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RIP, Fidel; if you were a monster, the United States of America created you

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Fidel Castro, the “dictator” next door to the United States for decades, died yesterday. If Castro was a monster — and like almost all human beings are, he was, of course, neither a devil nor an angel but a mixed bag — then the United States of America created him.

As I’ve written before, love him or hate him, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was a survivor. He made it to 90 years before he died yesterday.

Within the United States, Castro very mostly was a bogeyman — but rarely have we Americans been given much, if any, detail as to why we’re supposed to hate him blindly obediently. (At most, we’re told simplistically that he’s a “bad” man, a “Commie,” a “dictator,” a “tyrant” who “hates the United States of America,” “hates freedom,” etc., etc.* Even to question this knee-jerk, right-wing narrative is to risk being called anti-American.)

All of that is because intellectually and ethically honest detail would reveal how the United States of America has meddled anti-democratically in Latin American affairs for decades, having imperialistically and anti-democratically considered the entire Western hemisphere subject to its own jurisdiction at least since the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823.

There were so many attempts by the United States to assassinate or otherwise topple Castro — we’re talking not just the Bay of Pigs (the miserably failed U.S.-backed attempt to overthrow Castro in April 1961), but also numerous unsuccessful assassination attempts that were perpetrated by the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. State Department — as well as by the American Mafia — that it’s no fucking wonder that over the years Castro became more autocratic.

You’re not paranoid if they really are trying to kill you or oust you, and had Castro not ruled Cuba with an iron fist, no doubt his greedy, self-serving detractors would have done their damnedest to turn the sovereign nation of Cuba into an American colony for corporate profiteering once again.

We saw the dynamic with Fidel Castro repeated with the late socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; a U.S.-backed anti-democratic coup attempt against Chavez in April 2002 failed (Chavez was only briefly deposed and replaced with an unelected right-wing oil magnate before the people of Venezuela took to the streets and demanded Chavez’s return), and that failed anti-democratic coup attempt (which was a bit like a Bay of Pigs 2.0) no doubt made Chavez more autocratic, and of course Chavez’s detractors conveniently acted thereafter as though the failed 2002 coup attempt by anti-democratic right-wingers had never happened at all.

The United States made Chavez, and before him it had made Castro.

If a Latin American nation wants a left-of-center, truly democratic government that, entirely unlike the U.S. government, actually does its job — which is to serve the needs and wishes of its people instead of the greed of American and transnational corporations and the treasonous plutocrats and kleptocrats who own them and profiteer from them — then it must protect itself from anti-democratic, toxic capitalist infiltration from abroad.

American wingnuts criticize Latin America for simply defending itself from foreign invasion and infiltration, although of course the United States always reserves the right to protect itself from such. Latin America is to disarm unilaterally, you see, and just allow American and other corporate robber barons to destroy it.

Fidel Castro stood up to the foreign anti-democratic and capitalist invasion and infiltration of his nation for decades. He was so hated because he was so successful; he was so hated because he refused to simply hand over his nation’s resources and well-being to the American and transnational corporations in exchange for for his own selfish, treasonous enrichment, like a “good” Latin American leader “should.”*

None of this is to simply and wholly overlook Castro’s wrongdoings.

Amnesty International’s nutshell on Cuba is this:

Government critics continue to be imprisoned; many report that they were beaten during arrest. Restrictions on freedom of expression is widespread. The government curtails freedom of association and assembly. The U.S. embargo against Cuba remains, despite increasing opposition to it within and outside the U.S.A.

Human Rights Watch’s nutshell on Cuba is similar:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. It now relies less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, but short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others have increased dramatically in recent years. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

I don’t defend all of this, but at the same time it’s not ethically or intellectually honest to strip Cuba from its historical, sociopolitical context, including having the world’s most imperialist nation ever-lurking and ever-looming just to its north.

If Castro had governed Cuba with a laissez-faire philosophy, as the capitalists always have claimed that he should have, how long would Cuba have been free from foreign corporate domination?

Um, yeah.

We Americans can hate Fidel Castro all that we want, but we can’t deny that we created him.

Cuba’s first struggle was to free itself from imperialist Spain; then its struggle was to free itself from the imperialist United States of America.

And Cuba still struggles to be free, because the “freedom” that the United States would impose upon it — and yes, the United States ironically and hypocritically believes in imposing “freedom” — would only once again make it a slave to the United States.

P.S. I would be remiss of me not to note Cuba’s world-class education and health-care systems.

Cuba’s literacy rate of 99.8 percent and high-school graduation rate of 94 percent is higher than the United States’ official literacy rate of 99 percent (which some believe is quite inflated) and high-school graduation rate of 82 percent, and Cuba’s life expectancy of 79.1 years puts it just behind the United States’ life expectancy of 79.3 years.

Castro’s Cuba achieved this despite the United States’ having tried to destroy it (again, in the name of “freedom,” ironically and hypocritically) — and having desired to turn it back into a subservient slave state — for decades.

*And let’s fucking face it: Whether the American right wing calls you a “dictator” or a “tyrant” or the like depends not upon whether you were democratically elected, but depends entirely upon whether you have done the bidding of the American right wing.

Brutal Chilean dictator Augosto Pinochet, for instance, was a mass murderer and torturer who most definitely was not elected but who — with the help of the U.S. government (surprise, surprise!) — overthrew the actually democratically elected socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and ruled Chile until 1990.

However, the American right wing (as well as the fascist Margaret Thatcher) loved Pinochet because he did their bidding.

The right wing hated Castro because unlike Pinochet did, Castro refused to be their lapdog.

May the sovereign nation of Cuba continue to resist colonization by the rapacious, imperialist United States of America — and work on improving human rights while preserving the gains of the Cuban Revolution.

P.S. I didn’t even need to mention Pinochet, although he’s a textbook example of a U.S.-backed dictator in Latin America. I could have stayed within Cuba itself.

Most “news” write-ups of Fidel Castro’s death conveniently ignore the fact that Castro overthrew the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ruled Cuba in the 1950s while unelected.

Wikipedia notes of Batista’s reign (links are Wikipedia’s):

… Back in power, and receiving financial, military, and logistical support from the United States government, Batista suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked most political liberties, including the right to strike. He then aligned with the wealthiest landowners who owned the largest sugar plantations, and presided over a stagnating economy that widened the gap between rich and poor Cubans.

Eventually it reached the point where most of the sugar industry was in U.S. hands, and foreigners owned 70 percent of the arable land. As such, Batista’s increasingly corrupt and repressive government then began to systematically profit from the exploitation of Cuba’s commercial interests, by negotiating lucrative relationships with both the American Mafia, who controlled the drug, gambling, and prostitution businesses in Havana, and with large U.S.-based multinational companies who were awarded lucrative contracts.

To quell the growing discontent among the populace — which was subsequently displayed through frequent student riots and demonstrations — Batista established tighter censorship of the media, while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence, torture and public executions; ultimately killing anywhere from hundreds to 20,000 people. …

Again: In the right-wing United States of America, drunk on toxic capitalism, a dictator is called a dictator only if he isn’t a right-wing dictator and doesn’t do what the American right wing wants him to do. Treasonously selling out his own nation to American profiteers makes him a “good” dictator (only, of course, in that event, we don’t even call him a dictator).

It doesn’t matter in and of itself if a dictator suspends his nation’s constitution, revokes his nation’s citizens’ rights, tortures and kills his political dissidents, refuses to stand for election, etc.; all that matters is whether or not he does the bidding of the hypocritical assholes of the United States of America.

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Ozzie Guillen guilty of telling the truth

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen listens to a question during  a news conference at Marlins Stadium in Miami, Tuesday April 10, 2012. Guillen has been suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro. He has again apologized and says he accepts the punishment.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Associated Press photo

In a nation that only claims to value the freedom of speech, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for five games for having made comments to TIME magazine that (gasp!) offended Miami’s right-wing, pro-plutocratic Cuban Americans. Guillen is pictured above apologizing at a press conference in Miami today for having voiced his opinion on a politically charged matter, something that in a truly free nation he should not have been pressured to apologize for.

Before today I hadn’t heard of Ozzie Guillen, who is the manager of the Miami Marlins. Before today, I wasn’t even sure what type of sports team the Marlins is (um, it’s a baseball team).

While I am not big on sports (although I’m OK with men’s diving…), I am big on politics, and Cuba and Venezuela and the socialist revolution that has swept many of the nations of Latin America (since the United States has been meddling in the Middle East for the past 10-plus years instead of in Latin America, which for decades had been the target of the Eye of Sauron, which sits atop the Pentagon) are of great interest to me.

Ozzie Guillen made the mistake of exercising his right to free speech in Miami, Florida, you see.

Apparently Guillen recently told a reporter for TIME magazine, “I love Fidel Castro,” but then amended that comment: “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that motherfucker is still here.”

TIME also reports that Guillen, a native of Venezuela, has stated that he has respect for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as well.

Guillen might have realized that praising or even appearing to perhaps be praising Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Miami — which is home to the Ritchie Riches (would that be los Ricardos Ricos?) who fled Cuba when Castro’s revolution ended the capitalistic orgy there, and home to their brainwashed progeny — might not have been the brightest thing to do, politically speaking, but the Cuban Americans who want his head on a pike — here is a mob of them outside of a press conference that Guillen held in Miami today to apologize for words that he had no reason to apologize for:

Protesters

— are telling us a lot more about themselves than they are about Guillen: Namely, that they’re fucking hypocrites, that while they criticize Fidel Castro’s regime for stifling political dissent, they feel no hypocrisy or shame in doing the same fucking thing themselves.

It’s always perfectly OK to stifle left-wing political speech, you see, but it’s never OK to stifle right-wing political speech. Speech that is free only when you agree with it makes the whole idea of free speech moot, but that point is lost on the right-wing nutjobs, who by definition are hypocrites.

I don’t know everything that Fidel Castro has done, and therefore I don’t give him my 100 percent approval, but the fact of the matter is that, whether you love him or hate him or are indifferent to him, despite the United States’ decades-long attempt to cripple Castro’s rule — hurting the people of Cuba more than it ever hurt Castro himself, I’m sure — the fact of the fucking matter is that Fidel Castro indeed is one tough cookie to still be standing after all of these decades.

Hugo Chavez, too, is one tough cookie, having survived a blatantly treasonous and anti-democratic right-wing (and probably CIA-and/or-otherwise-unelected-Bush-regime-assisted) attempt to overthrow him in 2002 and replace him with an unelected, pro-plutocratic, right-wing usurper. That’s just a fucking fact, whether you love Chavez or hate him or are indifferent to him.

But Guillen’s biggest “crime” here, it seems to me, is that he hasn’t bowed down before the statue of the golden calf that is capitalism.

It is interesting that capitalists won’t shut the fuck up about “freedom,” yet they wish to deny everyone the basic fucking freedom of praising — indeed, even just discussing — any other economic system than capitalism, in which the goal is to become filthy rich yourself by fucking over everyone else.

I tell you fucking what: Mittens Romney, to name just one multi-millionaire, did not do multi-millions of dollars’ worth of work.

No. The only way to make that kind of money is to exploit others. You “win” in capitalism by paying your employees as little as you can get away with (including fucking them over on benefits, of course, and doing such things as firing them just before they can retire and collect retirement benefits, and by shutting their factories down and getting cheaper labor elsewhere, as Mittens can tell you all about) and by overcharging your customers for your product or service as much as you possibly can. You also “win” in capitalism by despoiling the environment in your insatiable quest for ever-increasing profits. In health/wealth care, the idea is to charge as much as you can for health insurance coverage, yet to deny as many health insurance claims as possible in order to increase your profits. Just like Jesus would do! Gooooo capitalism! (Indeed, the right wing loves to intertwine Christianity and capitalism, when even a grade schooler could read the New Testament and tell you that Jesus Christ, according to his own words, was against the rich and for the poor and was dead-set against shameless profiteering.)

The kind of shit that we see committed in the economic system of capitalism is not called “stealing” or “plundering” or even “exploitation,” however. It’s called “business” and “free enterprise” and the like, and while it’s sociofuckingpathic to knowingly harm others for purely selfish, personal gain, in the United States of America it is widely considered to be quite normal — even admirable.

If capitalism were so fucking inarguably inherently and self-evidently great, however, then why do the vast majority of its adherents try to prohibit the rest of us from even discussing capitalism’s obvious weaknesses and evils and from discussing other socioeconomic systems that might work better for us?

Why do the capitalist hypocrites claim that the “free marketplace” is the only way to go, but they absolutely won’t tolerate a free fucking marketplace of ideas?

Are they afraid that capitalism — which, increasingly, is good for only a few — can’t survive in such an environment?

And Cuban Americans need to shut the fuck up already. The Cubans who fled to the United States after Castro took over for the most part were the filthy rich Cubans who were exploiting other, poorer Cubans. And these rich Cubans’ beloved right-wing leader whom Fidel Castro overthrew, Fulgencio Batista, himself was a dictator who had thousands of his political opponents slaughtered — only he supported the plutocrats, so he was a good dictator, you see.

Castro’s Cuba has struggled not because socialism inherently cannot work, but primarily because the pro-plutocratic fascists in the United States for decades have done everything in their power to cripple Cuba and then say, “See? Communism doesn’t work!”

And old-school, big-“C” Communism indeed didn’t work, but little-“s” socialism can. Democratic socialism is the ideal socioeconomic system. (Old-school Communism wasn’t democratic, its major problem.) I’d even settle for a hybrid socioeconomic system, at least for now, with the essentials for human well-being and dignity, such as as quality health care and quality education, being made available to all regardless of their ability to pay for them, with the private sector able to continue to sell non-essentials. (Indeed, it looks as though Cuba is evolving into such a hybrid socioeconomic system itself.)

Corporatism, if we allow it to, will kill us all. The right wing now assures us that even more of the same will cure what ails us. That is as sane as asserting that the cure for arsenic poisoning is more arsenic.

And the people of Cuba, it seems to me, are much better off under Fidel and Raul Castro than they would be under another Fulgencio-Batista type, a “good” dictator who sells out his nation and his nation’s people to corporations for his own selfish gain and the selfish gain of his fucking cronies, who (and whose progeny) now populate Miami.

Ozzie Guillen has my support. I support his right to free speech, and I support a robustly free marketplace of ideas.

It’s too bad that the freedom-hating, anti-American wingnuts in Miami and their sympathizers do not.

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Thoughts on Dead Jesus Day

Updated on Monday, April 13, 2009 (see below)

This controverial-of-course 1999 U.K. church poster mixed the iconography of the revolutionary Jesus Christ and the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

So while the rest of my fellow Americans concern themselves over what Pope “Condoms Are for Sissies” Palpatine is doing and what church President Barack Obama and his family decided to attend on this Easter Day, I’m going to go see the long-ass commie-themed film “Che.”

Pope Palpatine (a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI), in case you were wondering, according to The Associated Press

…sought to give a message of hope on Easter Sunday to victims of wars, poverty and financial turmoil, saying it was urgently needed to overcome the miseries that are plaguing Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the globe.

Benedict delivered his “Urbi et Orbi” message — Latin for “to the city and the world” — after celebrating Easter Mass before tens of thousands of people who packed St. Peter’s Square and the boulevard leading up to it.

The piazza, decorated with yellow tulips, azaleas, apple blossoms and other spring flowers, overflowed with the faithful celebrating the most joyous and important day in the Christian church calendar, Christ’s resurrection.

In his speech, Benedict said hope was urgently needed around the globe, despite mounting reasons for despair….

This is the very same person who opposes the use of condoms, the use of which results in a lower population (and thus less poverty and hunger and suffering) and which results in lower incidence of HIV and other STD transmission (and thus less pain and suffering and misery).

I guess that Pope Palpatine wants to ensure that there is still plenty of suffering so that he can give the same Easter address about poverty and pain and suffering and misery every fucking year.

Palpatine also still asserts that women don’t have a right to control their own bodies and he still opposes equal human and civil rights for me because I am not heterosexual.

And since so much of today’s warfare is over religion, we can thank the pope in (large) part for keeping religious differences — and thus warfare — alive by his support of the Catholic church.  

I’m just waiting for Pope Palpatine to finally kick off. The best thing that we can say about the pope is that he will die someday — and that, given his age, he should die sooner rather than later.

And then there is the obsession over which church the Obamas picked for Easter. Reports The Associated Press today:

President Barack Obama and his family took communion [today] as they celebrated Easter at St. John’s Church in their first public worship service since the inauguration.

As congregants went to the altar for communion, several stopped at the president’s pew and wished Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters a happy Easter.

Located across from the White House, St. John’s is popular with presidents. President George W. Bush often attended services, and church history contends that every president since James Madison, the nation’s fourth chief executive, has visited. …

There was no indication from White House officialsthat Obama was seeking membership at St. John’s. The president and his family attended a private service there on Inauguration Day, a tradition for those about to become president.

Where a president worships — and whether he goes to church at all — tends to draw political as well as social significance. For Obama, his place of worship has been of keen interest because of the role his religion played in the 2008 presidential campaign….

“Christians” don’t give a flying fuck about following the teachings of Jesus Christ. The interest in which church the Obama family attends is only so that the judgment can be made as to whether the Obama family attends the “right” church.

And, of course, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t: If you don’t go to church at all, you are then a heathen or a devil worshipper or the like, but if you do go to church, then you are going to the wrong one.

Fuck these miserable “Christians.”

These “Christians,” as the news story hints, also have been critical that the Obama family doesn’t attend church often enough — because look how much more warm and loving and more intelligent regular churchgoing has made these critical “Christians”!

If I could go anywhere on this Easter Day, it would be to go see the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco (a.k.a. Sodom By the Sea). The Sisters, with such things as their Hunky Jesus Contest on this Easter Day, are reviled by those “loving” “Christians” who are familiar with them.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, the Sisters, fulfilling the important but usually hated archetypal role of the trickster, expose the hypocrisy and ignorance and fearfulness and hatred and bigotry and intolerance of the “Christian” muggles; the Sisters remind the “Christians” that the “Christians” are light years away from actually following the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Sisters, rather than being the blasphmemers that they would be called by the vast majority of “Christians,” get Jesus Christ’s teachings much more than do the “Christians.” The Sisters’ spots in heaven (so to speak) are assured.

Anyway, I once saw the Sisters perform during a Christmas choral production at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. I wish that I could have been at Sodom by the Sea today for the Sisters and their Hunky Jesus Contest. 

Instead, I will go see director Steven Soderbergh’s “Che,” which stars Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara. The film is getting mixed reviews, but my guess is that most of the reviewers who are dissing it are capitalist sympathizers who don’t even know what little-“c” communism even is. The capitalists control the dialogue in this nation, and so of course they don’t want the bleating masses to get the idea that a viable alternative economic system is even a remote possibility.

But interestingly, the principles of communism and socialism are much more in line with what Jesus Christ actually taught than is the self-interest at the expense of others that capitalism espouses.

Jesus Christ was not a Repugnican, a stupid white man who (in no certain order) hated gays, believed in the oppression of women, thought that greed was good and that the poor deserved their lot, and loved guns and wars.

Nor was Jesus the gentle sissy that so many conceive him to have been. J.C. is quoted in the New Testament as having said:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.”

That is the speech of a radical, and by “my” and “me” I do not believe that Jesus literally means himself, but means what it is that he stands for: truth and love, the rejection of the ignorance and the fear and the hatred that are the very stuff of today’s “Christianity.”

The “cross” that Jesus refers to is not his literal cross, but is the burden of standing up against the masses who embrace fear and ignorance and hatred, which are the exact opposite of what Jesus actually taught. The “cross” is the burden of being different, the burden of being a “witch” burned at the stake by the “good” “Christians” (literally or figuratively).

Those who, in their ignorance and fear, support the toxic status quo in order to save their lives — who go along to get along — paradoxically will lose their lives, and those who, out of courage and wisdom and love, fight against the toxic status quo, even at the risk of losing their lives, will save their lives. That’s how it works, and that’s what Jesus was saying.   

Ah, I don’t know. You get it or you don’t, and if you don’t get it by now, you most likely never will.

Happy fucking Easter.

P.S. Signs of “Christianity’s” rather imminent collapse abound.

The news story from above about the Obama family’s Easter service notes:

In his sermon, the Rev. Luis Leon welcomed believers and nonbelievers alike and called Easter an event based on faith, not logic.

“I can’t explain Easter to anyone. It just can’t be done. It’s like a professor trying to explain one of e.e. cummings’ poems,” he said. He added: “It takes time to be a believer. … Faith cannot be forced and faith cannot be coerced.” …

Mmm hmmmmm. A system that cannot hold up to the test of logic is doomed, is going to go the way of the dinosaurs. There are some things that are unknowable, to be sure, but about those things you just admit, “I don’t know.” But what it is that you claim to know should be rational and logical. “Faith,” as the good reverend defines it, is insanity.

And the news story from above about Pope Palpatine notes:

And in the earthquake-ravaged central Italian city of L’Aquila, survivors gathered in makeshift chapels set up in tent cities that are housing some of the 55,000 people driven from their homes by Monday’s 6.3-magnitude temblor.

“We are all a little bit angry with God because we never expected a tragedy this big,” L’Aquila Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari told the faithful gathered in a tent. “But even anger toward God is a sign of faith.”

God, as the “Christians” portray God — just like the Greeks’ Zeus, a gigantic, omnipotent, unpredictably alternately loving and violent male entity in the sky that causes such things as earthquakes — just can’t lose, can he?

Watching people like the Rev. Luis Leon and Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari still defending a dying, indefensible “Christianity” in this modern age is like watching soon-to-be-extinct dinosaurs writhing in tar pits.

You feel at least a bit sorry for them, but at the same time you know that they are dying out because they never adapted, and that something more evolved will follow them.

Update (Monday, April 13, 2009):

OK, so you’re dying to know what I think of “Che.”

“Che,” not entirely unlike “Kill Bill,” is broken into parts one and two, only with “Che” you get the opportunity to see both at one visit to the theater.

It was great to get the old-school 20-minute intermission between parts one and two of “Che,” and I’ll gladly watch a four-hour-plus film if it’s worth it. I’m not so sure, however, that “Che” is entirely worth it.

Part one of “Che,” which chronicles Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s part in the 1959 Cuban Revolution, is worth watching, while part two — well, not so much. Part two of “Che” chronicles Guevara’s ill-fated attempt to bring a similar revolution to Bolivia.

It’s not that Guevara not only fails to bring a revolution to Bolivia but then dies a rather anti-climactic death that makes part two of “Che” not so great. Part one of “Che” isn’t better than part two only because Guevara wins in his quest in part one but loses (and dies) in part two.

Part two suffers because director Soderbergh does a good job in chronicling the biographical and historical elements of Guevara’s life, but what is missing from “Che,” especially in part two, is the spirit that must have inspired Che Guevara in the first place.

I mean, you don’t spend months and months in the jungle engaged in guerilla warfare unless you are driven by something much larger than yourself, and Soderbergh doesn’t capture what it was that must have driven Guevara — not enough for four-plus hours’ worth of film on Guevara’s life, anyway.

Sure, in “Che” we see here and there peasants being treated of their medical maladies, but we still don’t get nearly as strong a sense of Guevara’s driving passions that we should. Instead, we get details. Lots and lots of details.

The 2004 film “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which chronicles Guevara’s life before he was involved in the Cuban Revolution, gave us a good sense of Guevara’s driving passions. Why couldn’t “Che”?

So if you want to get a good sense of Che Guevara’s life, watch “Motorcyle Diaries” first and then watch part one of “Che.” You can skip part two.

I give “Che” a B-. (I give part one an A- and part two a C, which is why the B- overall.) 

“Che” sure is timely, though. The Associated Press reports today:

President Barack Obama directed his administration [today] to allow unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba, and to take other steps to ease U.S. restrictions on the island, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

The formal announcement was being made at the White House [this] afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs’ daily briefing with reporters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the president’s announcement.

With the changes, Obama aims to create new space for the Cuban people in their quest for political freedom and a democratic government, in part by making them less dependent on the Castro regime, the official said.

Other steps taken [today] include allowing gift parcels to be sent to Cuba, and issuing licenses to increase communications among and to the Cuban people. About 1.5 million Americans have relatives in Cuba.

Obama had promised to take these steps as a presidential candidate. It has been known for over a week that he would announce them in advance of his attended this weekend of a Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

“There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans,” Obama said in a campaign speech last May in Miami, the heart of the U.S. Cuban-American community. “It’s time to let Cuban Americans see their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers. It’s time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent upon the Castro regime.”

Sending money to senior government officials and Communist Party members remains prohibited. Restrictions imposed by the Bush administration had limited Cuban travel by Americans to just two weeks every three years. Visits also were confined to immediate family members….

Some [U.S.] lawmakers, backed by business and farm groups seeing new opportunities in Cuba, are advocating wider revisions in the trade and travel bans imposed after Fidel Castro took power in Havana in 1959.

But Obama is keeping the decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba in place, arguing that that policy provides leverage to pressure the regime to free all political prisoners as one step toward normalized relations with the U.S.

While there is much to disagree with Fidel Castro over, it is my deepest hope that Cuba does not become what it was before the Cuban Revolution, which was a capitalist playground for rich Americans exploiting and further impoverishing the Cuban people.

I don’t see that the Cuban people will be “free” as wage slaves to American corporations. At least under Castro their basic human needs, such as education and medical care, are met. (These basic human needs are not even met in the United States of America.)

The Cuban people will fare worse under unbridled American capitalist/corporate exploitation than they have under Fidel Castro.

Yes, Cuba should be free.

But I think that Iraq is a wonderful recent demonstration of the American idea of “freedom” for another nation’s people.

All of those American corporations that are just can’t wait to get their greedy grubbies back on Cuba should be kept waiting indefinitely.

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