Castro’s memoir: truth or fairytale?

Strategic Victory will be relased next week
Strategic Victory will be relased next week

Cuba’s former president is about to publish the first volume of his memoirs, according to first reports the style and content would be seemingly more to Julius Caesar than Tony Blair or upcoming memoirs of George W. Bush. Castro’s opening volume which would be released next week will be focused on his guerrilla campaign against Fulgencio Batista’s army in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra Mountains in late 1950’s. First volume will be titled “Strategic Victory”.

State website reported this week 25 chapters will cover Castro recounts, using maps, photographs and diagrams, how his outnumbered rebels routed the dictator Batista and paved the way for their triumphant march into capital on January 1st, 1959. Same site described his work as an essential historical guide for generations to come adding that Castro is working on a second volume of his memoirs titled “The Final Strategic Counter – Offensive”.

Several authors declared their suspicions about upcoming memoirs claiming that Castro’s work will not bring anything new or to be candid. Simon Reid-Henry author of “Fidel and Che: A Revolutionary Friendship” welcomed Castro’s recounts questioning its focus.

“History is such a closely guarded thing in Cuba that these memoirs may well bring new documentable material to light. But … I doubt Castro’s account will offer much that is new. Castro has always believed the revolution was a product of his and his comrades’ conviction and ultimate righteousness, even though it was always also, of course, the result of social forces they themselves had little control over”, said Mr. Reid-Henry.

On the other side well known foreign affair author and former The New York Times journalist, Stephen Kinzer, writes in The Guardian that only few living figures could contribute as much as Castro to our understanding of the second half of the 20th century, but he didn’t expect him to do it in this memoirs.

“Castro has lived almost his entire life as a clandestine revolutionary. To such figures, truth is always malleable, always subservient to political goals. Whatever Castro’s goal now, it is certainly not confronting difficult and complex truths or reflecting deeply on the course of his life. Castro’s career has been about myth-making; there is no reason to believe his memoir will be any different”, said Kinzer.

It seems that he is pretty sure that Castro’s memoirs will fulfill expectations to nothing more than fairytale about his “heroics” nor that we will actually had to find new truthful insight into Castro’s relationships with his brother and successor Raul, highly popular comrade Camilo Cienfuegos, or with Che Guevara or real relations with Soviet bloc.

“Castro cannot be reasonably expected to renounce his beliefs or implicate himself in killings or atrocities. Nonetheless it would be fascinating to learn whether he still believes it was necessary to execute hundreds of his countrymen without trial in the first weeks after his victory in 1959; whether he wishes the Soviet Union had taken his advice and launched a nuclear first strike against the United States; and whether he regrets the repression and mass imprisonment of gay people, other “lifestyle dissidents”, and intellectuals who supported his cause but broke with him after his first years in power”, said Kinzer.

After Castro releases his memoirs public will have a chance to read several volumes of memoirs written by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair which will be published by Random House on September 2nd, former US President G. W. Bush memoirs will be released in November and finally at the end of September public will have a chance to read Ingrid Betancourt recollections which will cover the six years that she was held hostage by Farc rebels in Colombia.

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