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Postscript: The real attitude of Cuban Revolutionaries toward Native Americans

Postscript:  The real attitude of Cuban Revolutionaries toward Native Americans

One cannot plan correctly for the future unless he or she understands the past.

The People of One Fire had intended to publish only a single editorial about the passing of Fidel Castro.  However, during the past two days, the Native American-focused media in Canada, the USA and Mexico has paraded a string of articles by naive young journalists, which describe the Cuban Revolutionaries of the late 20th century as “friends of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.”   HORSE MANURE!  Someone has to get the truth out. 

A shared characteristic of both Marxism and Fascism is the lack of finite moral standards . . . the end justifies the means.  Fidel Castro and Che Guevara didn’t care how many indigenous people died  . . . as long as Xerox copies of their regime in Cuba were replicated across the landscape of the Americas . . .  and that in the process, the United States was destroyed.

Because I live a “pioneer” lifestyle, I often feel like a young man just starting life, but at times like this, I realize that I have experienced a host of things that others have not.  Many of you readers were probably not even born when a bankrupt Castro no longer had the military backing of a suddenly non-existent Soviet Union, to foment “Wars of Liberation” across the Americas.  After a decade of starvation, Castro began re-inventing himself in the 21st century as a kind, humanitarian victim of Yankee bullies. He was merely some sort of atheistic saint, sent to rescue the poor of the Americas from their oppressors. 

There is another side to the story.  Let’s just say that many moons ago,  because of the times I lived in, I had special “educational opportunities” and “on-site field experiences,” which gave me a more complete understanding of those “Wars of Liberation” by the Cuban Marxists.

Fidel Castro was a first generation Cuban and a blanquito (full-blooded Caucasian).  His father was conscripted soldier in the Spanish army, who grabbed a large chunk of land from absentee owners in Spain, in the chaos after the United States defeated Spain and freed Cuba.  The United Fruit Company did the same thing up the road from the Castro plantation.  Apparently,  intrigues by the Yankee capitalists up the road kept the Castros from expanding their empire as much as they would have liked.  Fidel never forgave the Yanquis for this.

Blaming the USA for all that was wrong in the Americas

First, I will quote from author Ernesto Betancourt, an eyewitness to the Cuban Revolution:

“In January 1959, shortly after taking power, Castro met with Colonel Ramón Barquín and his fellow professional army officers who had conspired to overthrow Batista and had been imprisoned as a consequence. During the conversation, he told them that he wanted an army capable of fighting a war. When one of the officers commented that the war had just finished, Castro’s answer was: “No, the war is just beginning, because this is going to end in a war against the United States.”  Once in power, Castro started preparing for his war against the Yankees, based on two strategies: one overt and the other covert.”

There was a pervasive attitude in Latin America, throughout the latter half of the 20th century . . . the Yankee Imperialists were the cause of all of Latin America’s poverty and political instability.  Cuban Marxists tried to fan those illogical flames of hatred.  Few Latin American intellectuals dared to discuss the reality that their societies were screwed up from the beginning by Spanish feudalism, endemic corruption and an omnipotent Roman Catholic theocracy.

The truth was that General George Washington went home to his plantation after leading the Continental Army to victory over Great Britain. Meanwhile, General Agustín de Iturbide, commander of the victorious armies in the Mexican War of Independence, soon declared himself “Emperor Agustín I of the Mexican Empire.”   Simón Bolívar’s efforts to create a unified South American nation with full citizenship for its indigenous peoples, collapsed into the nations that we know today . . . who until recent times were all dictatorships.

Cuban Marxist role in the massacres

Mahatma Gandhi developed the concept of non-violent resistance in order to achieve independence from Great Britain.  The Rev. Martin Luther King developed the concept to a much more sophisticated level in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  The approach grew to a massive scale during the Vietnam War Protest Movements.  Leaders in such movements required large numbers of volunteers to passively obstruct public spaces in order to invite police and soldiers to beat them, sick attack dogs on them, arrest them and sometimes kill them.  Remember the Kent State University shootings?  

Very frankly, there were leaders in the Vietnam War protests, who got a megalomaniacal thrill out of watching their followers get beaten up or killed on their behalf.   There is a lot of evidence that Marxist agents or alternatively, Fascist thugs working for President Nixon, intentionally committed some violent crimes on the Kent State campus that were intended to cause Ohio state officials and the National Guardsmen commit a massacre. With either end of the political spectrum,  the end justifies the means.

Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and Che Guevara perverted Gandhi’s principals to a new high level of barbarism.  Yes, when tribal leaders from Canada or the United States visited Cuba, the Castro regime treated them like heads of state and put on “a dog and pony show,” but the truth is that these men were all descendants of the Spanish aristocracy.  They viewed indigenous peoples as potential sheep for the slaughter in their grand scheme to create essentially a Cuban Marxist Empire for the Soviets. 

The primary  military tactic of the Cuban revolutionaries was to manipulate government troops and police into massacring large numbers of innocent civilians . . . who always were Indians or mestizos.  Well, some innocent Americans were also murdered . . . like in 1980, when the four Maryknoll nuns were butchered in El Salvador.   This was to get American sympathy. The actual Marxist guerillas would only raid remote government outposts or patrols, where they were least likely to get killed or captured.  It was the same strategy used by Castro in the Cuban Revolution.  Let the non-Marxists do most of the dying.

Cuban double agents would plant false intelligence within the already brutal counter-insurgency forces of Latin American countries, which made the stormtroopers think that politically neutral peons were Marxist revolutionaries.  Of course, these peons only rarely had any weapons to defend themselves when attacked, so mass slaughters would occur.  The goal was to turn the surviving peons into rabid haters of the government troops and ultimately into Marxist soldiers.  However, the Cuban Marxists didn’t hesitate to massacre villages, which they suspected of being sympathetic to the central governments.

On December 2, 1990 counter-insurgency troops of the Guatemalan Guardia Nacional opened automatic weapons fire on an unarmed crowd of peaceful demonstrators that numbered between 2,000 and 4,000 Tzutujil Mayas from the town of Santiago Atitlan in the Guatemalan Highlands.  During the following days, soldiers went door to door around Lake Atitlan, with execution lists probably furnished by Cuban double agents, killing innocent persons, who were supposedly Marxist rebels.  The actual terrorists were only rarely shot by soldiers. 

The Lake Atitlan Massacre was just a microcosm of what occurred constantly in Latin America between 1960 and 1995.   Over a hundred thousand Indians died in Guatemala alone.  The total number of indigenous people killed during “Cuban-sponsored Wars of Liberation” in Latin America probably exceeds a million, maybe many more.

Were the Cuban Marxists friends of the indigenous peoples of the Americas?    What do you think?

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Marxism…the gift that just keeps on giving.


      Marxism? Really?
      I challenge Indigenous people, globally, to embrace Cuba. To walk, hand in hand, in peace and beauty. I welcome dialog with the Cuban Indigenous communities, with an open heart, with one mind, combing the snakes out of each other’s hair, so that we can look for solutions to similar issues plaguing us both. What has worked and hasn’t so that we can fight the real enemy. The black snake that seeks to own our history, our rights, our water, our resources, our women, our knowledge and our lands, in solidarity, without labels, or settler colonialist influences. Decolonize, relatives, in beauty


    Frankly, Mr. Thorton, I find your blood quantum remarks offensive. I equally find your insistence in speaking for all Indigenous people, offensive. It almost seems like your version of Indigenous history is scripted right out of the settler colonialist playbook which silences Indigenous voices. Are you really picking a fight with “Native American media”? Especially since right on our own lands in ND our people are fighting the same foe which tried to claim ownership of Cuba’s resources, is now claiming ownership of ours. Have you really never heard of the American Fruit Company, Shell/Exxon, and the other corrupt companies that were killing Indigenous peoples and their sovereignty by the millions; who had their gnashing resource glutinous teeth aimed at Cuba? Have you never heard of John Perkins or read his books? Or Jose Barreiro? If you knew of the Tiano blood quantum history…truly knew, would you have mentioned Castro’s? Really, you must have lost your mind, sir. I have noticed that your journalism has transitioned. It is no longer embracing academic query looking to open dialog for the sake of inclusion. It is now the same yellow journalism that the settler colonialist mainstream media shoves down our throats silencing our voices, our sovereignty and our history. Just an FYI, Mr. Thorton, in case you really give a darn. Cuba’s natural resources, native species culturally significant foods and medicines are the heartiest and healthiest compared to any colonized country. Their water is cleaner and their wealth is distributed more fairly. The US is using their cancer cure examples since theirs is more advanced. They have fewer species extinctions, their forests are healthier, they do not over fish or over harvest, they consider all species when considering feeding their people because they have indigenized their diets and their ecosystems management. As a watershed scientist, TEK scholar and Indigenous woman I can say, as an expert, that Cuba is what ecologists strive for with respect to sustainable natural resources, That also makes them a target for multinational industry, like Monsanto, Shell.Exxon etc….Multinationals who use yellow journalist PR rhetoric to open the floodgates for the war profiteers to give permission to overthrow and take what doesn’t belong to them. The same Multinational corporatocracy that Castro defeated but our people on Turtle Island are still losing our lands and women and resources to.

    • You would be surprised how much I know about all that . . . it’s the United Fruit Company by the way . . . I have feeling that you have never been at ground zero, where the fighting was occurring. I have. The elite blanquito families in these Latin American countries, were equally guilty of exploitation or more so. There is a real good reason why the soldiers of the Maya Zapatista Movement are extremely friendly with Gringo tourists and yet, while they were still around, would shoot a Cuban agent on site. The first time that I was in Yucatan, my Maya guide gave me a bargain price, then unilaterally offered to guide me for free . . . if I taught his two teenagers how to speak English. The dream of the Mayas is never have to speak Spanish again.


        Were it not for settler colonialism, would that be so? Your argument is moot since it comes from settler colonialist constructs. Every war the US creates uses this rhetoric. The corporatocracy uses it to take over other companies and countries. We are in Iraq for the same rhetoric. It is not Indigenous, in fact it excludes Indigenous voice. Your video tape of your one incident doesn’t explain the successes in biodiversity, watershed sustainability and solidarity that protects sovereign Nations. Resource rich countries are a threat to the biocolonialist corporate rule. Colonizer rhetoric only gives permission for monolithic labeling so that the corporatocracy can give itself permission to take. People evolve from their mistakes if given the chance. That is what civil and co-evolution becomes if allowed. Settler colonialists are not evolved peoples. Foucault has written extensively about the biocolonialst rhetoric used to take by owning people. Cuba is sovereign. They own their own history, you don’t. You don’t own Indigenous history, globally and here in the US. You do not have permission to speak for us as our expert. This is a colonizer way and hurts our cause.


        I have a Skype meeting with a Chinese official, Monday, to discuss teaching Chinese students English. Wouldn’t it be far fetched for me to assume that the Chinese want to obliterate one of their many languages by my doing so? This kind of linear spacial colonizer disconnect, is what I am talking about, that you are missing. DNR Tribal TEK scientists are using western science on their own terms in order to protect their resources. They *have* to in order to keep corporate scientists from claiming ownership expertise of science on their territories. This “biocolonialism” has been used for centuries to take resources from Indigenous peoples. By conditionally accepting western science to manage their own lands, does this mean that Tribal DNRs want to rid their territories of TEK, by your logic? The answer is no.


    Indigenous people of the world united. We are connected we are related. Our cousins from Cuba are loved and we reach out to you in love and peace and beauty. We do not recognize blood quantum nor do we care if your skin is darker or lighter than ours. Our causes and sovereignty unites us. This song, by my brother Jan, is dedicated to you and our relations, human and non-human.
    “Live as One”


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