The Revolting Cuban Revolution Turns 50: Reason's coverage over the years

The Castro-led Cuban revolution turns 50 on January 1, 2009 and Reason looks forward to a time—hopefully in the very near future—when the country's dictators have receded into memory and U.S. policy, especially the idiotic, illiberal, and ineffective trade and travel embargo, are things of the past.

Here's a short list of representative Reason's coverage of the island prison over the years. For a full listing, go here.

Dumb Man Talking: Sean Penn stumps for Cuban Communism, Michael C. Moynihan, December 11, 2008

Fidel's Favorite Propagandist: How a New York Times reporter's passion for Castro led him astray, Glenn Garvin, November 2007 print edition

Havana Hustle: Cuba's New Socialist Man learns to wheel and deal, Damien Cave, August/September 2003 print edition

Foul Ball: How a communist dictatorship and a U.S. embargo has silenced a Cuban historian, Matt Welch, June 2002 print edition

Che's Secret Diary: The guerilla hero as dispirited racist, Cynthia Grenier, June 2002 print edition 

Orphans of Trade: How to help all of Cuba's children, Nick Gillespie, February 2000 print edition


Killer Chic: Hollywood's Sick Love Affair with Che Guevara, written and directed by Ted Balaker, edited by Alex Manning, December 11, 2008. (Go here for embed code and related materials.)


"The Default Should Be Freedom": Rep. Jeff Flake on U.S.-Cuba Policy, shot and edited by Dan Hayes, March 17, 2008. (Go here for embed code and related materials.)

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  • lurker, bold||

    i do not understand this magazine's morbid fascination with the most progressive nation in the western hemisphere.

    they have universal healthcare and full literacy. no bursting housing bubble either thanks to universal planned housing.

  • Lester Hunt||

    For as long as I can remember, the American left has had a dictatorship or a tyrant somewhere in the world that they were in love with. It's a sickness.

  • Elemenope||

    It wasn't the revolution that was the problem (unless you are a Batista-fluffer). It was the government that followed.

    And, p.s., that one has a lot to do with boneheaded American diplomacy. Not exactly "our fault", but we helped it along.

  • VM||

    nice one, lefiti!

  • ||

    Uh, LMNOP, Mr. Burns is the reason the government that followed survived. Try to place your blame correctly, mm-kay?

  • lurker, bold||

    cuba needs some bail out money so they can be a more productive, progressive partner in our hemisphere.

  • Elemenope||

    especially the idiotic, illiberal, and ineffective trade and travel

    Also, someone slap the editors. They're going all alliterative. Maybe it's a stutter.

  • EJM||

    Just in case, the full Google News story cluster concerning the anniversary is here.

  • BakedPenguin||

    One of the ironies about the revolution is that Batista was the son of a cane field worker and an army NCO. Castro was the son of a cane field jefe, and a lawyer. So much for proletarian "cred".

  • Les||

    For as long as I can remember, the American left has had a dictatorship or a tyrant somewhere in the world that they were in love with. It's a sickness.

    It's a sickness shared by the right as much as by the left.

  • lurker, bold||

    progressives are not tyrants, by definition.

  • ||

    Marx and Engel didn't slave away in the textile mills either. Socialism is an affectation of idle intellectuals.

  • Elemenope||

    Socialism is an affectation of idle intellectuals.

    Yeah. That is why Stalin was born to a cobbler and a serf-farmer in Georgia, and Khrushchev was the son of a coal miner and a serf-farmer.

    You really nailed it there.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    El - I read that as a comment on the present state of affairs, not on history.

    Regardless, it is usually dumb people who think socialism is great. How many of us, when we were retarded and say, 16, said things like "Socialism - great in theory but bad in practice! If only we had the right people..."?

  • ||

    "Yeah. That is why Stalin was born to a cobbler and a serf-farmer in Georgia, and Khrushchev was the son of a coal miner and a serf-farmer."

    If Stalin had been an actual Socialist rather than a Leninist totalitarian mad man, you might have nailed it to. Sadly, you didn't.

    Further, how exactly is American diplomacy responsible for Castro being a repressive bastard? Yeah, maybe things might have been better if the US had traded with Cuba, but no amount of diplomacy was going to stop Castro from turning the place into a prison Island an amount of US blundering relives him from responsibility for doing so.

    Since when did you become such an apologist? What is next, are you going to tell us about the free healthcare and education in Cuba?

  • Elemenope||

    How many of us, when we were retarded and say, 16, said things like "Socialism - great in theory but bad in practice! If only we had the right people..."?

    I think the actual rule is:

    Socialism sometimes works in groups of twenty-five or fewer volunteers.

    For example, most close-knit groups of friends operate under a "to each according to his needs..." sort of rule, to a point.

    ----

    Further, how exactly is American diplomacy responsible for Castro being a repressive bastard? Yeah, maybe things might have been better if the US had traded with Cuba...

    It's awesome when you answer your own questions so I don't have to.

    Since when did you become such an apologist?

    Get your reading glasses checked. I wrote that the revolution itself wasn't the problem...because it wasn't. It was a revolution, i.e. an overturning of the prior government. Bloody, messy, as revolutions tend to be, and certainly can be criticized on that basis, but the fact of revolution had little to do with what followed.

    And much as you would like to no true scotsman your way around the fact that many of the Russian communist leaders were dirt-as-fuck poor, it is a cluster of historical facts. I'm so sorry it doesn't fit in with your "socialists are all a bunch of wealthy people who want to scam the poor" schtick. Some people actually *believed* this stuff.

  • Douglas Gray||

    I'm no fan of Scandanvian Socialism, but there is a huge difference. Cuba has never allowed its citizens the basic fundamental right travel freely and/or move out of the Country and live elsewhere if they don't like Cuba.

  • KT||

    Wait, am I crazy did the president not just choose to bail out the auto companies after Americans voted not to?

    Oh well, I'm sure we can all find a way to blame that socialist nonsense on liberals somehow.

  • Peter||

    I have always believed that Cuba has made economic realtionships with countries around the world, including the United States. I do not believe that Fidel Castro is so lucky, to not have been assasinated, in fifty years, by his enemies or in reality, his associates.

    American born, with Cuban parents, I have always heard the horror stories and disbelief, on how such a terror, can maintain and continue to live so long. And my answer has and will always be, ECONOMICS.

  • ||

    It amazes me that as a nation we can go half-way around the world to depose a genocidal dicator in a war that takes eight years to prosecute and nearly $1 trillion dollars.

    Yet, we allow this vile pit of an evil country to exist less than 100 miles off of our southern border that would take a couple of BCTs maybe a week to dispatch.

    The fact that the US has not invaded Cuba and desposed that murderous bastard Castro and his flunkies should be a matter of national shame.

  • ||

    Tom,

    What's the Bay of Pigs?

  • ||

    It wasn't the revolution that was the problem (unless you are a Batista-fluffer). It was the government that followed.

    Yeah, that's kind of the pattern of these of things. A revolution to topple one scumbag, followed by a putsch to install another one.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Socialism is an affectation of idle intellectuals.

    ...unlike, say, libertarianism.

    Since when did you become such an apologist?

    John is the guy who looks around out the corner of his eyes, to see who stops screaming at Goldstein first.

  • ||

    For example, most close-knit groups of friends operate under a "to each according to his needs..." sort of rule, to a point.

    Not when the shit hits the fan. It's trade for value, or go sit on a cactus cock.

  • Elemenope||

    Not when the shit hits the fan. It's trade for value, or go sit on a cactus cock.

    You have shitty friends.

    "Good friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies."

  • Rex Rhino||

    Cuba serves an important function in U.S. society. Cuba is only a quick motorboat ride from the U.S.. Pretty much any American could hitchhike to Florida, then raft to Cuba with minimum risk (OK, sorry Alaska and Hawaii). A real deal socialist country that is more than happy to accept American 'refugees' (and treats them quite well) is waiting for any American who wants it.

    Cuba's function is to prove that your typical American Marxist doesn't really believe the hype. Far left politics in the U.S. is really status posturing... Most Marxists don't really want any sort of revolution (or at least a successful revolution), it is much funner to play the role of would-be revolutionary while enjoying all the benefits of a capitalist society.

  • ||

    Dear "lurker, bold"

    You do recognise that universal healthcare includes years of waiting for "modern" technology to be imported, years after we have written it off, and no bursting housing bubble, as there is almost no (fiat-)money to be floated around?

    And the /universal planned housing/ avails a whopping appearance on "worldmapper" under the headings "Poor sanitation", "Poor Water", "Overcrowded houses", "Urban slums"

    Yeah, progressive... towards what?

  • TH||

    "especially the idiotic, illiberal, and ineffective trade and travel embargo" ...you forgot ineffective. I shudder to think that the embargo was dreamed up during the EISENHOWER administration and held to by ten american presidents. When are we going to change strategy!?

    Read more at http://www.thehegemonist.com/2008/12/end-cuban-embargo-to-end-communist.html

  • Comrade Laissez-Faire||

    I recommend the award-winning libertarian-leaning blog of Havana-based Cuban dissident Yoanni Sánchez.

    If you don't read Spanish, just click on the little British flag icon above each blog commentary for the English translation:

    http://desdecuba.com/generaciony

  • JB||

    I too doubt lifting the embargo would do more than appease the simple minds of the third world so easily maniuplated by propaganda. No embargo exists with China and Vietnam, yet freedom continues to elude those and many other Asian nations. Freedom may be a cultural or perhaps inherently individual quality only present when enough like-minded people gather to institute defend it. Those qualities make it a rarity in the world. Contrastingly, socialism may be more desirable to the masses if it brings order (even if it means oppressive government and extensive poverty). The third world prefers government-guaranteed poverty than cycling through poverty and prosperity ("mo money mo problems").

  • Joshua Holmes||

    Cuba's function is to prove that your typical American Marxist doesn't really believe the hype. Far left politics in the U.S. is really status posturing... Most Marxists don't really want any sort of revolution (or at least a successful revolution), it is much funner to play the role of would-be revolutionary while enjoying all the benefits of a capitalist society.

    Only if you think Marxists value politics above everything else.

  • B||

    "It's a sickness shared by the right as much as by the left"

    Name me one dictator that the right idolized rather than merely tolerated because he was an irritant to the Soviet Union or some other communist shithole of a country. And I don't seem to remember Republican politicians and right-wing actors taking jaunts to Chile to hang out with Pinochet, nor do I remember those on the right wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the faces of murdering right-hand men.

  • ||

    I love how Cuba continues to $hit in Uncle Sams sandwich.

    Viva Fidel !

    Hasta la Victoria Siempre :o)

  • ||

    see the photo in article on "Rebajas" http://desdecuba.com/generaciony/index.php?paged=2

  • Nick Manley||

    I have never had illusions about Castro's tyranny, but the revolution is more complex then him. The previous dictator hardly qualified as a classical liberal icon either.

  • ||

    Che = Hero

    Fidel = Hero

    BU$H = Genocidal retard

    This site = Lame Douchebags

  • Dreadnaught||

    This is the only picture of Che that is worth viewing, just before he was executed in a schoolhouse in Bolivia.

    http://dreadnaught.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/shining-what-i-just-thought-it-was-cute/

  • ||

    It really cracks me up, when I see the word, "progressive," as a description of communist countries and political hacks. Perhaps the term, "Power Pigs" would be more appropriate. Not only do they want political power, they want to control every economic activity of their "free" people. Economics is based on a NATURAL activity between and amongst people. I can for example fix your car, but you can do something else for me or give me something. We do this via "money," so to eliminate the need for barter. Economic theories that make it a crime to do what's natural are in themselves criminally inspired, by those who think they know it all, and want their greedy lusts for power satisfied. Their followers are mere sheep, and are unworthy of even the slightest respect. Those who want to live in communist countries fall into one of two categories: Sadistic, greedy Power Pigs, and masochistic martyrs to their own self interests. I suggest that any American who is a "progressive" move to a "progressive" snake pit.

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