Croatia, Communist Crimes and Fidel Castro’s Death

Cubans on Cuba mourn Fidel Castro's passing Photo: Ramon Espinosa/ Reuters

Cubans on Cuba mourn Fidel Castro’s passing
Photo: Ramon Espinosa/ Reuters


Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who died at the age of 90 on Saturday 26 November 2016, attracted divided views about him throughout his almost six decades in power in one form or another. Most saw him as a ruthless and murderous despot while others hailed him as a revolutionary hero. Of course the communists and former communists or their sympathisers or the left political sphere would hail Castro as a revolutionary hero, e.g. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, France’s Francois Hollande, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro etc. Today, though, we must see and acknowledge that no revolution that takes or took innocent lives or forced political compliance in people through threat of persecution and death can ever produce true heroes.

So far, the reaction from Croatia’s leadership – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has utterly disappointed. All the Croatian public has been told so far is that the President will be sending a telegram of condolences to Fidel Castro’s brother Raul and there has not been even a peep from PM Andrej Plenkovic as far as I could ascertain. To me such silence or staying away from public statements can only mean that both the President and the Prime Minister of Croatia are protecting the legacy of communism as opposed condemning it at this very moment when the whole world watches out for reactions to Castro’s death. Watching Davis Cup tennis finals in Zagreb, Croatia’s foreign minister Davor Ivo Stier commented that Castro was the trademark of communism in Latin America and that now, it’s expected that the transition toward freedom, toward religious freedom and democracy will be accelerated.

Fidel Castro was indeed one of important personalities of the 20th Century but there is no avoiding it: he was a tyrant, he was a dictator, he was a criminal, and he was a thug – nothing more and nothing less. Just count the number of his own people murdered at his or his regime’s behest. Just count the number of people that fled Cuba in fear for their bare lives. Just count the number of Cuban’s who did not succeed in fleeing but ended up rotting away in Castro’s political prisons. And, just take a look at the abject poverty in Cuba that spread like wildfire during Fidel Castro’s regime decades. In all this and more – how can anyone praise that man as hero!

Exuberant Cuban exiles in Miami celebrating Fidel Castro's death Photo:Gaston de Cardenas/ Reuters

Exuberant Cuban exiles in Miami
celebrating Fidel Castro’s death
Photo:Gaston de Cardenas/ Reuters

When Fidel died on Saturday life stopped on Cuba – mourning everywhere, shock on people’s faces, disbelief and confusion keeping their bewildered eyes wide open…masses shuffling along the streets like lost sheep … 9 days of national morning has been announced for Cuba…Across the waters in the US Fidel Castro’s death prompted joyous celebrations in the streets by Cuban exiles. All this reminded me of early May 1980 when communist Yugoslavia’s dictator and criminal leader Josip Broz Tito died – I was there in Zagreb, Croatia – exactly the same: everything stopped, life stopped, TV screens and movie screens went black, shops closed… At the time of the announcement of Tito’s death I happened to have been in a movie theater, watching a movie with friends – the movie stopped, screen was black, the announcement of death came, the movie-goers filed out of the theater, head down mostly, quietly and joined the shocked, lost hordes along the city streets and squares in disbelief. I was not one of those and noticed a few around me also wincing, not believing in what they were seeing. While communist Yugoslavia wept for Tito, the diaspora was overjoyed at his death. The diaspora knew what equality truly meant for it was living it in democracies across the world and knew that Tito had spoken of equality, brotherhood and unity, but really the only equality, brotherhood and unity was enjoyed by Tito and political operative – the communists – they lived that using other people’s money and other nations’ loans.

Fidel Castro (L) with Josip Broz Tito visiting Croatia's Brijuni 1976. Photo: The Museum of History of Yugoslavia/ Belgrade

Fidel Castro (L) with Josip Broz Tito
visiting Croatia’s Brijuni 1976.
Photo: The Museum of History of Yugoslavia/ Belgrade

Josip Broz Tito and Fidel Castro had their similarities and seemingly some differences. The latter is especially evidenced in the confrontation between Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito and Cuba President Fidel Castro on the direction and leadership of the Third World on the Sixth Conference of Nonaligned Countries in September 1979 in Cuban capital, Havana. One finds that there was an identity crisis among the Third World countries as to whether to maintain their neutrality with the U.S. and the Soviet powers or to side with either superpower particularly with the Soviet camp. At the conference in Havana Tito indirectly accused Castro of moving the Movement closer to the Soviet Union but one can well conclude that such an accusation against Castro was Tito’s lip service in order to appear as not leaning toward communist Moscow, which stance helped him rake in quite a sum of foreign loans and monetary support from the West for some years during the cold war decades. Whether Nonaligned or not, whether publicly or not, both Castro and Tito remained true to the communist block and both were criminals and dictators eliminating hundreds of thousands of their own people just like Stalin and communist Moscow did.
Saturday, 26 November 2016, US President Barack Obama and US President-elect Donald Trump released very different statements on the death of 90-year-old Castro, both of which came under fire on social media. Reactions to these statements have been varied from being labelled as too soft (as in Obama’s statement) or too harsh (as in Trump’s statement).

Cuban exiles in the US celebrate Fidel Castro's death Photo: David Santiago/ El Nueva Herald/ AP

Cuban exiles in the US celebrate Fidel Castro’s death
Photo: David Santiago/ El Nueva Herald/ AP

This is what Barack Obama said from The White House Saturday 26 November 2016:
Statement by the President on the Passing of Fidel Castro
At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.
For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.
Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.”

President-Elect Donald J. Trump Statement:
Today the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.

While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they richly deserve.

Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”

At this time of US presidency transition one doesn’t expect the outgoing president Obama to make any big waves but he could have done better for victims of communism (of which there are multitudes living in the US)  in his statement regarding Castro’s death. To my view Trump’s statement champions the plight of communist crimes victims. I am utterly disappointed with the lack so far of Croatia’s president’s statement regarding the significance of Fidel Castro’s life and death. Such lack of statement can only suggest lack of commitment to full condemnation of communist crimes. Fidel Castro’s death presents an opportunity for driving yet another nail into the coffin of communism, against which totalitarian and cruel regime Croatia lost many lives both during Tito’s communist regime and during the 1990’s Homeland War when it split from Yugoslavia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. It’s funny you should bring this up Ina. Only last night, President Kolinda and I were discussing Castro’s death as we enjoyed an intimate supper at a discreet hotel in Zagreb.
    “What did you think of Castro” I asked her as I peeled a prawn.
    “My darling Whelky” she breathed. “Let’s not talk of him tonight. Tonight is for love my darlingest darling!”
    I immediately called the police and had her arrested.

  2. Thank you for the information in this excellent article. It was a very good read that I did enjoy getting to read. I am going to reblog this one for you.

  3. Hasta Siempre comandante Fidel….
    Viva la revoluzion….

    • Translation of comment by Yusuf: Until Always, Commander Fidel ….Long live the revolution
      REPLY: You can have your revoilution, Yusuf, Fidel’s victims had no chance of having theirs…but, God willing, their descendants might…

  4. From Facebook: Great article Ina, sums up both communist regimes as ruthless rulers

  5. ” I am utterly disappointed with the lack so far of Croatia’s president’s statement regarding the significance of Fidel Castro’s life and death. Such lack of statement can only suggest lack of commitment to full condemnation of communist crimes. Fidel Castro’s death presents an opportunity for driving yet another nail into the coffin of communism……”
    But, the dilemma here is that no elected representative in Croatia wants to drive any nails into the coffin of communism. They are all happily working in a broken system, in a corrupt system, in an un-lustrated system, that is “democratic” and “Croatian” in name only but not in substance. In particular, our President, has publically stated on more than one occasion where her sympathies lie in regards to NDH (Croatian nationals) vs Jugoslavia (multinational communists) – touting the glories of “antifascists” who for all their protestations and ruses to the contrary in the Croatian experience were/are communists. Yet another example of the absurdity and obstinance of the old guard and its supporters, clinging to straws in an attempt to justify their existence!

    Za Dom Spremni!

    • Eh Velebit, ’tis so, ’tis so …well aware of their weakness, which is staged – no one will condemn their own fathers etc… still a nation might … need to keep on pushing…

  6. I have been in Cuba many times over the years (as a tourist), and I have seen Cuba inside out, from east to west, from north to south. I have seen just about every major city and province and I wouldn’t say one bad thing about Cuba.
    I was in Cuba first time in 1990 and since I have been going to island every year and sometimes twice, and I can say there is been so much change in just about everything. Cuban people are nicest people you can meet. They are happy, they loved their Fidel (that’s how they called Castro) educated, ready to invite you to their homes, and above all very smart.
    I can say nothing was wrong with Castro and Cuban government. They had accomplish more than many of their neighboring countries, and countries around the word and yet they kept their independence.
    What is wrong why Cuba didn’t do even better, is the fact that American government (and allies) with all the negative propaganda , and embargo on trade lasted 60 years. How in the word you can prosper like that and blame it squarely on Castro.

    • Well rb, opinions differ, certainly, but not all Cubans like Castro, indeed that’s evidenced by the numbers in exile and those murdered by the regime – true as I understand education and health care are accessible to all which is great but if one has lots of educated people that cannot earn the wage educate should guarantee then one has a problem. Of course Cubans are nice people, there are nice people everywhere particularly there where a regime goes ahead unhindered and yes embargoes do limit what one can do but there are ways of getting aroundit especially if embargoes are not UN ratified – I’m not certain whether the US embargo became a UN embargo, will look into that but somehow I do not think it so on a blanket principle etc

  7. Paul Craig Roberts
    Fidel Castro, RIP
    Fidel Castro and Che Guevara led a people’s rebellion against Fulgencio Batista, who had established himslf as a dictator in a military coup in 1952. In 1959 the Batista regime collapsed.
    According to Wikipedia, “Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans. Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large US-based multinationals who were awarded lucrative contracts. To quell the growing discontent amongst the populace—which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations—Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. For several years until 1959, the Batista government received financial, military, and logistical support from the United States.”
    The US government had the option of accepting the Cuban Revolution and working with the new leaders. Instead, Washington drove Cuba into Soviet arms by denouncing Castro as a communist and a dictator, by imposing sanctions that have outlived Castro, and by preparing plans for regime change.

    • One dicator and murderer replaced by two dictators and murderers – sorry rd I personally hold Fidel and Guevara responsible for many innocent lives loves or lives lost due to political discrimination etc …nobody said I don’t think Batista was any different… There cannot be freedom under a one-party political system, sorry, lived it for decades so speaking from relatively solid experience…

  8. Where are Cuba’s missing?

    So, that is the point of this Vukovar Remembrance of 25 years ago, the missing are still missing! With 25 years of Remembering, the 25 years of Croatian governments have failed to achieve, even failed to try to achieve, secretly know grave-sites in villages around Vukovar.

    For the families of the victims of the JNA executioners, where are the missing buried. This question is foremost what these families remember for all these 25 years!,” Connor Vlakancic

    Where are Cuba’s missing, waiting as are victims of communist crimes on humanity!

  9. End of the reign of terror and Godlessness.Castro was the butcher of the Cuban people.


    • You need to do much better in acknowledging the real criminals, Superduque777 than accusing people of being what they are not when they show the truth such as Fidel’s crimes, but then again communists never did recognise their crimes, they justified them…Here’s a little sample of Fidel’s regimes criminal ways “”On May 27, [1966,] 166 Cubans — civilians and members of the military — were executed and submitted to medical procedures of blood extraction of an average of seven pints per person. This blood is sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint with the dual purpose of obtaining hard currency and contributing to the Vietcong Communist aggression.

      “A pint of blood is equivalent to half a liter. Extracting this amount of blood from a person sentenced to death produces cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. Once the blood is extracted, the person is taken by two militiamen on a stretcher to the location where the execution takes place.”

      — InterAmerican Human Rights Commission, April 7, 1967

      This weekend marks the 47th anniversary of the triumph of the “26th of July Movement,” which many Cubans expected would return their country to a constitutional government. Fidel Castro had other ideas of course, and within weeks he hijacked the victory, converting the country into one of the most repressive states in modern history.”

      You can enjoy in your memories of Fidel Castro as much as you like Superduque I don’t need a single bit of it, am utterly happy without memories of communist crimes.

  11. Over the weekend, the “Washington Post” ran an editorial about how Castro has hurt Cuba over the years. It’s nothing to celebrate.

  12. Thanks Ina. Well said. There is a ton of info on the web about Castro’s evil crimes, not least of which are: the jailing and execution of opponents, the suppression of the Church, and driving 20 percent of Cuba’s residents into the sea, to flee to democratic America or to drown trying.
    Anyone, (read the left) who defends the criminal should be forced to live in Cuba. Period. It’s akin to the vile Yugoslavs who praise their bloody dictator Tito.

    On another note, Glasnovic will keep you busy:ć-Protiv-Hrvatske-se-vodi-psihološki-rat;-na-presicu-uletio-Pernar.htm

    Zivjela ti nama!

  13. so strange how history is altered – will the US write of him as though he was a hero?

    • Interesting thought, Helena, perhaps US will do a flip on that, who knows – there’s a saying in Croatia regarding politics: “Politics is Martha, and Martha is a whore” 🙂

  14. Just posted this on here Ina should be extremely interesting if Trump cancels deal with Cuba that Obama setup to deal with the Castro terrorists as he lifted sanctions for one reason only trade putting profit before people as usual … Here’s your post link

    • A friendship with Putin may be actively responsible for any backward moves in dealing with terrorists and communist criminals, Ian – cheers and thanks

  15. The faces of the world are indeed changed this year. Who knows what next year will bring

  16. This is a great post and you have highlighted very important points here dear Ina… I have my Reluctances when it comes to leftish governments… Their abusses are most times evident and brutal as you have said… And still I believe that the cuban case is a “different” one… a little country always condemned to the yoke of Spain, firstly and then United States, for so many years… when countries were already liberated and slavery has been abolished…
    I guess Obama´s attitude was quite loable and I am glad for Cuba that the UN vetoed the embargo, as US and Israel basically did not voted against it as they have been doing for decades. I hope that they can find a new path towards a better future, as paradigms and fossilized forms shape into new ones and try to adapt to the new global order….
    Wishing you happy holidays and sending all my best wishes to you!!! 😉

    • What you say stands Aquileana, “enslaved” small countries have a had utter hard paths to independence, still “glory” is much diminished when mass crimes against innocent people are committed…I too hope new ways will be found to forge ahead with brilliance, the past can always be reconciled with good will


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