Mythology, Real World

By William Butler Salazar

(Published October 20, 2001 by the San Juan Star)

Ever since each of us first recognized sounds and began to put words together, fairy tales held our attention. As we aged, we learned to absorb ever more complex stories. Today, as we struggle through this first demanding year of a new Millennium, most of us find no cause to doubt the reporting of past events that are really nothing but modern day myths. Three Myths follow that are as perennial as the story of the Big Bad Wolf:

Myth #1-Fidel Castro is a Communist and heads a Communist regime.

No matter how many signals to the contrary, people from all walks, at every chance, label him, and his government Communist in spite of the fact that the World has never experienced true Communism, except for the Ejido system of the Mexican Indians and the Inca.

The USSR, first under Lenin then Stalin never achieved the idyllic state of “Communism” where all are equal, the State owns and runs all, and all share the common wealth. USSR, until it collapsed from within, was a totalitarian dictatorship. One man called all the shots. His word was the last. Arguments, pleas, variants, or mercy were unknown. Any deviation brought banishment to Siberia, at the very best.

And so it has been in Cuba during the past 40 plus years. One man rules Cuba. He knows all. Plans all. Directs all. Every one else on the island is a serf. He who fails to obey is finished and “finished” may be interpreted anywhere from dead (out of fashion) or “wish I were dead”, usually a worse case scenario. President Bush read Fidel’s “how-to” book when he stated: “If you are not with us, you are my enemy.” And that’s the way it has been for 42 long years with our Caribbean island neighbor. Not one nation in the world has been able to stand up to Fidel to forge a change. Ten million Cubans are now slaves. The Central Government controls the TOTAL economy. Nothing is bought or sold, except through the Government. Everyone works for the Government. The government distributes all provisions. The Government provides all housing, jobs, pay scales, vacations, travel, health, schooling, and foreign exchange. Any citizen who is not 100% with the system looses all the above.

Yet so many who influence public opinion continue to insist that Cuba is Communist when it’s nothing more than an old fashioned Banana Republic Dictatorship… a dictatorship that has thumbed their nose at a dozen US Presidents and has forged alliances with every nation on our planet except the USA. It is time the USA begins to understand Cuba. The Probability of this happening is low. They have failed consistently for one hundred and three years.

Myth #2-The Bay of Pigs was a total fiasco.

 It couldn’t be farther from the truth. President Kennedy, when he called off US air support, made the wisest call of his political career. Had he not, the US would still carry a deep wound. Here’s why:

Brigade 2506, consisting of 1400 young Cubans trained by the US in Central America, landed on an isolated beach on the southern coast of Cuba on April 17, 1961, following several days of aerial raids aimed at disarming Castro’s air power. Castro, obviously forewarned not only by the air strikes but also by press reports in the New York Times, put his troops and militia on high alert. As soon as he confirmed where Brigade 2506 had landed, he mobilized and personally led 250,000 armed militia towards the southern marsh to cut off all egress from the Bay of Pigs. Meanwhile, he rounded up every man who was not a Castro Militant, (ala Bush, those not with us) with ages from the late teens into the late 30’s and jammed them into all of the movie theatres in the country.

Meanwhile in Havana and in the rest of Cuba, the population, from where Brigade 2506 needed support to succeed, waited expectantly. The country had been abuzz for days with news of an invasion. But who were these people who had landed at the Bay of Pigs? Was it another Fidel ploy? He’d played similar tricks before. Or were they Batista-ites, adherents to the regime Castro chased out? Or if not, to which of a dozen major political factions did they belong? Trucks full of arms were thrown open throughout Cuba begging for takers. Most remained untouched. To grab a gun meant sure death. Many were ready to accept the supreme sacrifice, but first, most wanted to know what’s the cause for which I will die? The few who rallied were quickly taken.

Luckily President Kennedy saw through the fiasco and held back our Air Force from attacking Castro’s ground troops. Overruling both his civilian and military advisors, he wisely ordered a stop to all US direct military involvement and by doing so saved thousands of Cuban lives, on both sides. Kennedy understood that there was no way 1400 men could overwhelm more than 200,000 with almost that many in reserve. Had the US proceeded with the air strikes against the defending troops, Castro would still be anointing the US with the blood of thousands of Cuban dead.

Myth #3-Bin Laden and al Qaeda are Islamic fundamentalists.

 These people are no more Islamic religious fanatics than Fidel is communist or than Hitler was a dedicated Socialist worker. Bin and his bunch are but sophisticated, clever, highly dedicated and ambitious gangsters who find it convenient to wrap themselves up in Islamic fundamentalist garb to confuse their opposition, unify their troops, and access an unlimited supply of kamikaze volunteers.

September 11 came about soon after Fidel and later Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Chavez made extensive visits to our enemies in the Middle East. Today, recognizing their faux pas and obviously aware that they are on Bush’s “other” list, both, though it took them about a week, have taken to a vocal anti-terrorist stand. They will both lie low for a spell and then tread lightly until time lowers the heat on the USA’s focus on terrorism and they can again promote the goals of the Forum of Sao Paolo; the overthrow of all governments of the Americas by democratic means.

Three pure, idealistic thinkers, movers and shakers whose vision and leadership created the conceptual design for the lands now under siege must now cry within their sepulchers in despair and frustration to see what has happened to their good works. Muhammad, Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti have had their visions stomped out by three egomaniacs that desecrate their names and in a very short time span have undone much of their good work. It is high time the civilized world deals with these three hijackers and return hope to the good peoples of these beautiful lands.

Yet, each of the three situations will require unique strategy. In Cuba, it is time the USA try love, not terrorism. In Venezuela, the US must continue to encourage and support basic democratic processes, yet with eyes wide open to the underlying menace. And as for Bin. He looks like a cucaracha. Bush Exterminating, Inc. needs not only to do away with the mother nest but equally important, with the mother lode that sustains it.


William A. Butler Salazar


William Butler Salazar is an author, engineer and ocean navigator.


October 15. 2001