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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Terms, and the Failure of Thought 
18th-Apr-2008 04:41 pm
In this case, it was a silly article referring to Castro as one with "early ideas of libertarian socialism."

Given Castro's impact on Cuba, one could only wish that Cuba had been seized by Pinochet, who was less bloody:

Cuba is not Chile under Pinochet or Argentina under the generals." It is not Chile under Pinochet—it is, and was, much worse. It is important to remind the credulous diggers of truth that immediately following the fall of Havana, the new regime quickly set forth a policy of revolutionary terror. It is estimated that 600 people were executed for connections, however dubious, to the Batista regime. None were afforded fair trials. As French historian Pascal Fontaine points out, at La Loma de los Coches prison alone "more than 1,000 'counterrevolutionaries' were shot in the years between the triumph of 1959 and the final liquidation of the Escambray protest movement." Fontaine also notes that "During the repressions of the 1960s, between 7,000 and 10,000 people were killed and 30,000 people imprisoned for political reasons." Even ignoring the executions and arrests in the following 25 years, Castro's murderous record far outstrips the number executed and "disappeared" by the Pinochet dictatorship.

In addition, Pinochet at least had the grace to step down after being voted out, while the military dictatorship of Cuba appears intact.
19th-Apr-2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
Pinochet was in power far less long. As a matter of fact, his procedure upon taking power - murdering several hundred supporters of the elected government - is exactly comparable to Castro's, except nobody had elected Batista. Pinochet resigned because his American bosses forced him to, just as he started his coup (after promising Allende time and again that he would do no such thing) because they told him to. All told, I do not see much of a difference, except that Pinochet run far less risks. And you seem to forget the small matter of the Videla tyranny in Argentina - over twenty thousand murdered in a decade or so - and several other bloodthirsty caudillos of both colours all over the Americas. I think this obsession with whitewashing Pinochet is pretty pathetic, on the whole.
19th-Apr-2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
Fewer killed is fewer killed, both on taking power and maintaining it. While that doesn't make him a wonderful human being, IT MAKES HIM BETTER THAN CASTRO, just as his economic record does -- which was the point of the comparison, and which you have missed, as you always do. The point behind it is in answer to your prior posts: socialism has a lot to answer for, and insisting that it is only an exercise in thought and hasn't been a disastrous historical reality is merely a distraction.

My "obsession with whitewashing" counts as two exaggerations in one phrase. Pretty tame. You can do better.
20th-Apr-2008 12:46 pm (UTC)
So in your system of values economic success is worth mass murder and a coup d'etat? Interesting. I wonder what the Founding Fathers would make of it.
20th-Apr-2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
Just as in your system economic failure is worth mass murder and a coup d'etat. I admit I kill fewer people than you do. You don't.
21st-Apr-2008 11:12 am (UTC)
I wish you would stop raising Aunt Sallies and trailing red herrings. That is no way to argue. Point one: I had said that all murderous caudillos are equally loathsome, left and right. If you deny that, then you are arguing that economic success justifies mass murder and tyranny. Point two: if your personal demonology insists that anything to the left of Richard Nixon means tyranny and mass murder, and, what apparently is worse to you, economic failure, I suggest you acquaint yourself with some reality outside the United States - including a number of spectacularly economically successful countries. There is very little you lot can teach Sweden or Germany in terms of economic success.

Edited at 2008-04-21 11:14 am (UTC)
21st-Apr-2008 11:19 am (UTC)
Oh, and by the way - why don't you just ASK me what I think of Socialism, instead of TELLING me what YOU think that I think? That, apart from anything else, is appalling manners.
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