Castro and Obama: Two of the world’s great leaders exiting the political stage this year 2016

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Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

ZUMA-Obama

Barack Obama

 

By Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa, Lusaka, Zambia

 

It is perhaps befitting that Fidel Castro has left the world’s political stage in the same year that one of the world’s most vexing questions has been answered in Cuba’s favour. That is that the United States policy on Cuba has been wrong and unjustified since its inception more that 50 years ago. President Obama’s visit to Cuba in early 2016 to normalize relations with Cuba was a testament to this realization and acknowledgment. Thus Castro went to eternal rest knowing that his eternal enemy, the USA had finally realized the futility and imbecility of its policy towards Cuba. And that despite all attempts to bring Cuba to its knees based on this wrong aggressive foreign policy came to naught and Cuba survived. 

 

When David Remnick, the Editor of the Prestigious Newyorker Magazine wrote his book on Obama entitled, “The Bridge” depicting Obama as the bridge president between old and new USA, he could hardly have known that the book also applied to the world at large. Obama was the world’s bridge President from old white US supremacist presidents who refused to give an inch to the dignity of other countries’ sovereign economic stirrings to the new world where the first non-white president in Obama recognized that this world is and should not be prioritized by white Anglo-Saxon Protestant economic, political, moral, religious and cultural values. Obama became the first post war US president to visit most American hot spots where white US presidents feared to tread: Nagasaki, Vietnam, and Cuba. He also signed a much feared but necessary nuclear non-proliferation pact with Iran.  Listen to Obama’s speech in Cairo extolling the virtues of how to reconcile Islam and western values, you will realize you lived in an era of a great president. No American President has ever made those speeches on race relations in America. They may not have amounted to much in visibly moving A to B but words mean a whole lot in history. They are a force unto themselves. The true impact may be down the road or even now in unforeseen and hidden crevices. When the record is finally tallied, history will record that Obama was truly the greatest American President in history in terms of both domestic and foreign policy reform successes despite unrelenting Republican roadblocks at home. Trump will not be able to reverse all of Obama’s successes. I have already written over 150 pages of published articles on the Obama Presidency and his greatness will be showcased when these articles are put as one piece. And others have written and will write.

 

It is befitting as well that Obama is winding his Presidency after attempting to normalize relations with Cuba and now the most vexing American foreign policy has been given an opening that America was wrong on Cuba. Obama ended up fulfilling Castro’s prescient tongue-in-cheek observation of 1974 when he jokingly said that US-Cuba relations with normalize when there will be a Black President in the US and a Pope in Rome from Latin America. Both happened in our life-time. Trump will never be able to reverse historical trajectories try as he may. He will score some successes here and there as history is won’t but the future relations between Cuba and the US that Obama mended, will endure.

 

Cuba was a Superpower to developing nations, thanks to Fidel Castro’s selfless justice-oriented foreign policy, just as America pretended to be the world’s superpower based solely on America’s selfish foreign policy interests. Cuba’s successful foreign policy has already been written a lot about. Cuba helped defeat Apartheid South Africa. As I am writing now, there are Cuban doctors in Zambia and many African countries working for free at Cuban expense improving the health care systems of Zambia and other countries. There are no such equivalent western doctors. As I am writing now, there are thousands of Zambian and other students including Americans training in Cuban medical schools for free at Cuban expense while there are no equivalent assistance programmes by western governments. The only western systems that exist are training of military and intelligence personnel to safeguard western interests and promote dictatorship in developing countries, including siphoning off of land, mineral and oil resources. Cuba is truly a positive partner of developing countries.

 

And I am not writing in the abstract. I have visited Cuba about 11 times and have been to almost all provinces of Cuba. There was no hunger in Cuba. I saw organized Sugarcane, Mango, Orange, Banana, Rice, Maize, etc plantations from which most developing countries can learn. When the Soviet Union collapsed and the embargo was unrelenting, tourism and agriculture saved Cuba. Tourism and Agriculture can save Zambia and every developing country.

 

Despite the stifling negative western propaganda about Cuba, there was no rebellion, partly because Cubans are well fed and secondly they knew that there were restrictions on their freedoms in order to prevent American repenetration of Cuba and bringing back Fulgencio Batista-type class divisions and false capitalist freedoms like those in favelas of Brazil, Mexico City and elsewhere. The critics never ask or answer the question: what should Castro have done in Cuba given that free elections would have led Americans sponsoring a reactionary party and stooges of American imperialism? It was the order of the day in Africa and Latin America and elsewhere. It wasn’t hidden. Where the Americans and Europeans failed to influence the elections, they overthrew the freely elected regimes. It is all written. I summarize most of that history in my book “Thoughts Are Free”, Chapter 9. I also have a poem in that Chapter on Castro which I wrote on the occasion of his 58th birthday. That poem was published in ‘Monthly Review” Magazine( New York,  November issue, 1984). Castro had a tough choice. It was a forced  choice. He chose not to be an American puppet. He chose to serve the interests of the Cubans, warts and all. Why should he have chosen to serve the interests of the Americans when the Americans chose not to serve the interests of the Cubans when they had a chance?

 

Castro is perhaps the last of the greatest revolutionary guerrilla leaders whose unselfish commitment to his country and people was unsurpassed. Venceremos.

 

Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa is a Senior Lecturer in Law student Zambian Open University, Lusaka, Zambia.

 

 

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11 Responses to Castro and Obama: Two of the world’s great leaders exiting the political stage this year 2016

  1. WELL WRITTEN WITH A GOOD REASONING

    KAPS
    December 7, 2016 at 9:04 am
    Reply

  2. So sad that you put Obama and Castro on the same sentence, it’s a oxymoron. Castro caught the rights of the oppressed, while Obama fought for the rights of gay people and state of Israel only. Obama couldn’t even attend the funeral of Castro for all Castro did for Africa, but Obama was in Israel this year to attend the funeral of their prime minister. What’s Obama’s presidency done for black Americans or Africa? Obama was a token president for white people. Next time get your facts together. Castro belongs to the pantheon as Mandela and Martin Luther king. Obama doesn’t have the legacy as that too will be quickly erased by Trump. Guantanamo prison is still open as Obama exits the White House. Obama is a house boy leader for white people and shouldn’t be associated with greatness.

    Pantheon
    December 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm
    Reply

  3. Have you considered what Obama did in the face of obstruction from the Republican Party? Do you know that Obama was reversed by Congress on Guantanamo? A US president may have all the ideas in the world but if congress or the courts say no, normally that is the end of it. Castro only had external opposition, not internal. The greatness of Obama is not measured by what Trump would do to his legacy. The legacy will stand on its own, no matter what. What did Obama for for Black people? The majority on the Obamacare roster are Blacks who had never been covered before. He appointed Black Attorney Generals, the first in US history. A lot of criminal reforms were implemented. On send on and on. How about Africa? Obama was the first US president to convoke an America-Africa summit, African leaders never took advantage of the opportunities offered by Obama. He couldn’t spoon feed them. I think it is you who has forgotten a lot of facts. Can any president do whatever they want? No, especially under a democracy where there are checks and balances. Obama could never be an exception. But thanks for your feedback and dialogue. This is how it should be, polite advocacy.

    Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
    December 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm
    Reply

    • George Bush secured more AIDS and malaria funding for Africa. Obama concerned a America-Africa business summit, what’s that really done for Africa? Name one economic policy issue that came out of the convocation? He distabilzed Libya. He hasn’t sent a single USA soldier in Nigeria to rescue abducted girls. But he has USA soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan because white peoples need him there. As for Obamacare do you know how expensive that is? There are more white peoples on USA welfare programs than black people. Castro and Mandela changed the world by standing up for what they believed and were hated by white people. Obama worked for the White system and never said anything impactful for black Americans. Google and listen to Louis Farrakhan of chicago for a black on black assessment of Obama’s legacy.

      Pantheon
      December 7, 2016 at 8:15 pm
      Reply

  4. To say Obama did so much for black people is like saying PF has done for Zambians

    Pantheon
    December 7, 2016 at 8:16 pm
    Reply

  5. I shouldn’t be led off my main focus which was that Obama’s domestic and foreign policies were better for the Black person and for America than any previous US president. I wasn’t compsring him to Mandela. My comparison with Castro was only to emphasize that both of these great men have left the political stage this year 2016. Obama was also president of the whole US and not just for Black America. It would have been totally Un presidential to mainly or only look at Black interests. Farrakhan, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are simply arm chair critics. Could Obama have done more. Yes. But he had constraints like every president. He wasn’t a village chief or head of a household where he could just snap his finger and everything would be done. Obamacare covered more blacks proportionate yo their population at Cheaper coverage rates than any president in US history. Don’t look elsewhere. Compare Obama to any president in US history. Obama was following American foreign policy and not African foreign policy. Africans had to grab opportunities offered by Obama but they didn’t. It was not Obama’s fault. Bush indeed did something regarding Aids in Africa but mainly only after he left power and then he disappeared. My focus was to compare Obama with previous US presidents in domestic and foreign policy. Point to any American president who surpasses him using my article as a base and nit your schema.

    Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
    December 7, 2016 at 10:47 pm
    Reply

  6. The article by the professor is very clear; it is not a comparison of President Obama and Castro. Obama was elected into office by whites given the fact that they are the majority of the population in the USA. If white people were to think the way Pantheon is portraying, Obama would never have become the first black president of the USA. We are all aware of the opposition President Obama faced from a Republican controlled Congress and later Senate. We were not deaf not to hear what President Obama said to African leaders when he addressed them at the US-Africa summit, Nairobi, Cairo and Addis Ababa. Obama was making an appeal to African leaders to give their people freedom, democracy, economic development. It is not a secret that most African leaders use brutal means to suppress their own people and that poverty and hunger are a result of bad policies that only secure African leaders in their positions. Pantheon seems to have only one eye and one ear focussing on the White race’s vices. Jesus came into the world to save mankind starting with the white people and then blacks and the rest. Human beings are all sinners/wicked regardless of race.

    Leadership is a serious matter
    December 8, 2016 at 12:41 am
    Reply

  7. The title says “two great world leaders”, and I just happen to agree Obama doesn’t deserve to be called a great leader. He has authorized and killed innocent Americans in the name of fighting terrorism. He destabilized Libya by over throwing ghadaffi. He has done nothing to close Guantanamo bay where citizens of the world have been held without court hearing. Obama just happened to be leader of the great nation, but he is no Castro or Mandela or even Ghandi or jimmy carter. Obama will go down in history as a mixed president (not black) who stood nothing for black people. He didn’t even have the balks to attend Castro’s funeral for fear of white backlash. He stood for gay rights than for human rights. He is the reason why your African governments are talking about gay rights and losing usa aid if they don’t endorse gay rights. The man is a good man, family man like you and I, but he is a coward and played it safe than Castro and Mandela or even Mugabe to say the least. Like someone already said, to say Obama is a great president is like saying lungu is a great president because he is liked by PFs.?

    Colonialist
    December 8, 2016 at 4:12 am
    Reply

  8. Colonialist you seem to avoid answering a simple question. Of all the American presidents including Carter, who did more for Africans in America and Africans abroad than Obama? Carter was a good president. What did he do or attempt to do for African Americans and Africans in Africa, compared to Obama? His Carter Centre endorses every election in Africa as free and fair, bumps here and there notwithstanding including the recent Zambian election. You do not know what opposition he faced with Guantanamo. He signed an order to close it but Congress refused to fundnthe operations of removing the detainees. Obama following American foreign policy and not African foreign policy indeed killed Gaddaffi and perceived enemies and this I clearly condemn. Read my article again at the end where I compare Castro’s foreign policy and that of American foreign policy. Could Obama have done mire, yes like every president. Trying to get me to say something comparing Obama to Lungu is beyond the pale and is un applicable. That was and is not my trajectory.

    Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa
    December 8, 2016 at 6:28 am
    Reply

  9. That’s the way to go bloggers. No insults but purely debating based on facts. I like the writer’s temparament as well – not reactive but listens to every arguement put forward!

    Concerned Citizen
    December 8, 2016 at 4:21 pm
    Reply

  10. Obama is what we call a house negro. One who spends energy tying to produce be to white peoples that a black can also be a leader of the most powerful country. He hasn’t sent a single USA soldier in Nigeria to help find the girls and yet he has continued to send USA boots in Iraq because of oil for white owned corporations. The fact the he chose to skip Castros funeral when that man did so much for Africa compared to USA that was giving bullets to the boers. Don’t call Obama a great leader among the great leaders like Castro. America wouldn’t have elected Obama if he was really black as in behavior and culture.

    Colonialist
    December 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm
    Reply

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