 27 years of unjust imprisonment when he refused to disassociate himself from Fidel Castro, due in large part to Castro’s military support for Angola’s push for independence from Portugal, which began in 1975.

The United States, again through the CIA, along with the apartheid government of South Africa, tried to maintain colonial control. Castro sent 36,000 troops to assist along with doctors, teachers and engineers, playing a key role in the Angolan revolution. He actually directed military operations from Cuba during the conflict. After military battles lasting over a decade, the South African Army was defeated in Angola—which was considered to have hastened the demise of the apartheid government of South Africa.

Fidel Castro is a symbol of post-colonial revolutionary success. Through the fall of the Soviet Union, which led to the loss of much of the Cuba’s financial backing, the people stand with Castro and now are beginning to receive financial support and business investment from other nations. Castro is loved by the people and leaders throughout Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. When the final testament of his life is written, Fidel Castro will be considered a freedom fighter advancing revolutionary movements across the globe.


Mychal Bell suffers a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Accidental or failed suicide attempt?

When I originally heard the news this morning about 18-year old Mychal Bell accidentally shooting himself in the shoulder, immediately, my journalistic instincts kicked in.  I emailed the Southwestern Regional correspondent of the Final Call Bro. Jesse Muhammad and asked "Did Mychal Bell accidentally shoot himself, or was it a suicide attempt?  He responded that he was looking into it and was waiting to hear back from Mychal's father to get the scoop. 

For some background, Mychal Bell was the central figure of the case of the "Jena 6" which galvanized grass roots activists and others like no other social justice case in recent memory. 

Jesse text messaged me saying that the lawyer is still saying that it was an accidental shooting, however, Suzanne Malveaux just reported on "The Situation Room" that the story of Mychal Bell may have indeed taken a tragic twist. CNN is reporting that Mychal was arrested on Dec. 24 for allegedly shoplifting about $370 worth of goods from a Louisiana mall.  After his arrest and subsequent release after $1,300 bond, Mychal, according to police reports, had been talking the past few days about the intense media scrutiny he had been under and remarked "he did not think he could live anymore."

I later received confirmation in a phone call from Brother Jesse who spoke with the family and it is true, Mychal Bell attempted to commit suicide. Additionally, medical complications have developed. One of his lungs collapsed and it is possible that he might not make it. 

Pray for Mychal, his family and  the other members of the "Jena 6" and their families.

Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney & Free Gaza Humanitarian missionaries allegedly attacked by Israel

View a video account from Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney:


President-elect Barack H. Obama and his well deserved vacation

(Photo courtesy: BarackObama.com)

Everyone who works hard deserves a vacation. Since he was elected on Nov.4, 2008, there is no denying that President-elect Barack H. Obama has been working hard.

A nearly full cabinet of highly-qualified individuals, almost 70% of Americans have been pleased with the way he has handled himself and the choices he has made and even Religious Right stalwart Pat Robertson has praised him for his cabinet picks. (For whatever that's worth!)

As I watched AC360 on CNN and some of the news coverage of President-elect Barack H. Obama's vacation in Hawaii, I was really glad that he actually took some time off to spend with his family. Their life has already changed immeasurably, and after January 20, 2009, it will definitely never be the same for Mr. Obama, his wife Michelle and his two daughters.

There are so many high expectations, so many promises to be kept, so many problems to be solved. He is inheriting a terrible mess caused by 8 years of GWB (Guns, War and Bloodshed) and his administration.

It will be interesting to watch. It already has been, and he hasn't even taken the Oath of Office!


More from April Ryan's interview w/ Minister Farrakhan

Here is an extended clip of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan breaking down the situation in Zimbabwe, America's corruption, and touching on the corruption scandal in Chicago surrounding embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who incidentally is preparing to speak to the press and the public at a press conference today at 2PM in Chicago.

This clip is a little over six minutes long and it was excerpted from an interview with American Urban Network's April Ryan.

Farrakhan speaks with April Ryan

Urban Warfare in America: White Supremacists in Law Enforcement and Military?

by Ashahed M. Muhammad

(FinalCall.com)--Plans announced by the U.S. Department of Defense to have 20,000 additional uniformed troops dispatched in America by 2011 have been met with criticism from former veterans, law enforcement officials and rights activists concerned that it represents the latest development in a continued blurring of the lines between law enforcement and military operations.

“We are very concerned about the possible constitutional violation of posting active duty soldiers in the United States in a police function,” said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. “We should be very concerned that President George W. Bush is trying to violate the spirit of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution by permanently basing active duty troops in the United States with the mission of performing police roles.”

Pentagon officials recently announced plans to bolster the security efforts of state and local law enforcement agencies in the event of a terrorist attack by creating “rapid-reaction forces” that would be able to intervene in attacks or other domestic disturbances likely to result in mass casualties.

Critics have asked if this “rapid-reaction” is really emergency preparedness, or is it actually a part of the gradual and continual escalation toward martial law that has occurred under the Bush Administration moving America closer towards a police state?

Read the entire article here:


One question, a suggestion and an update

QUESTION: Why is Bernie Madoff who "made off" with $50 billion is able to walk around his $7 million dollar apartment located on Park Avenue in NYC?

SUGGESTION: Minister Farrakhan's message yesterday at a anti-violence rally for youth in Chicago should be heard by every parent across the United States who loves their children and does not want to see them victimized by senseless acts of violence.

UPDATE: Minister Farrakhan was just interviewed by BET's Jeff Johnson for about 1 hour.


April Ryan of the American Urban Radio Networks interviews Minister Farrakhan

An Exclusive and Comprehensive interview of Minister Louis Farrakhan by American Urban Radio's April Ryan

Text from her website located at http://aprildryan.com/

"Alleged corruption around the world has Chicago resident, Nation of Islam Minister, Louis Farrakhan speaking out and on fire. He spoke recently at his home on the situation in Zimbabwe. Farrakhan recalled President Mugabe as the former freedom fighter, a man who once tried to tear down the apartheid system in South Africa.
President Bush is asking Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to step down again. This statement is in response to the deadly cholera outbreak there. Minister Farrakhan also speaks to the pay for play allegations involving Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat."

Go to http://aprildryan.com/ for portions of the interview.


Updates: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Free on Bail

CHICAGO-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is now free after posting $4,500 bond.

United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the arrest was made to put an end to a "political corruption crime spree."

In the 76 page federal complaint against the Blagojevich you can read the sordid details. Once you see it, you will understand why there aren't many who believe that Blagojevich will escape jail time.

Pretty much everyone is trying to figure out the identities of the five [Senate Candidates] whose actual names do not appear in the report.   

In no particular order, the names bounced around have been, top Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., and Rep. Danny Davis and Illinois Lt. Governor Pat Quinn.   None of the aforementioned individuals have been accused of any impropriety yet, however, strong circumstantial evidence is pointing to one individual in particular, who will probably be going down as more evidence is uncovered and released.

Pres. Elect Obama has not been implicated in any wrongdoing whatsoever.

Speaking at the press conference, Robert Grant, the FBI's special agent in charge in Chicago said at around 6AM this morning, they called Gov. Blagojevich.  Agent Grant said he woke Blagojevich up and let him know there was a warrant for his arrest.  He said Gov. Blagojevich asked "Is this a joke?" Grant replied no, and also said they wanted to do it quietly so as not to wake Blagojevich's children and with as little media attention as possible.  When asked if Gov. Blagojevich was handcuffed, Agent Grant simply replied "Yes, which is our standard procedure."

This is the second Illinois Governor in a row to have problems with corruption.  Mr. Blagojevich's predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan is currently in jail right now for influence peddling and corruption.

Here is a link to the federal complaint against Gov. Blagojevich that was distributed at this morning's press conference.  You can read the sordid details and experience the colorful language for yourself!

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Taken Into Federal Custody

CHICAGO-Embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who had been dogged by allegations of impropriety seemingly since day one in office was taken into Federal custody at his north side home earlier this morning.

There is a 11A press conference scheduled for the Dirksen Federal Building.

It had been alleged that Gov. Blagojevich engaged in "pay to play" politics and it had recently been reported that Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., had emerged as the front runner for Pres.Elect Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.   But according to the Federal criminal complaint, it appears as if Gov. Blagojevich held out to possibly fill the seat himself.

We have a copy of the Federal criminal complaint and will reporting on the developing events.


Take Another Look: Why not RICO for the Corporate Tycoons? No Bailout for the "Big Three" Automakers.

Like many of you, for the last few weeks of "America's Economic Downturn" the series, I have watched the irresponsible blame game, listened to the increased use of deceptive language and I have viewed the fake remorse of demonstrated by high priced corporate executives and paid for politicians.

I have listened to the very real outrage voiced by those who find themselves in the "middle class" as well as those suffering the worst - the working poor.

Why should the "Big Three" automakers: Ford, General Motors and Chrysler be rescued or "bailed out" because of their poor performance?

A majority of the financial analysts agree that in the short term, the failure of these three companies would have a detrimental effect on the American economy and consumer confidence would take a hit, but is it possible that in the long run, allowing the companies to go under would actually have a positive effect thus improving the economic situation?

First of all, giving the "Big Three" a financial bailout does not necessarily mean that these companies will return to health because their problems are systematic and operational in nature.
Toyota and Honda manufacture many of their vehicles at auto plants all across the United States. They are not standing in line asking for a federal financial bailout are they?

Evidently, there is something the executives at Toyota and Honda are doing right that keeps their employees happy and their cars on the road with a high level of customer satisfaction. Additionally, Toyotas and Hondas maintain high resale value and obviously, consumers like that. Why? Because first and foremost, people want quality products that are reasonably priced. This is not only true in America, this is true of consumers all across the globe.

America likes to portray itself as the quintessential capitalist model. A free market initiative society where anyone can make money if they try hard enough, but is this really true?

It seems to me that in a free market society, companies should be awarded for quality and innovation and not bailed out for improper management and lack of vision. And furthermore, I believe that all of the high priced corporate executives should have to surrender (or at least put up for collateral until things get straightened out) some of their cars, planes and properties, such as their huge villas and luxurious vacation homes in exotic locations all over the globe.

Perhaps they should be dealt with according to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act also known as RICO, especially if high level executives knew that the companies were hemorrhaging money, and continued to keep their common low-level blue collar workers in the dark.

In all financial schemes, those at the bottom of the pyramid always end up carrying the burden for those who are at the top. It is time to eliminate the pyramid schemes and move on to something better, something that destroys the old ideas and replaces them with newly refined minds filled with innovative ideas so that they can be free to implement their sharper visions.


President Elect Obama set to announce New Mexico's Bill Richardson as Commerce Secretary

A reliable source has told me that in a press conference tomorrow, President Elect Barack H. Obama is set to bring his 3rd vanquished political opponent into the fold when  he announces New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his nominee for Commerce Secretary.  Richardson has formerly served as ambassador to the United Nations and as the Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton.

So far, Joe Biden picked as his Vice-President, Hillary Clinton picked as his Secretary of State, Bill Richardson picked as Commerce Secretary. 


President Elect Barack H. Obama announces key members of Nat'l Security team

President Elect Barack H. Obama speaks at press conference on Dec. 1 announcing members of his national security team.
 Photo: Kenneth Muhammad

CHICAGO-President Elect Barack H. Obama rolled out his national security team in a press conference today downtown.

He announced the nomination of Sen. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, selecting  Robert Gates to remain as Secretary of Defense after 2 years in the Bush Administration, Eric Holder as Attorney General, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,  Susan Rice as Ambassador to the United Nations and Gen. Jim Jones, USMC (Ret.) as National Security Adviser.

"In this uncertain world, the time has come for a new beginning – a new dawn of American leadership to overcome the challenges of the 21st century, and to seize the opportunities embedded in those challenges. To succeed, we must pursue a new strategy that skillfully uses, balances, and integrates all elements of American power: our military and diplomacy; our intelligence and law enforcement; our economy and the power of our moral example. The team that we have assembled here today is uniquely suited to do just that. They share my pragmatism about the use of power, and my sense of purpose about America’s role as a leader in the world," said President-elect Obama.