Can’t Get Enough o’ Those Dictators!

A Face of Evil

The New York Times today has a fawning piece with photos of that friend of human rights, Fidel Castro, as documented by the evil bastard who’s been his court photographer for years. Roberto Salas is in New York for an exhibition of his photos because …. “he can travel here at will because he kept his American citizenship.” Natch! Wouldn’t want to give that up while chronicling the antics of a man who sends planes to strafe the rickety boats and rafts of people who weren’t lucky enough to have U.S. passports as they try to flee Paradise.

13 Responses to “Can’t Get Enough o’ Those Dictators!”

  1. Anonymous

    greetings people of the world, this communique comes to from the very people you depend on we connect your calls, we fix your food, we drive you in your cars. in short we are all around you in plain sight but you can not see us. we are a simple yet a passionate group of individuals who have chosen principles of freedom and liberation over fear, oppression and compliance with the neo-con agenda of the imperialist bush regime` which we consider to be the true weapons of mass destruction.

    for centuries capitalism has enslaved the masses, explioted the natural resources of our home, mother earth has been ravished by the greed of a few and acheived on the backs of the many with little or no reward for the workers that built this injustice. now we stand at forefront in a global insurrection against these warmongers and and slave masters of the world. we are engaged in a struggle that is the battle for the future of the liberation of man and our home.

    it is our responsibility and our right to fight back these forces of neo-imperialism, that through its policies seeks to conquer the planet’s population through economic enslavement. these governments, these corperations and their supporters we will hold accoutable for these actions. in addition it is our duty to take these actions in defense of our comrades who will not accept that revolution not reform is nesscary and unavoidable.

    we thank every one who supports our actions and have taken to the streets on several occasions to protest and voice their dissent aginst these policies of globicide and economic domination.

    we do not require weapons or soliders, for we have more than enough to achieve liberation from this illegal regime. we simply ask you to form a world wide solidarity network against war, globalazation, and economic enslavement along with destruction of our mother earth. a network that will be governed by the free thinking and egalitarian values we seek for a better world. a network that will create a new world which will be free of oppression and enslavement thrust upon us by these criminals in power around the world. a network which will build new ways to live in peace and justice and harmony with our planet.

  2. Anonymous

    So those of us who “connect your calls, fix your food, and drive you in your cars” all got together and wrote a manifesto. Cool. And all made possible by capitalist telephone services, internet connections, and computer companies. Very cool. Capitalism makes so much possible, even the publication of the adolescent rantings of whatever individual (I rather doubt it was actually a group) who posted the comment above.

  3. I remember when my freshman-year college papers sounded a hell of a lot like the first comment above.

    Then I interned at the Cato Institute. Thank you, Tom Palmer.

  4. Yeah, Tom Palmer hates Latin American dictatorships. That is unless they privitize their social security systems. Then Tom Palmer swoons over former high officials in the dictatorship. Jose Pinera, to be specific.

    All those Chiliens who “disappeared” while Pinochet/Pinera were in power? Well Tom tries not to think to much about them. Probably commies anyway, certainly not amigos de libertad.

  5. Tom G. Palmer

    Yes, Bob, I do like Jose Pinera for creating a more rational pension system based on ownership, under the awful conditions of dictatorship in his native country. It’s hard for people to know what they would have done under those circumstances — leave the country, go into underground opposition, or create the conditions that got rid of the dictatorship. As it turned out, Pinera helped to make Chile a wealthy and free country that managed to rid itself of military dictatorship, certainly at least substantially because of Pinera’s policies as minister of social security. Now…about Cuba, which was a dictatorship before and during, and has remained a dictatorship long after Pinochet’s rule?

  6. So Tom, then can I count I you, if there were a nuclear attack on New York and George Bush took this as an opportunity to declare martial law and cancel the 2008 election, that under those circumstances you’d be happy to serve in his government if he asked you to serve on a Social Security privatization task force?

    Note that you could justify doing this the same way. It would speed America’s economy recovery from the attack and the return to democratic government.

    You also make it sound like that Pinera was against Pinochet and his blood-drenched dictatorship, hoped it would end, and simply tried to make the best of circumstances that were beyond his control. In fact he supported the coup from abroad, returned to Chile afterwards to work in the military government, and even now defends it (see his website for this).

    You ask about Cuba? I think it is horrible that the left sometimes defends Castro and his government. I think it is equally horrible that you and other right-wingers toady up to a former high-level apparatchik in a fascist military dictatorship.

    By inviting Pinera you’re implying that your privatization ends were justified by the murderous means of Pinochet’s coup and dictatorship. You are no different than someone on the left who invites former Castro minister to the USA to describe how great the universal health care system is there.

    Thank you for your response just the same!

  7. Tom G. Palmer

    Your first paragraph is a pretty implausible, even crazy smear. How about this one, which is a bit closer to the case of Allende. Bush, having been elected very narrowly in 2000, was taking moves to ensure that there would be no campaign for president in 2004. In a relatively democratic and free country the President had begun taking over power, creating a new military force loyal to him, and the Congress and the judiciary had called his actions an unconstitutional coup d’etat. He was deposed and a new government formed to ward off his dictatorship. What would I do? Would I serve in the government that ousted him if I thought it would lead to the end of that government and the restoration of democratic government? I don’t know. But I understand that that’s much closer to the scenario Pinera faced. I don’t know what the best course would have been, but I am confident that Pinera did not face the kind of scenario that “Bob” sets out above.

    What if I were a Chinese citizen and had a chance to bring about free trade or institute religious toleration? Would I take a job with the government to do that? I think so. Would I join the secret police to jail critics? No. But would I join the Ministry of Mines and work for privatization? I might. Would I join the Ministry of Justice and support religious freedom and a free press? I might.

    “Bob” won’t and can’t defend Fidel so instead….he has to cast his net very wide to take on the …. Minister of Social Security in a non-democratic regime that was democratically replaced by a democratic system. Weak.

    Finally, it is “Bob” who is implying that a coup was justified by whatever good might have come after it. I don’t say that and I don’t believe that it is implied. If a coup leads later to religious toleration (and this has in fact happened, as witness Napoleon’s liberation of the Jews in Europe), and you support religious toleration, it does NOT imply that you therefore support the coup. That may be true for “Bob,” but it is not logically implied nor need it be true for others. “Bob’s” remarks tell us something about him and what he thinks is implied.

  8. I’m certain that Bob has never been to Chile, let alone even tried to find it on a map. If he had ever taken the time to speak to Chilean who had lived through *both* Pinochet and Allende I’m sure he would have realized that from the time Alessandri won the election onward, Chileans have had to make do with what they had.

    In no way are the horrible and illiberal actions of the both the Allende or Pinochet regimes excuseable, but that doesn’t mean that officials in either adminstration condoned executive transgressions. Had Bob bothered to study a little bit of recent Chilean history, he would have noticed the constant tension between the junta and the powerful but neutered Christian Democrats.

    Suffice it to say that enough headway was made where Pinochet formed an executive based on genuine reform…unless you were a communist or opposed his rule (and were’nt powerful enough for others to notice your disappearance).

    Had Bob researched a little bit instead of spouting hot air, he might have come to the rational conclusion that the actions of an executive don’t implicate every official under that executive in whatever evil actions committed, especially given the slow thawing of the Pinochet regime towards a more legitimate government.

    But Bob won’t do that because he’s more concerned about ratcheting up his count for vitriolic statements in one week.

  9. Whom exactly am I smearing? If you mean Bush, it was a mere hypothetical, I don’t mean that is what I think he is planning or would do under such circumstances.

    Sorry Tom, your and Brian’s defense of Pinochet’s dictatorship falls flat. I have heard the standard right-wing justification for Pinochet’s coup and long bloody reign many times before and it still falls flat. It amounts to Pinochet had to save democracy by bring about a dictatorship. That because Allende’s actions were supposedly in violation of Chile’s constriction a military dictatorship in violation of that same constitution was required.

    You say: “Would I serve in the government that ousted him if I thought it would lead to the end of that government and the restoration of democratic government? I don’t know. But I understand that that’s much closer to the scenario Pinera faced.”

    No, it’s not at all close to the situation Pinera faced. Even if your claims about Allende were true, you can’t pretend that Pinochet’s thugocracy was some sort of temporary measure needed to restore democratic government. Allende’s term had less than three years left in it at the time of coup and there and immediate reelection was not allowed. On the other hand Pinochet’s murderous reign lasted for 17 years, not some short period of national emergency.

    Sorry Tom, the fact is that you’re a hypocrite. You attack one dictatorship while cozying up with the hired toady of another dictatorship that better fits your ideology. Unlike you, I think both Castro and Pinochet and all of their hired toadies are evil men, Jose Pinera among them. Unlike you I would never shake the blood-stained hand such miscreants, even if I agreed with some of their economic reforms. A pox on all dictatorships and their defenders.

  10. Tom G. Palmer

    “Bob” is, well, how to put this delicately? Not much of a careful reader or thinker. Neither I nor Mr. Radzinsky “defended” Pinochet’s dictatorship. Far from it. Criminal acts are, after all, criminal acts. But does “Bob” really think that all policies taken under a dictatorship are ipso facto acts of dictatorship? If a dictatorship arrests rapists, is that an act of dictatorship, or an act of law enforcement? If a dictatorship (again, the case of Napoleon) liberates the Jews from their civil disabilities, is that policy to be condemned along with the dictatorship that carried it out? Or is it laudable, although the dictatorship that carried it out is to be condemned for other reasons? And if a dictatorship (say, that of Vietnam or that of China) eliminates barriers to trade and travel and allows its citizens to travel abroad, to become exposed to new ideas, and even to discuss them, is that a liberalization that should be lauded, or an act of dictatorship? Should we attack and vilify those in the Chinese government who have been instituting, by fits and starts and with both losses and victories, greater freedom of press, greater freedom of movement, and greater access to justice for citizens through the courts? Bob’s logic condemns all of them. Every one. If Bob is right, then any act of liberalization is to be condemned as vigorously as any act of repression. By his logic, those in the regime of a really terrible dictatorship (the People’s Republic of China, which killed many thousands of times the numbers killed in either Cuba or Chile) who act to diminish repression are themselves guilty of repression. That can’t be right.

  11. By Bob’s broad-brush let’s-oversimplify-for-the-sake-of-sounding-noble logic any regime that is authoritarian in the slightest–including the US–can do nothing right because its evil acts preclude it from any legitimacy whatsoever. Sorry to break it to Bob, but that sort of false dichotomy (both the regime and its actions are just or it and all its actions are evil) doesn’t hold much water.