Comandante Caudillo

Submitted by ub on Sat, 08/13/2016 - 10:22

At 90 and still clinging to power, while amassing riches as the poor people of Cuba dream of freedom and liberty, can a comandante caudillo stay healthy enough to push ahead with his Cubanism revolution?

The answer is complicated after the Cuban strongman established the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere following the violent overthrow of the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. The Castro brothers have ruled over Cuba for nearly six decades. Fidel handed off power to his younger brother, Raúl in 2008.

The term comandante caudillo originates from Cabeza, or cabezon, which means big or hard headed and stubborn in Spanish, and describes the leader of a political faction, often linked to a band of armed men.
This term initially had the positive connotation of an individual fighting in defense of his land, but it gradually became linked to authoritarian rule and was used pejoratively. Caudillos began their careers at the local level, and some garnered national support. Many took over the government of a country and were successful in maintaining it, while others faced strong opposition. In some areas, they derived their power from the army, while in others they counted on their dependents.

Caudillos were also regarded as significant in Bolivia and Peru, appearing in the early 21st century. In the cases of Mexico and Venezuela, where caudillos were also noteworthy in the 19th century, the experience of the 20th century has been overshadowed by the leader of the Communist party in Cuba Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz commonly Fidel Castro, who celebrates his 90th birthday today. Events are being held across the country, and his birthday comes after US President Obama and his brother Raúl restored diplomatic relations, which Fidel has strongly rejected.

The revolutionary icon has kept out of the public eye in recent years only speaking to school children in April. Fidel refused to meet with President Obama when the democratically elected U.S. president visited in March. Castro wrote shortly afterward, “We don't need the empire to give us anything.”

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In the spirit of transparency, I was born in Cuba, where I lived the first decade of my life. First under the shadow of a dictatorship and later under communism, after Castro warmed up to Russia. A word to the wise, I would never recommend either system of government.