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Monday, March 2, 2015

Islamist-Left Alliance A Growing Force

Islamist-Left Alliance A Growing Force

By STEVEN STALINSKY | May 9, 2007
http://www.nysun.com/foreign/islamist-left-alliance-a-growing-force/54077/
"Where else can you sit down in a single evening and listen to senior people from Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, people from the revolutionary left and the antiwar movement from around the globe?"
— British Trotskyite John Rees at the Cairo Anti-War Conference, April 2007
Over the past year, multiple international conferences have featured leaders of the anti-global left and Islamist groups working together. Go to any anti-war or anti-globalization demonstration in the West and chances are you will see the flags of Hezbollah and Hamas waved by people wearing Che Guevara T-shirts. And at some of these meetings, members of such radical Islamist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Hezbollah have enjoyed starring roles.
The roster of Islamist-left alliances quietly grows every day: Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguistics professor Noam Chomsky praises Hamas and denounces America on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television. London Mayor Ken Livingstone invites a leading Islamist, Sheikh Yosef Al-Qaradawi, who is known for supporting suicide attacks, to visit his city. Iranian President Ahmadinejad calls for a world without America even as he plays host to a Tehran peace conference attended by American Mennonites, Quakers, Episcopalians, Methodists, and leaders of the National Council of Churches.
The key forum at this year's annual Cairo Anti-War Conference was titled "Bridge-building Between the Left and Islam," and focused on practical ways to increase cooperation. The aim of the conference sessions were described in one piece of literature as tackling "the challenges and prospects facing the international anti-war and pro-intifada movements" and planning "strategy and tactics for bridging the gap and uniting Islamist and leftist ranks in the face of U.S. imperialism and Zionism."
The Arabic press has lauded this phenomenon. An article in Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly praises what it refers to as "Arab activists taking the lead in the growing anti-war movement worldwide."
Some Islamist issues on which the anti-global left appears to have found common ground are countering the international boycott of Hamas, calling for the boycott of Israel, supporting Iran against the threat of a U.S. attack (as well as supporting its "right" to develop nuclear weapons), supporting avowedly anti-American countries such as Cuba and Venezuela, and, above all, opposing the war in Iraq.
Many leftist blogs and Web sites monitored by MEMRI have been increasingly open to working with Islamist groups on the goals they both share — most notably the desire for America to leave Iraq. British Trotskyite John Rees, a regular at the Cairo conference since it started in 2002, told Al-Ahram in April that at this year's gathering he had discussed in particular the "ongoing dynamic between the anti-war movement and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood." Mr. Rees also believes that the Islamist-Left coalition is gaining strength, while what is known as the "coalition of the willing" has faltered.
In addition, MEMRI researchers monitoring jihadi Web sites have recently found Islamists trying to influence American anti-war efforts. On the Islamist Al-Mohajroon Web site, someone with the username Al-Wathiq Billah instructs readers on how to infiltrate popular American Internet forums to distribute jihadist films and spread disinformation about the war.
"There is no doubt, my brothers, that raiding American forums is among the most important means of obtaining victory in the fierce media war ... and of influencing the views of the weak-minded American who pays his taxes so they will go to the infidel American army. This American is an idiot and does not know where Iraq is ... Every electronic mujahid" must engage in this raiding, Mr. Billah writes.
Mr. Billah advises his jihadist readers to "register yourself using a purely American name" and to "invent stories about American soldiers you have personally known (as classmates... or members in a club who played baseball and tennis with you) who were drafted to Iraq and then committed suicide while in service by hanging or shooting themselves." The writing should, he says, provoke "frustration and anger towards their government, which will ... render them hostile to Bush ... and his Republican Party, and make them feel they must vote to bring the troops back from Iraq as soon as possible."
Such an emerging alliance can only be expected to play a negative role in the ongoing war on terror.
Mr. Stalinsky is the executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The Communists As They Really Are

The Communists As They Really Are

Compiled by Paul Bogdanor


“… the very cannibalism of the counterrevolution will convince the nations that there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”
- Karl Marx
(“The Victory of the Counter-Revolution in Vienna,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, November 7, 1848)


“We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.”
- Karl Marx
(“Suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, May 19, 1849)


“The present generation is like the Jews whom Moses led through the wilderness. It has not only a new world to conquer, it must go under in order to make room for the men who are able to cope with a new world.”
- Karl Marx
(The Class Struggles in France, 1850, [Resistance Books, 2003], p. 97)


“We say to the workers: you will have to go through 15, 20, 50 years of civil wars and national struggles not only to bring about a change in society but also to change yourselves, and prepare yourselves for the exercise of political power.”
- Karl Marx
(Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne, 1852-3, Marx-Engels Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 403)


“Society is undergoing a silent revolution, which must be submitted to, and which takes no more notice of the human existences it breaks down than an earthquake regards the houses it subverts. The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way.”
- Karl Marx
(“Forced Emigration,” New York Daily Tribune, March 22, 1853)


“England has to fulfill a double mission in India: one destructive, the other regenerating – the annihilation of old Asiatic society, and the laying the material foundations of Western society in Asia… When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch… and subjected them to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous, pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain.”
- Karl Marx
(“The Future Results of British Rule in India,” New York Daily Tribune, August 8, 1853)


“Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew, as is every Pope by a Jesuit. In truth, the cravings of oppressors would be hopeless, and the practicability of war out of the question, if there were not an army of Jesuits to smother thought and a handful of Jews to ransack pockets.”
- Karl Marx
(“The Russian Loan,” New York Daily Tribune, January 4, 1856)


“All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm… The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is a step forward.”
- Friedrich Engels
(“The Magyar Struggle,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, January 13, 1849)


“People have learned by bitter experience that the ‘European fraternal union of peoples’ cannot be achieved by mere phrases and pious wishes, but only by profound revolutions and bloody struggles… Of course, matters of this kind cannot be accomplished without many a tender national blossom being forcibly broken. But in history nothing is achieved without violence and implacable ruthlessness…”
- Friedrich Engels
(“Democratic Pan-Slavism,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, February 15, 1849)


“Then there will be a struggle, an ‘inexorable life-and-death struggle,’ against those Slavs who betray the revolution; an annihilating fight and ruthless terror – not in the interests of Germany, but in the interests of the revolution!”
- Friedrich Engels
(“Democratic Pan-Slavism, Cont.,” Neue Rheinische Zeitung, February 16, 1849)


“A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon... and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists.”
- Friedrich Engels
(Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader [W. W. Norton, 1978], pp. 730-3)


“By destroying the peasant economy and driving the peasant from the country to the town, the famine creates a proletariat... Furthermore the famine can and should be a progressive factor not only economically. It will force the peasant to reflect on the bases of the capitalist system, demolish faith in the tsar and tsarism, and consequently in due course make the victory of the revolution easier... Psychologically all this talk about feeding the starving and so on essentially reflects the usual sugary sentimentality of our intelligentsia.”
- V. I. Lenin
(Michael Ellman, “The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1934,”Europe-Asia Studies, September 2005, p. 823)


“[Use] rifles, revolvers, bombs, knives, knuckle-dusters, sticks, rags soaked in kerosene for starting fires... barbed wire, nails (against cavalry)… or acids to be poured on the police... The killing of spies, policemen, gendarmes, the blowing up of police stations... [must start] at a moment’s notice.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Tasks of Revolutionary Army Contingents,” Collected Works, Vol. 9, pp. 420-4)


“We would be deceiving both ourselves and the people if we concealed from the masses the necessity of a desperate, bloody war of extermination, as the immediate task of the coming revolutionary action.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Lessons of the Moscow Uprising,” Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 174)


“... there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Lessons of the Commune,” Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 478)


“He who accepts the class struggle cannot fail to accept civil wars, which in every class society are the natural, and under certain conditions inevitable, continuation, development and intensification of the class struggle… To repudiate civil war, or to forget about it, is to fall into extreme opportunism and renounce the socialist revolution.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“The Military Programme of the Proletarian Revolution,” Collected Works, Vol. 23, pp. 78-9)


“War to the death against the rich and their hangers-on, the bourgeois intellectuals... ‘He who does not work, neither shall he eat’ – this is the practical commandment of socialism... [Our] common aim [is] to clean the land of Russia of all vermin, of fleas – the rogues, of bugs – the rich, and so on and so forth.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“How to Organise Competition?” Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 411, 414)


“Not a single problem of the class struggle has ever been solved in history except by violence... The class struggle did not accidentally assume its latest form, the form in which the exploited class takes all the means of power in its own hands in order to completely destroy its class enemy, the bourgeoisie...”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Report on the Activities of the Council of People’s Commissars,” Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 459-61)


“We can’t expect to get anywhere unless we resort to terrorism: speculators must be shot on the spot. Moreover, bandits must be dealt with just as resolutely: they must be shot on the spot.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Meeting of the Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet With Delegates From the Food Supply Organisations,”Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 501)


“Surely you do not imagine that we shall be victorious without applying the most cruel revolutionary terror?”
- V. I. Lenin
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 57)


“... prepare eveything to burn Baku to the ground, if there is an attack…”
- V. I. Lenin
(Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive [Yale University Press, 1996], p. 46)


“... carry out merciless mass terror against the kulaks, priests and White Guards; unreliable elements to be locked up in a concentration camp outside the town.”
- V. I. Lenin
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 103)


“The uprising of the five kulak districts should be mercilessly suppressed… Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers... Do it in such a way that for hundreds ofversts [km] around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucker kulaks.”
- V. I. Lenin
(Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive [Yale University Press, 1996], p. 50)


“About three million must be regarded as middle peasants, while barely two million consist of kulaks, rich peasants, grain profiteers... Ruthless war on the kulaks! Death to them! ... [Class struggle entails] ruthless suppression of the kulaks, those bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who batten on famine.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Comrade Workers, Forward To The Last, Decisive Fight!” Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 53-7)


“I am confident that the suppression of the Kazan Czechs and White Guards, and likewise of the bloodsucking kulaks who support them, will be a model of mercilessness.”
- V. I. Lenin
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 119)


“Dictatorship is rule based directly upon force and unrestricted by any laws. The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is rule won and maintained by the use of violence by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, rule that is unrestricted by any laws.”
- V. I. Lenin
(The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky [Foreign Languages Press, 1972], p. 11)


“... when people charge us with harshness we wonder how they can forget the rudiments of Marxism.”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Speech to the All-Russia Extraordinary Commission Staff,” Collected Works, Vol. 28, pp. 169-70)


“... catch and shoot the Astrakhan speculators and bribe-takers. These swine have to be dealt [with] so that everyone will remember it for years.”
- V. I. Lenin
(Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy [HarperCollins, 1994], p. 201)


“When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party... we say, ‘Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position...’”
- V. I. Lenin
(“Speech to the First All-Russia Congress of Workers in Education and Socialist Culture,” Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 535)


“Russians are too kind, they lack the ability to apply determined methods of revolutionary terror.”
- V. I. Lenin
(Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy [HarperCollins, 1994], p. 203)


“Use both bribery and threats to exterminate every Cossack to a man if they set fire to the oil in Guriev.”
- V. I. Lenin
(Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive [Yale University Press, 1996], p. 69)


“Treat the Jews (express it politely: Jewish petty bourgeoisie) and urban inhabitants in the Ukraine with an iron rod, transferring them to the front, not letting them into the government agencies (except in an insignificant percentage, in particularly exceptional circumstances, under class control).”
- V. I. Lenin
(Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive [Yale University Press, 1996], p. 77)


“It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables... I come to the categorical conclusion that precisely at this moment we must give battle to the Black Hundred clergy in the most decisive and merciless manner and crush its resistance with such brutality that it will not forget it for decades to come… The greater the number of representatives of the reactionary clergy and reactionary bourgeoisie we succeed in executing for this reason, the better.”
- V. I. Lenin
(Richard Pipes, ed., The Unknown Lenin: From the Secret Archive [Yale University Press, 1996], pp. 152-4)


“There is nothing immoral in the proletariat finishing off the dying class... in one month at most this terror will assume more frightful forms, on the model of the great revolutionaries of France. Our enemies will face not prison but the guillotine [which] shortens a man by the length of a head.”
- Leon Trotsky
(Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution [Vintage, 1990], pp. 791-2)


“Root out the counterrevolutionaries without mercy, lock up suspicious characters in concentration camps... Shirkers will be shot, regardless of past service...”
- Leon Trotsky
(Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary [HarperCollins, 1996], p. 213)


“We have to run a hot iron down the spine of the Ukrainian kulaks – that will create a good working
environment.”
- Leon Trotsky
(Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary [HarperCollins, 1996], p. 183)


“These Cains [Don Cossacks] must be annihilated, no mercy must be shown to any settlement that gives resistance. Mercy only for those who hand over their weapons voluntarily and come over to our side... You must cleanse the Don of the black stain of treason within a few days.”
- Leon Trotsky
(Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary [HarperCollins, 1996], p. 156)


“More and more we hear the voice of the workers and peasants, saying: ‘we must exterminate all Cossacks, then peace and calm will come to South Russia!’”
- Leon Trotsky
(Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921 [Harvard University Press, 2002], p. 178)


“[We propose] the creation of a penal work command out of [work] deserters, and their internment in concentration camps.”
- Leon Trotsky
(Richard Day, Leon Trotsky and the Politics of Economic Isolation [Cambridge University Press, 1973], p. 29)


“As for us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the ‘sacredness of human life.’”
- Leon Trotsky
(Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky [New Park Publications, 1975], p. 82)


“The bourgeoisie today is a falling class... We are forced to tear it off, to chop it away. The Red Terror is a weapon utilized against a class, doomed to destruction, which does not wish to perish. If the White Terror can only retard the historical rise of the proletariat, the Red Terror hastens the destruction of the bourgeoisie.”
- Leon Trotsky
(Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky [New Park Publications, 1975], p. 83)


“Repression for the attainment of economic ends is a necessary weapon of the socialist dictatorship.”
- Leon Trotsky
(Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky [New Park Publications, 1975], p. 159)


“... the road to socialism lies through a period of the highest possible intensification of the principle of the state... Just as a lamp, before going out, shoots up in a brilliant flame, so the state, before disappearing, assumes the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the most ruthless form of state, which embraces the life of the citizens authoritatively in every direction...”
- Leon Trotsky
(Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky [New Park Publications, 1975], p. 177)


“What, however, is our relation to revolution? Civil war is the most severe of all forms of war. It is unthinkable not only without violence against tertiary figures but, under contemporary technique, without murdering old men, old women and children... There is no impervious demarcation between ‘peaceful’ class struggle and revolution. Every strike embodies in an unexpanded form all the elements of civil war.”
- Leon Trotsky
(“Their Morals and Ours,” New International, June 1938)


“... if the dictatorship of the proletariat means anything at all, then it means that the vanguard of the class is armed with the resources of the state in order to repel dangers, including those emanating from the backward layers of the proletariat itself.”
- Leon Trotsky
(“Moralists and Sycophants Against Marxism,” New International, August 1939)


“All the parties of capitalist society, all its moralists and all its sycophants will perish beneath the debris of the impending catastrophe. The only party that will survive is the party of the world socialist revolution…”
- Leon Trotsky
(“Moralists and Sycophants Against Marxism,” New International, August 1939)


“We must carry along with us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia’s population. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated.”
- Grigori Zinoviev
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 114)


“But couldn’t this correlation [of political and social forces] be altered? Say, through the subjection or extermination of some classes of society?”
- Feliks Dzerzhinsky
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 252)


“Do not believe that I seek revolutionary forms of justice. We don’t need justice at this point... I propose, I demand, the organisation of revolutionary annihilation against all active counterrevolutionaries.”
- Feliks Dzerzhinsky
(Michel Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich, Utopia in Power: A History of the USSR From 1917 to the Present[Hutchinson, 1986], p. 54)


“[The Red Terror is] the extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation or of their pre-revolutionary roles.”
- Feliks Dzerzhinsky
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 114)


“We do not wage war against individuals. We are exterminating the bourgeoisie as a class. Do not look during an investigation for evidence that the accused acted, by word or deed, against the Soviet power. The first question we ask is: to what class does he belong, what are his origins, upbringing, education or profession? These questions should decide the fate of the accused. This is the essence of the Red Terror.”
- Martin Latsis, Cheka commander
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 114)


“As far as the bourgeoisie are concerned, the tactics of mass extermination must be introduced.”
- Martin Latsis
(Bruce Lincoln, Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War [Simon and Schuster, 1989], p. 160)


“Sooner or later we will have to exterminate, simply physically destroy, the Cossacks, or at least the vast majority of them.”
- I. I. Reingold, Bolshevik official
(Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921 [Harvard University Press, 2002], pp. 166, 194-5)


“... we are conducting a struggle not for the Cossackry but against the Cossackry, before us stands the task of the Don’s complete conquest and extinction.”
- Iosif Khodorovskii, Bolshevik official
(Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921 [Harvard University Press, 2002], p. 195)


“Considering the experience of a year of civil war against the Cossackry, we must recognize the only proper means to be a merciless struggle with the entire Cossack elite by means of their total extermination... Therefore it is necessary to conduct merciless mass terror against wealthy Cossacks, exterminating them totally; to conduct merciless mass terror against all those Cossacks who participated, directly or indirectly, in the struggle against Soviet power...”
- Bolshevik order
(Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921 [Harvard University Press, 2002], pp. 181)


“[The Cossack threat] makes vital the question of the complete, immediate and decisive destruction of the Cossackry as a specific cultural and economic group, the destruction of its economic foundations, the physical elimination of the Cossack bureaucrats and officers (indeed, the entire counterrevolutionary Cossack elite)... and the formal liquidation of the Cossackry.”
- Bolshevik order
(Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia's Continuum of Crisis, 1914-1921 [Harvard University Press, 2002], p. 192)


“... anyone who dares to agitate against Soviet authority will be arrested immediately and confined in a concentration camp.”
- Bolshevik order
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 179)


“It is essential to safeguard the Soviet Republic from its class enemies by isolating them in concentration camps.”
- Bolshevik order
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], p. 179)


“Workers, the time has come when either you must destroy the bourgeoisie, or it will destroy you. Prepare for a mass merciless onslaught upon the enemies of the revolution. The towns must be cleansed of this bourgeois putrefaction... all who are dangerous to the cause of revolution must be exterminated... Henceforth the hymn of the working class will be a hymn of hatred and revenge.”
- Bolshevik order
(George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin’s Political Police [Clarendon Press, 1981], pp. 113-4)


“1. Citizens who refuse to give their names are to be shot on the spot without trial; 2. The penalty of hostage-taking should be announced and they are to be shot when arms are not surrendered; 3. In the event of concealed arms being found, shoot the eldest worker in the family on the spot and without trial; 4. Any family which harboured a bandit is subject to arrest and deportation from the province, their property to be confiscated and the eldest worker in the family to be shot without trial; 5. The eldest worker of any families hiding members of the family or the property of bandits is to be shot on the spot without trial.”
- Bolshevik order
(Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: Life and Legacy [HarperCollins, 1994], pp. 343-4)


“[Lenin] is talented, he has all the qualities of a ‘leader,’ but also, what is essential for that role, an absence of morality and a purely lordly, merciless attitude to the lives of the masses.”
- Maksim Gorky, Soviet writer
(Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary [HarperCollins, 1996], p. 184)


“I assume that most of the 35 million affected by the famine will die.”
- Maksim Gorky
(Michel Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich, Utopia in Power: A History of the USSR From 1917 to the Present[Hutchinson, 1986], p. 121)


“The half-savage, stupid, difficult people of the Russian villages will die out... and their place will be taken by a new tribe of the literate, the intelligent, the vigorous.”
- Maksim Gorky
(Michel Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich, Utopia in Power: A History of the USSR From 1917 to the Present[Hutchinson, 1986], p. 121)


“Experiments on human beings are indispensable... Hundreds of human guinea pigs are required.”
- Maksim Gorky
(Stephan Courtois, The Black Book of Communism [Harvard University Press, 1999], p. 751)


“In order to oust the kulaks as a class, the resistance of this class must be smashed in open battle and it must be deprived of the productive sources of its existence and development... That is a turn towards the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class.”
- Joseph Stalin
(“Concerning the Policy of Eliminating the Kulaks as a Class,” Krasnaya Zvezda, January 21, 1930, Works, Vol. 12, p. 189)


“There is, of course, a certain small section of the population that really does stand in fear of the Soviet power, and fights against it. I have in mind the remnants of the moribund classes, which are being eliminated, and primarily that insignificant part of the peasantry, the kulaks… Everybody knows that in this case we Bolsheviks do not confine ourselves to intimidation but go further, aiming at the elimination of this bourgeois stratum.”
- Joseph Stalin
(“Talk With the German Author Emil Ludwig,” Bolshevik, April 30, 1932, Works, Vol. 13, pp. 113-4)


“The abolition of classes is not achieved by the extinction of the class struggle, but by its intensification. The state will wither away, not as a result of weakening the state power, but as a result of strengthening it to the utmost, which is necessary for finally crushing the remnants of the dying classes... we have routed the kulaks and have prepared the ground for their elimination.”
- Joseph Stalin
(“The Results of the First Five-Year Plan,” Pravda, January 10, 1933, Works, Vol. 13, p. 215)


“Of course, we are far from being enthusiastic about the fascist regime in Germany. But it is not a question of fascism here, if only for the reason that fascism in Italy, for example, has not prevented the USSR from establishing the best relations with that country.”
- Joseph Stalin
(“Report to the Seventeenth Party Congress,” Pravda, January 28, 1934, Works, Vol. 13, pp. 308-9)


“I know how much the German nation loves its Fuhrer; I should therefore like to drink to his health.”
- Joseph Stalin
(John Lukacs, June 1941: Hitler and Stalin [Yale University Press 2006], p. 55)


“... the peasant is adopting a new tactic. He refuses to reap the harvest. He wants the bread grain to die in order to choke the Soviet government with the bony hand of famine. But the enemy miscalculates. We will show him what famine is.”
- Stanislav Kossior, Ukrainian communist leader
(Petro Grigorenko, Memoirs [Harvill Press, 1983], p. 36)


“The unsatisfactory course of sowing [grain] in many areas confirms that famine still hasn’t taught reason to many kolkhozniks [collective farmers].”
- Stanislav Kossior
(Andrea Graziosi, “The Soviet 1931-1933 Famines and the Ukrainian Holodomor,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Vol. 27, 2004, p. 106)


“We know that millions are dying. That is unfortunate, but the glorious future of the Soviet Union will justify that.”
- G. I. Petrovsky, Ukrainian communist leader
(Fred E. Beal, Proletarian Journey [Hillman-Curl, Inc., 1937], p. 310)


“A ruthless struggle is going on between the peasantry and our regime. It’s a struggle to the death. This year was a test of our strength and their endurance. It took a famine to show them who is master here. It has cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.”
- M. M. Khatayevich, Ukrainian communist leader
(Victor A. Kravchenko, I Chose Freedom [Transaction Publishers, 1989], p. 130)


“People are getting increasingly aware, especially in the famine-affected areas, of what is happening; they hate idlers and thieves. The conscientious collective farmers want these idlers and thieves killed by hunger.”
- Oleksandr Odyntsov, Ukraine agriculture commissar
(Stanislav Kulchytsky, “Lessons From Melbourne Meetings,” The Day, Ukraine, April 28, 2009)


“The collective farmers this year have passed through a good school. For some, this school was quite ruthless.”
- Mikhail Kalinin, Soviet head of state
(William Henry Chamberlin, “Famine Proves Potent Weapon in Soviet Policy,” Christian Science Monitor, May 29, 1934)


“Political impostors ask contributions for the ‘starving’ of Ukraine. Only degraded disintegrating classes can produce such cynical elements.”
- Mikhail Kalinin
(William Henry Chamberlin, Russia’s Iron Age [Little, Brown and Company, 1934], p. 369)


“... no compassion and sniveling humanism can be shown toward enemies of socialism. To ‘pity’ a kulak, a speculator, a traitor, an enemy of the people, is to feel sorry for the wolf that will respond to the pity with fresh crimes and acts of treachery... the supreme act of humanism is the destruction of these vicious snakes dispatched by fascism into the land of socialism.”
- Vladimir Stavsky, Secretary of the Soviet Writers’ Union
(Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution From Above, 1928-1941 [W. W. Norton, 1992], p. 576)


“Better that ten innocent people should suffer than one spy get away. When you cut down the forest, woodchips fly.”
- Nikolai Ezhov, NKVD commander
(Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge [Columbia University Press, 1989], p. 603)


“[It is] better to condemn a hundred innocent persons than let one guilty person escape.”
- Dolores Ibarruri (“La Pasionaria”), Spanish communist politician
(Victor Alba, The Communist Party in Spain [Transaction Publishers, 1983], p. 256)


“You are protesting against Jewish capitalism, gentlemen? Whoever protests against Jewish capitalism, gentlemen, is already a class-warrior, whether he knows it or not. You are against Jewish capitalism and want to beat down stock exchange jobbers. That’s all right. Stamp on the Jewish capitalists, string them up from the lamp-posts, trample them underfoot...”
- Ruth Fischer, German communist leader
(Mario Kessler, “Leon Trotsky’s Position on Anti-Semitism, Zionism and the Perspectives of the Jewish Question,” New Interventions, Vol. 5, No. 2, 1994)


“The National Socialist Party, like all other socialist organizations, has within its ranks a number of convinced and honest people. Dedicated to a cause we reject, they pledge to it their lives. This courage and bravery we honor and respect.”
- Hermann Remmele, German communist spokesman
(Abraham Ascher and Guenter Lewy, “National Bolshevism in Weimar Germany: Alliance of Political Extremes Against Democracy,” Social Research, Winter 1956, p. 468)


“Young Socialists! Brave fighters for the nation: the Communists do not want to engage in fraternal strife with the National Socialists.”
- Heinz Neumann, German communist leader, speaking at a Nazi rally
(Abraham Ascher and Guenter Lewy, “National Bolshevism in Weimar Germany: Alliance of Political Extremes Against Democracy,” Social Research, Winter 1956, p. 478)


“[Resolved: that] the revolt of the oppressed peoples in the colonies against imperialism has always been accompanied by destructive attacks against the national minorities when they aided the imperialist regime, and that the revolt of the Arab masses in Palestine against the imperialists had been and would in the future be accompanied by a war of annihilation against the Jewish minority, as long as it cooperated with the British imperialists.”
- Palestine Communist Party
(Resolution of the 7th Party Congress, 1932; quoted in Zachary Lockman, “The Left in Israel: Zionism vs Socialism,” MERIP Reports, July 1976, p. 8)


“Moscow is convinced that the road to Soviet Germany leads through Hitler.”
- Soviet Embassy in Berlin
(Robert C. Tucker, “The Emergence of Stalin’s Foreign Policy,” Slavic Review, December 1977, p. 582)


“There are magnificent lads in the SA and SS. You’ll see, the day will come when they’ll be throwing hand grenades for us.”
- Karl Radek
(Robert C. Tucker, “The Emergence of Stalin’s Foreign Policy,” Slavic Review, December 1977, p. 587)


“One can accept or reject the ideology of Hitlerism, just as one can any other ideological system, that’s a matter of political views… it is not only senseless but criminal to wage such a war as a war to ‘destroy Hitlerism’ under the false flag of a struggle for ‘democracy.’”
- V. M. Molotov
(Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution From Above, 1928-1941 [W. W. Norton, 1992], p. 602)


“Look at World War II, at Hitler’s cruelty. The more cruelty, the more enthusiasm for revolution.”
- Mao Zedong
(New York Times, August 31, 1990)


“If we were to add up all the landlords, rich peasants, counterrevolutionaries, bad elements and rightists, their number would reach thirty million... Of our total population of six hundred million people, these thirty million are only one out of twenty. So what is there to be afraid of? ... We have so many people. We can afford to lose a few. What difference does it make?”
- Mao Zedong
(Li Zhisui, The Private Life of Chairman Mao [Random House, 1994], p. 217)


“It is a very good thing, and a significant one too, to exterminate the bourgeoisie and capitalism in China.”
- Mao Zedong
(Philip Short, Mao: A Life [Henry Holt, 1999], p. 447)


“You’d better have less conscience. Some of our comrades have too much mercy, not enough brutality, which means that they are not so Marxist. On this matter, we indeed have no conscience! Marxism is that brutal.”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], p. 411)


“Let’s contemplate this, how many people would die if war breaks out. There are 2.7 billion people in the world. One-third could be lost; or, a little more, it could be half... I say that, taking the extreme situation, half dies, half lives, but imperialism would be razed to the ground and the whole world would become socialist.”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], p. 428)


“We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution.”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], pp. 457-8)


“Don’t make a fuss about a world war. At most, people die... Half the population wiped out – this happened quite a few times in Chinese history... It’s best if half the population is left, next best one-third...”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], p. 458)


“There should be celebration rallies when people die... We believe in dialectics, and so we can’t not be in favor of death.”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], p. 457)


“Deaths have benefits. They can fertilise the ground.”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], p. 457)


“People say that poverty is bad, but in fact poverty is good. The poorer people are, the more revolutionary they are. It is dreadful to imagine a time when everyone will be rich... From a surplus of calories people will have two heads and four legs.”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], p. 428)


“The weeds of socialism are better than the crops of capitalism.”
- Mao Zedong
(Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story [Jonathan Cape, 2005], p. 643)


“When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.”
- Mao Zedong
(Frank Dikötter, Mao’s Great Famine [Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010], pp. 88, 134)


“I ask you, Ladies and Gentlemen, for permission to bow down before the memory of all the innocent people killed, not by the enemy, but by our own hands... While destroying the landowner class, we simultaneously condemned to dreadful death numberless old people and children... A slogan has been put out: Better kill ten innocent people than let one enemy escape... Let me recall here some fundamental principles of justice... [such as:] The responsibility falls on the guilty person only, not on wives, children or relatives.”
- Nguyen Manh Tuong, North Vietnamese dissident
(“Concerning Mistakes Committed in Land Reform,” Speech to the National Congress of the Fatherland Front, Hanoi, October 30, 1956, in Hoang Van Chi, ed., The New Class in North Vietnam [Saigon: Cong Dan, 1958], pp. 135, 138, 142-3)


“In the [North Vietnamese] agrarian reform, illegal arrests, imprisonments, investigations (with barbarous torture), executions, requisitions of property, and the quarantining of landowners’ houses (or houses of peasants wrongly classified as landowners), which left innocent children to die of starvation, are not exclusively due to the shortcomings of the leadership, but also due to the lack of a complete legal code. If the cadres had felt that they were closely observed by the god of justice... calamities might have been avoided for the masses.”
- Nguyen Huu Dang, North Vietnamese dissident
(“It is Necessary to Have a More Ordered Society,” Nhan Van, Hanoi, No. 4, November 5, 1956)


“... we had to make the people suffer, suffer until they could no longer endure it. Only then would they carry out the Party’s armed policy.”
- Senior Viet Cong defector
(Jeffrey Race, War Comes to Long An [University of California Press, 1972], p. 112)


“We’ve been worse than Pol Pot, but the outside world knows nothing.”
- Vietnamese communist boast
(Nguyen Van Canh, Vietnam Under Communism, 1975-1982 [Hoover Institution Press, 1983], p. 207)


“Ho Chi Minh may have been an evil man; Nixon may have been a great man. The Americans may have had the just cause; we may not have had the just cause. But we won and the Americans were defeated because we convinced the people that Ho Chi Minh is the great man, that Nixon is a murderer, and the Americans are the invaders... The key factor is how to control people and their opinions. Only Marxism-Leninism can do that.”
- Mai Chi Tho, Vietnamese communist politician
(New York Times Magazine, March 29, 1981)


“I propose the immediate launching of a nuclear strike on the United States. The Cuban people are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the cause of the destruction of imperialism and the victory of world revolution.”
- Fidel Castro
(Fedor Burlatsky, “Castro Wanted a Nuclear Strike,” New York Times, October 23, 1992)


“If they attack, we shall fight to the end. If the [Soviet nuclear] rockets had remained, we would have used them all and directed them against the very heart of the United States, including New York, in our defence against aggression.”
- Che Guevara
(Jorge G. Castañeda, Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara [Bloomsbury Publishing, 1997], p. 231)


“What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims... advancing fearlessly towards the hecatomb which signifies final redemption.”
- Che Guevara
(Hugh Thomas, Cuba, or the Pursuit of Freedom [Da Capo Press, 1998], p. 1417)


“... if any person has a good word for the previous government, that is enough for me to have him shot.”
- Che Guevara
(Hugh Thomas, Cuba, or the Pursuit of Freedom [Da Capo Press, 1998], p. 1470)


“Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine... We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it... we must attack him wherever he may be; make him feel like a cornered beast wherever he may move... He will even become more beastly, but we shall notice how the signs of decadence begin to appear... How close we could look into a bright future should two, three or many Vietnams flourish throughout the world with their share of deaths and their immense tragedies...”
- Che Guevara
(Message to the Tricontinental [OSPAAAL, 1967]).


“The rebel’s weapon is the proof of his humanity. For in the first days of the revolt you must kill: to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time... once the last settler is killed, shipped home or assimilated, the minority breed disappears, to be replaced by socialism.”
- Jean-Paul Sartre
(Preface, Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth [Penguin, 1967], pp. 19-20)


“Auschwitz means that 6 million Jews were killed, and thrown onto the waste heap of Europe, for what they were: money-Jews. Finance capital and the banks, the hard core of the system of imperialism and capitalism, had turned the hatred of men against money and exploitation, and against the Jews... Antisemitism is really a hatred of capitalism.”
- Ulrike Meinhof, German Red Army Faction terrorist
(Paul Lawrence Rose, German Question/Jewish Question: Revolutionary Antisemitism From Kant to Wagner[Princeton University Press, 1990], p. 304)


“In the new Kampuchea, one million is all we need to continue the revolution. We don’t need the rest. We prefer to kill ten friends rather than keep one enemy alive.”
- Khmer Rouge slogan
(Pin Yathay, Stay Alive, My Son [Touchstone, 1987], p. 148)


“We need only 2 million troops to crush the 50 million Vietnamese; and we still would have 6 million people left.”
- Khmer Rouge broadcast
(Stephen J. Morris, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia [Stanford University Press, 1999], p. 104)


“Lenin taught us to be merciless towards the enemies of the revolution, and millions of people had to be eliminated in order to secure the victory of the October Revolution.”
- Nur Muhammad Taraki, Afghan communist dictator
(Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World [Penguin, 2006], p. 389)


“We’ll leave only 1 million Afghans alive – that’s all we need to build socialism.”
- Sayyed Abdullah, Afghan communist prison governor
(Sylvain Boulouque, “Communism in Afghanistan,” in Stephane Courtois et al.The Black Book of Communism[Harvard University Press, 1999], p. 713)


“We are doing what Lenin did. You cannot build socialism without Red Terror.”
- Asrat Destu, Ethiopian army political commissar
(Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World [Penguin, 2006], pp. 467-8)


“[In a civil war] whole classes of people will disappear. The people will obliterate some classes and then these classes will know the fury of the public.”
- Daniel Ortega, Sandinista leader
(Wall Street Journal, October 12, 1984)


“The triumph of the revolution will cost a million deaths.”
- Shining Path slogan
(Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Peru, August 28, 2003, General Conclusions, para. 21)


Q: In 1934, millions of people are dying in the Soviet experiment. If you had known that, would it have made a difference to you at that time? To your commitment? To being a communist?
A: ... Probably not...
Q: What that comes down to is saying that had the radiant tomorrow actually been created, the loss of 15, 20 million people might have been justified?
A: Yes.
- Eric Hobsbawm, British communist historian
(Times Literary Supplement, October 28, 1994)


“If I win, I don’t want any positions or honors. I just want the job of getting rid of our enemies, all those who have to be got rid of. It’ll be a difficult task because there will be millions of people who have to be eliminated. That’s what I want to do after [the revolution].”
- Italian Red Brigades militant
(Sergio Zavoli, La notte della Repubblica [Mondadori, 1995], p. 221, quoted in Alessandro Orsini, Anatomy of the Red Brigades [Cornell University Press, 2011], p. 5)


“To the grave with all the Yids!”
- General Albert Makashov, Russian communist politician
(The Guardian, UK, November 5, 1998)


“We would be better off with only 6 million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don’t want all these extra people.”
- Didymus Mutasa, Zimbabwean ruling party official
(Washington Post, January 1, 2003)


“Absolute power is when a man is starving and you are the only one able to give him food.”
- Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean dictator
(The Times, UK, July 9, 2004)


[Last updated June 13, 2013]

ARMANDO VALLADARES - Torture in Castro’s Cuba

Torture in Castro’s Cuba

(Address of Ambassador Armando Valladares’, Chief of the United State’s Delegation to the United Nations Human Rights’ Commission. Geneva, Switzerland, February 23, 1988)
Mr. Chairman, I am not a career diplomat, and I am not an expert on the technical aspects of this organism. I will not speak in a detailed manner on the reports and topics submitted under point 10. There will be other interventions during which we will listen to opinions on those important matters.
Mr. Chairman, today I want to speak about torture, about what it means for a human being to be tortured, to be humiliated, or what may be even worse, to watch a friend, a companion, or a relative being tortured.
As many of you know, I spent twenty-two years in prison for political reasons. Perhaps, I am the only delegate in this Commission who has spent such a long time in prison, although there are several persons here who have known in their own flesh the meaning of torture. I do not care about their political ideology, and I offer to you my embrace of solidarity, from tortured to tortured.
I had many friends in prison. One of them, Roberto López Chávez, was just a kid. He went on a hunger strike to protest the abuses. The guards denied him water, Roberto lay on the floor of his punishment cell, agonizing, deliriously asking for water. water… The soldiers came in and asked him: “Do you want water?”… The they took out their members and urinated in his mouth, on his face… He died the following day. We were cellmates; when he died I felt something wither inside me.
I recall when they kept me in a punishment cell, naked, with several fractures on one leg which never received medical care; today, those bones remain jammed up together and displaced. One of the regular drills among the guards was to stand on the steel mesh ceiling and throw at my face buckets full of urine and excrement.
Mr. Chairman, I know the taste of the urine and the excrement of other men… that practice does not leave marks; marks are left by beatings with steel rods and by bayonet thrusts. My head is still covered with scars and you can feel the cracks.
But, what can inflict more damage to human dignity, the urine and excrements thrown all over your face or a bayonet’s blow? Which is the appropriate article for the discussion of this subject? Under which technical point does it fall? Under what batch of papers, numbers, lines and bars should we include this trampling of human dignity?
For me, and for innumerable other human beings around the world. The violation of human rights was not a matter of reports, of negotiated resolutions, of elegant and diplomatic rhetoric, for us was a daily suffering.
For me (it meant) eight thousand days of hunger, of systematic beatings, of hard labor, of solitary confinement, of cells with steel-planked windows and doors, of solitude.
Eight thousand days of struggling to prove that I was a human being. Eight thousand days of proving that my spirit could triumph over exhaustion and pain. Eight thousand days of testing my religious convictions, my faith, of fighting the hate my atheist jailers were trying to instill in me with each bayonet thrust, fighting so that hate would not flourish in my heart [Editor’s Note: Atheism has nothing to do with torture — as evidence the Inquisition by the Church]. Eight thousand days of struggling so that I would not become like them, rejecting torture as a mean to fight, forcing myself to forgive, rejecting the thoughts of revenge, reprisal and cruelty.
And when cruelty is extended to one’s family, does not it become a means of torture? My father is an elderly man, he is very ill; he too suffered political imprisonment. Because he is my father he is not allowed to leave the country. For two years now, the authorities are preying on him as reprisal for my activities. They do not beat him, but they tell him that he will be leaving the country on the following day. My father travels to the Capital full of illusions. And when he is about to board the plane, they tell him that it was a bureaucratic error that he most goes back to his hometown. They do this to him every two or five weeks. They are damaging his mind, in the same manner that they destroyed my sister’s, who is currently undergoing psychiatric treatment.
Occasionally, the world of the grieving has poetic traits. I think it was a book by Victor Frankel, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, where I read that in the midst of the total disheartenment in which they lived, they were kept alive by a violinist. A fellow prisoner invariably played a classical piece on his violin at sundown and they all turned silent to listen him. That violin, pulling notes from its strings in the midst of their suffering was a secret ray of hope.
Bertold Brecht, the German playwright, tells a similar story in a moving monologue. It tells of two Jewish teenagers imprisoned at a hard-labor camp. They are a girl and a boy, and a fence keeps them apart. They have never spoken but their eyes crossed and they are in love. Daily, at the fence that separates them, each one leaves a flower pulled among the weeds as a testimony of their love. One day, her flower is missing. The following day his is gone. Hopelessness killed them both.
The arbitrariness of tyrants reduces their victims to the condition of mere beasts… dehumanizes them. In the same manner that animals are tied down, locked up or beaten without explanation, totalitarian regimes treat their adversaries as beasts. And there are times, when one is being treated like a beast, that the only thing that saves us from the most degrading humiliation, the only thing that keeps us firm, is to know that somewhere else there is another soul that loves us, that respect us and that is fighting for the return of the dignity that has been snatched from us.
I had the luck, Mr. Chairman, of having people who was fighting for my freedom, and of having my wife who went from country to country, knocking on every door and on every conscience, on people and governments, pressuring them for my freedom. But the majority of those who suffer the violation of their human rights have one sole hope the international community. Against all hope, they only think of you, they only hope in you.
Unfortunately, I have some first-hand experience on these grieves. Many years, maybe twenty years ago, a political prisoner named Fernando López Toro came near my cell and told me in a disheartened voice that what hurt him the most about our torments, the beatings inflicted upon us, the hunger we suffered, was to think that our sacrifice was useless. Fernando was not broken by the pain but by the futility of the pain. I tried to explain to him that in the face of total ignorance and indifference from the rest of the world, our suffering still had an ethical sense and carried valuable transcendence, but I think I did not get through to him. A few years later, prisons apart, I heard that Fernando could not hold on any longer and took his own life.
Months later I learned the details. Because of other inmates in his cell were too weak and distraught, and practically annihilated because of the physical cruelties inflicted upon them, they stood motionless, and Fernando was able to climb up on his bunk bed, wrap a dirty rag around his neck, cut it open with a piece of sharpened metal, with his fingers feeling for the jugular vein; then with one stroke, slashed it. He died within minutes.
It is always said that his jailers were directly responsible for his death, but I know that Fernando was also the victim of general apathy and lack of solidarity, of silence, of that terrible soundless universe where so many worthy men and women continue to die in this century of horrors and tramplings.
Torture and violations of human rights, come from where might, are an aggression against all mankind and we must fight back with all our strength. There lies, precisely, the efficacy of our message.
International denouncements achieve their objective. They are the only means of pressuring the torturers, the only means to force them to free prisoners for the sake of public image, to save face, to be more careful, to transgressing less.
Denouncing the criminal does not guarantee his punishment but it may deter him from continuing the practice. We must raise our voices without fear and use all resources available to defend the persecuted, the tortured of the world. We must shout their suffering for them and fearlessly denounce their henchmen.
We must enter the cell of every Fernando López del Toro in the world, embrace him in solidarity and tell them to their faces, “do not take your life, there are men of good will who are standing by you, your dignity as a human being will prevail. In remembrance, there will always be a flower, the notes of a violin, the saddened voice of the so-called brothers who grief with you and defend you. Look, you are not a beast. Do not take your life. Freedom will never disappear from the face of the Earth.”
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Armando Valladares, is a Cuban poet released (because of international pressure) from Castro’s political dungeons in 1982 after serving 22 years of a 30 year sentence for publicly opposing the Communist take over of the Cuban Revolution.

CUBA - Bloody Tally of a Fifty-Year Long Dictatorship

Bloody Tally of a Fifty-Year Long Dictatorship

Maria C. Werlau,
El Nuevo Herald,
December 19, 2008


Translated from Spanish by the author.

Fidel Castro has enjoyed generally favorable worldwide treatment, which stands in sharp contrast with what most tyrants typically get. This is more remarkable given that he is responsible for the bloodiest chapter of Latin America’s republican history and that his regime of terror has lasted five decades.

In fact, Fidel Castro has staged one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of all times. The key to this masterful manipulation has been the effective concealment of his worst crimes and a pervasive unawareness of the large cost in lives of the Castro dynasty. This largely explains the persistent ignorance of the bloody and ruthless nature of the regime and the tendency to justify it on the basis of so-called principles of equality and social justice. But mounting evidence of brutality will make it increasingly difficult to sustain this false legitimacy. When the truth finally comes out, Castro’s singular ability to fool so many, so much, and for so long will be nakedly exposed.

Since the end of the 1990s, Cuba Archive has been confronting the vast Cuban propaganda machine by focusing on its bloody trails. It has created a comprehensive registry of deaths that makes it harder to ignore the worst crimes of the Cuban regime as well as the magnitude and present-day character of the tragedy.

To date, Cuba Archive (www.CubaArchive.org) has documented more than 8,200 fatalities or disappearances caused by the Castro communist government since January 1, 1959. Until 2003 it took almost exclusively from the investigation by one of its directors and founders, Armando Lago, PhD (1939-2008), for a book project he researched mostly from existing bibliography. In recent years, the project has focused on gathering direct testimony and reviewing sources of information previously unexamined. Collaboration with the group “Cuban Memorial” (www.MemorialCubano.org) has helped access the Cuban exile community to improve on documentation efforts.

Up to December 15, 2008, 5,732 cases of execution, extrajudicial killings, and disappearances have been documented. In addition, 515 deaths in prison for medical negligence, suicide, or accident have been recorded. These totals, which constitute partial yet growing numbers, already amount to more than twice the 3,197 disappearances and killings by the military regime led by General Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Yet while Pinochet was subject to solid worldwide condemnation, Fidel Castro has been lauded by many celebrities and influential global figures.

In 2008 alone, 42 deaths have been registered, all in prison except one – 2 extrajudicial killings, 23 for lack of medical care, 11 reported suicides, 2 in accidents resulting from negligence, plus 1 death for undetermined causes. Between January 1, 1959 and December 15, 2008, a partial tally of deaths attributed to the Castro regime totals 8,237 documented cases, if combat actions against the communist government are included.

Aside from these striking numbers, deaths at sea in exit attempts are estimated to surpass 77,000. Dr. Lago, who had a PhD in Economics from Harvard University, derived an econometric calculation with data from the US Coast Guard and studies by the University of Havana and Miami, respectively. But the exact amount of deaths of Cuban “rafters” is impossible to determine. Cuba Archive has documented only 1,104 cases of death or disappearance in exit attempts, given that no efforts have existed to date to systematically register these cases. Francisco Chaviano González started a registry of such disappearances inside Cuba but was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to 15 years of prison for revealing “state secrets.” After serving 13 years, he was released in August 2007 in very ill health.

One of the most astounding aspects of this tragedy is the killing by Cuban authorities of civilians trying to flee the island. An initial effort to record these cases has uncovered almost 200 victims. This sum compares to the 227 victims killed in Berlin Wall crossings during Communist period in East Germany. This monstrosity in Cuba is largely ignored, but it reflects something never seen in this hemisphere – a state policy of executing defenseless citizens for wanting to leave their country. Cuban border guards have sunk vessels by crashing into them or throwing sand bags from low-flying planes. They have gunned down civilians without regard to age or condition. There are past reports of special units of the Cuban military dedicated to this ghastly task. The Canimar River massacre of 1980 and the “13 de marzo” tugboat massacre of 1994, which left dozens of victims, including many children, are just the better known such episodes. The number of victims suffering a similar fate could be in the thousands. Because generally the only witnesses left to tell the story are the perpetrators, this could only be ascertained if Cuba’s secret archives are ever recovered.

The case of Iskander Maleras Pedraza, age 26, and Luis Angel Valverde Linfernal, in his thirties, bears an exceptional degree of proof of this practice. Both were gunned down by border guards while attempting to swim to the US Naval Base in Guantánamo on January 19, 1994. Of the group of four friends, one made it to the base and related what happened. The other survivor was captured, judged and sentenced to prison. Because Maleras was from Guantánamo and his parents were respected professionals, well-known in their community, the public outcry forced the regime to unleash a campaign to justify the killings. The propaganda was geared towards creating fear among would-be imitators. Photos of the dead bodies were exhibited in schools and the guards who did the grisly deed were awarded medals in public ceremonies. Court documents of the proceedings and official media reports serve as evidence of the crime.

Another case, that of Miguel Guerra Mora, Daniel Cosme Ramos, and Federico Martí Jiménez, is officially reported as a disappearance, yet all indicates they were murdered by Cuban authorities for attempting to escape by sea. Guerra Mora, 36 years old and the father of two children, was a dredging specialist working at the Port of Palo Alto, in Ciego de Avila province. On May 19, 1991, he, a fellow worker, and a friend took command of a small vessel at the port. They were never heard of again. Guerra Mora’s family undertook a desperate search that included inquiries to countries they might have reached. Five years later, a border guard distantly related to the family confidentially sent word that the three had been gunned down during their attempted escape.

Cuba Archive has documented many more cases of extrajudicial killings or executions, each one as terrifying as the others. This aberration stems from the fact, with scarce global precedent, that Cuba’s laws penalize its citizens with jail for attempting to leave their country without government permission. Today several political prisoners are serving sentences of up to 25 years for such “crimes.”

Raúl Castro, Fidel’s brother and designated successor, is responsible for hundreds of executions in Oriente province right after the revolutionary government ascended to power. Many were carried out without even the pretense of a trial. Moreover, as Minister of Defense during nearly five decades, Raúl was directly in command of border guards with orders to shoot civilians attempting to escape into the US Naval Base at Guantánamo. He is also said to have ordered chemical attacks that left thousands of deaths in Angola in the 1980s.

The cost of the long and dark chapter of Cuban history written by the Castro brothers is enormous. Its macabre tally of extrajudicial killings includes dozens of children as well as women. And the slaughter extends to other nationalities. To date, 68 foreigners are among documented victims of execution, extrajudicial killing, or disappearance by the Cuban government. In fact, Fidel Castro and his brother are responsible for over 100,000 lives if armed interventions overseas are accounted for. Moreover, if foreign victims of Cuba’s incursions in Africa and victims of international subversion sponsored and/or financed by Cuba are added, the death toll could reach several hundred thousand.

But counting numbers can never do justice to the vast human suffering brought on by this calamity. Its effects reverberate among thousands of people directly or indirectly affected. Each case is a story of unimaginable loss and pain. Each life cut short is that of a daughter, a father, a sister, a husband, a grandson, a niece, a friend. How could we quantify the cost of stolen lives and cheated futures? How could we calculate the despair, sorrow and trauma caused by the martyrdom of defenseless people? That of course, is impossible. Yet ultimately, that immeasurable cost – together with all the suffering and misery the Castro regime has caused at all levels – will be its most enduring legacy.

With time, the names, faces, and stories of the victims will be better known. If anything, that should promote more forceful calls for the end of oppression in Cuba. And when Cuba is finally free and the magnitude of this tragedy is fully exposed, it will speak clearly of the need to renounce violence as a means of forging the destiny of the Cuban nation. That would give meaning to the sacrifice of so many and would become a precious gift for a people who deserve to leave in peace.

Maria C. Werlau is Executive Director of Cuba Archive.