Weekend Reading: Hamilton: "The Science of Politics... Has Received Great Improvement..."
Jaybird Has a Good Response to the Crazies Out This Morning: "Vladimir, Joseph, and Zedong"

Fidel Castro Dead at 90

Preview of Fidel Castro Dead at 90

AP: Fidel Castro Dead at 90: "HAVANA (AP) — Cuban President Raul Castro has announced the death of his brother Fidel Castro on Cuban state media. Fidel Castro was 90 years old..."

Some teabaggers like Augusto Pinochet. Some herbal teabagger liked Fidel Castro. Peas in a pod:

Chris Bertram (2008): Castro Retires: "I haven’t looked yet, but I’ve no doubt that there’ll be lots of posts in the blogosphere saying “good riddance” to Fidel Castro...

...(especially from “left” US bloggers like Brad DeLong who never miss the chance to distance themselves). And, of course, Castro ran a dictatorship that has, since 1959, committed its fair share of crimes, repressions, denials of democratic rights etc.

Still, I’m reminded of A.J.P. Taylor writing somewhere or other (reference please, dear readers?) that what the capitalists and their lackeys really really hated about Soviet Russia was not its tyrannical nature but the fact that there was a whole chunk of the earth’s surface where they were no longer able to operate.

Ditto Cuba, for a much smaller chunk. So let’s hear it for universal literacy and decent standards of health care. Let’s hear it for the Cubans who help defeat the South Africans and their allies in Angola and thereby prepared the end of apartheid. Let’s hear it for the middle-aged Cuban construction workers who held off the US forces for a while on Grenada.

Let’s hear it for Elian Gonzalez.

Let’s hear it for 49 years of defiance in the face of the US blockade.

Hasta la victoria siempre!

Under Fidel Castro's rule Cuba bucked the historical trend--moving not toward but far away from political democracy.

Under Fidel Castro it looks as though Cuba lost two generations of economic growth--generations that other neighboring economies like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico made very good use of. The only silver lining from Castro is that under him Cuba continued to have the social indicators of a middle-income country, even as he made it into a poor one.

It was always incomprehensible to me that an anti-Democratic dictator who managed to turn a middle-income country into a poor one would have fans. Yet there were always fools who found their Fidel...