There are a lot of similarities between Castro’s rise to power and Trumps journey to the presidency, which is funny given the fact that through rhetoric and media clips they seemingly want two completely different things (but not really). Trump touts the “make America great again” slogan, while Castro searched for his free Cuba or “Cuba libre”. As an American born to a Cuban immigrant, I tended to have a pretty bias view on Cuba, and it’s infamous prior dictator. The new Netflix documentary really did a good job of giving an unbiased look into the rise and fall of the bearded one. However, as I watched the documentary, I started to see some shocking similarities between our new president, and the cigar aficionado. I dove in and did some research and here is what I’ve found.
- Started a movement based not on their ideals, but the flaws of others
Fidel, for all his flaws, did have some legitimate points, in that the government that he wanted to violently overthrow was indeed filled with a lot of corruption. In many ways Castro’s rise to power mirrored that of Batista, in that it started with a idealistic revolution, followed by a corrupt and ego driven power grab (damn already sounds familiar huh?). Fidel based many of his pleas for support and politically roused speeches off of the basis that the Cuban government was corrupt, and a puppet of American interests, unwilling to stand up to the crime syndicates economically prospering off of the Cuban people. Much like Mr. Trump, who based his platform on how weak America has become because of foreign trade agreements, weak policy, and, you guessed it, Government corruption. Trump repeatedly mentioned how poor the economy was because politicians are just puppets of various foreign interests. The only difference is that Fidel’s accusations were the only ones firmly planted in truth. Be honest though, how similar is the quote below to the kinds of things Trump said about Clinton?
“ how then can the court judge a citizen for sedition or rebellion against a regime that is both illegal and the product of unpunished betrayal?” –Castro
Trump like Castro focused more on the failures of his opponents rather than his own prospects and policies. You can even draw parallels between Trumps advisers admitting they had no idea what to do after he’d won, to Castro’s Army being generally confused about what to do now that they facilitated the toppling of a government.
- Gross incompetence, masked by passionate bullshit
If Fidel is one thing, he is a master bullshit artist. The world has identified him as a revolutionary leader famous for his guerrilla campaign against a large and well established military. Films dramatize Fidel and Che as tactical and strategic geniuses, much like Trump is hailed as a master businessman. In actuality, Fidel was pretty much a perpetual loser. His guerrilla campaigns and training landed him in jail, and slaughtered a majority of his men, much as most of Trumps business endeavors end with bankruptcy or someone getting sued. Most of the greatness attributed to Castro came from his fellow revolutionaries, who did a lot more of the heavy lifting. So why is he known as a famous revolutionary?
http://militaryhistorynow.com/2016/01/29/the-cuban-army-abroad-fidel-castros-forgotten-foreign-wars/ List of Castro Catastrophes (Fidel Castro-phies?)
Castro’s consistently bad decisions got his buddy Che killed in Bolivia after he repeatedly tried to export his revolutionary ideas. Much like our President elect, who shares his own bag of embarrassing blunders. Gawker put together a pretty good list if you’re interested.
I would say his most spectacular failure is Trump University, which is still facing a 40 million dollar lawsuit.
- Wielded the media more effectively than their adversaries
Castro wielded a radio mic, much like Trump grabs pussies, I mean uses twitter. Throughout his guerrilla campaign Castro would dramatize the size of his Army (much like the size of Trump’s hands) play to the fears of the people (much like Trump’s view on immigrants), and brag about his successful victories (Much like Trump’s real estate success). Again, he was fighting a corrupt government, so naturally people that supported Castro were pretty much guaranteed a quick death via the Cuban Army. Trump, is also pretty big on stoking his ego and playing to his strengths, assuring the working class that he is the peoples choice, and totally not in it for his own interests. Both leaders essentially pandered to the working class, fed into their fears, discredited the current government, and insisted that they were doing all of this for the common man (I almost said person, but lets not kid ourselves). Trump used his social media presence to absolutely vilify Obama and Clinton. For shit’s sake, let’s not forget the birth certificate demands.
- Didn’t take power, created power
Fidel played a good game after first taking over. He appointed Manuel Urrutia Lleo as the provincial president. But he immediately took a page from the egotistical idealistic maniacal dictator cookbook, and filled Lleo’s cabinet with members of his MR-26-7 revolutionaries, then declared himself the representative of the Rebel Armed Forces of the Presidency. As you can guess, they started moving away from the standing constitution, and basically ruled through presidential decries. Eventually Castro would just replace members of the cabinet or government that didn’t agree with him. Just like that corruption was back in the Cuban government. Lets compare that to Trump’s selections for cabinet positions, and even his promises of “draining the swamp”. Trump mirrors Castro’s (and honestly most dictators) hasty implementation of personal choices for important positions, not based on credentials, but based on business savvy and personal relationships with a shared opinion. He even went so far as firing Maj-Gen Errol R Schwartz, the commanding officer of the DC National Guard, immediately after his inauguration, with no expressed reason.
- Both of them won power because the incompetence of others.
I know I’ll get lynched saying this to any Democrat, but Clinton was quite incompetent in my opinion. She had a few things in her past that reeeeeaaaaly pissed people off and had no idea how to get past it. Additionally, she came off as a terrible hypocrite when discussing her stances compared to her previous actions, the most shocking when Trump accused her of politically attacking and smearing the women that Bill abused/raped. Trump capitalized on these mistakes, and ran a very effective smear campaign of his own to discredit her actions and experience in office. Trump is no schoolboy, but Clinton did a poor job of illustrating the people Trump was actively threatening and marginalizing. Castro was pretty similar in that, Batista was pretty brutal when dispatching Castro’s Army, but lenient when it came to sentencing Castro, he pardoned him and allowed him to flee the country following a spectacularly failed attack of a Cuban Army Barracks. Additionally Batista had a few blunders and losses under his belt when dealing with Castro, which gave Fidel the moral high ground, he was a freedom fighter… not like that oppressive asshole in office who slaughters helpless farmers trying to join the cause. It was easy to hide Castro’s incompetence, because he propagated his “victories” and slammed his opponent’s oppressive and barbaric practices.
“In Colombia they prepared a puny little uprising against the revolution, principally with Batista’s assistance. Since it is necessary to tell the truth and since we came here with a view to orienting people, I can tell you and I can assure you that the military uprising in Colombia was an attempt to deprive the people in power, to rob the revolution of it’s triumph and to allow Batista to escape” – Castro to citizens of Santiago
“We must call a spade a spade and put the blame where it belongs. I am not going to be diplomatic. I will say outright that General Cantillo betrayed us and not only am I going to say it, but I am going to prove it to you.” – Castro to citizens of Santiago
Castro repeatedly assessed blame and played to his ego, even going so far as to plant cutting words into the narrative to sway the public based on perception and control.
Why is this bad news?
Well, if you’re unfamiliar with history here’s a quick run down of what Fidel did after toppling Batista, which I would liken to Trump winning the election. Castro immediately started purging politicians, institutional leaders, and programs replacing them with his followers. Castro quickly seized the freedom of speech and controlled the media. Fidel held revolutionary trials, executing dissidents and political opponents, vilifying anyone who wasn’t pro Castro as anti Cuban. Castro promised to fix the economy, and immediately ran it into the ground by getting mouthy with the US and creating a political enemy. Much like Trump, he made promises that had no basis in reality, due to having no applicable experience, and a poor understanding of what would happen when he actually won. Trumps ties to Russia, deplorable ethical practices, appeal to the working class, and egotistical motivation weave the two in a sick twisted game of naked twister played in a time machine.
Conclusion: Congratulations Cletus, you’ve voted for a hot head, inexperienced, rich kid, hell bent on seizing power, and implementing his ideological wet dream on a country after successfully wielding the media and appealing to your fears. That being said, who am I talking about, Castro or Trump?