Death of a despot

November 28, 2016

Fidel Castro’s death has been met with a mixed response.

Some praise him for overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista and improvements in health and education in Cuba.

Others, like Carlos Eire (Professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University, condemn him:

If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Castro’s tombstone and highlighted in every obituary, as bullet points — a fitting metaphor for someone who used firing squads to murder thousands of his own people.

●He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.

●He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.

●He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.

●He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.

●He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.

●He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.

●He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.

●He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.

●He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.

●He censored all means of expression and communication.

●He established a fraudulent school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tier health-care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly “free” social welfare projects.

●He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established an apartheid society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.

●He never apologized for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them.

There might be diplomatic reasons for world leaders to couch their words about Castro in a way that keeps the door to Cuba open.

But when a despot dies it is more than acceptable for the rest of us to speak ill of the dead.

Hat tip: AE Ideas.


March 10 in history

March 10, 2010

On March 10:

241 BC Battle of the Aegates Islands – The Romans sank the Carthaginian fleet bringing the First Punic War to an end.

1606 Susenyos defeated the combined armies of Yaqob and Abuna Petros II at the Battle of Gol in Gojjam, which makes him Emperor of Ethiopia.

1762 French Huguenot Jean Calas, who was wrongly convicted of killing his son, diesdafter being tortured by authorities; the event inspired Voltaire to begin a campaign for religious tolerance and legal reform.

 

1804 Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.

 

1814 Napoleon I of France was defeated at the Battle of Laon in France.

Full length portrait of a man in his forties, in high-ranking dress white and dark blue military uniform. He stands amid rich 18th-century furniture laden with papers, and gazes at the viewer. His hair is Brutus style, cropped close but with a short fringe in front, and his right hand is tucked in his waistcoat.

1830 The KNI, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, was created.

 

1831  The French Foreign Legion was established by King Louis-Philippe to support his war in Algeria.

Grenade legion.svg

1847  Kate Sheppard, New Zealand suffragist, was born.

 

1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was ratified by the United States Senate, ending the Mexican-American War.

 

1861 El Hadj Umar Tall seized the city of Segou, destroying the Bambara Empire of Mali.

1869 The New Zealand Cross was created because New Zealand’s local military were not eligible for the Victoria Cross. Only 23 were awarded, all to men who served in the New Zealand wars, making it one of the rarest military honours in the world.

New Zealand Cross created

1876 Alexander Graham Bell makes the first successful telephone call by saying “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”

1891 Almon Strowger, an undertaker patented the Strowger switch, a device which led to the automation of telephone circuit switching.

 

1905 Eleftherios Venizelos called for Crete’s union with Greece, and started the Theriso revolt.

1906 Courrières mine disaster, Europe’s worst ever, kills 1099 miners in Northern France.

 

1912 Yuan Shikai was sworn in as the second Provisional President of the Republic of China.

1917  Batangas was formally founded as one of the Philippines’s earliest encomiendas.

1922 Mahatma Gandhi is arrested in India, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years in prison, only to be released after nearly two years for an appendicitis operation.

  

1933 An earthquake in Long Beach, California kills 115 people and causes an estimated $40 million dollars in damage.

 

1945 The USA Army Air Force firebombed Tokyo, and the resulting firestorm killed more than 100,000 people.

 

Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, was born.

1952  Fulgencio Batista leads a successful coup in Cuba and appointed himself as the “provisional president”.

1957 Osama bin Laden, Islamist and leader of al-Qaeda, was born.

Bin Laden Poster2.jpeg

1959 Tibetan uprising: Fearing an abduction attempt by China, 300,000 Tibetans surround the Dalai Lama’s palace to prevent his removal.

1964 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, was born.

1969 James Earl Ray admitted assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. He later retracted his guilty plea.

1970 Captain Ernest Medina is charged with My Lai war crimes.

1977 Rings of Uranus: Astronomers discover rings around Uranus.

  

1980 Madeira School headmistress Jean Harris shot and kills Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower

1980 – Formation of the Irish Army Ranger Wing

IrishArmyRangersShoulderFlash.png

1990 In Haiti, Prosper Avril was ousted 18 months after seizing power in a coup.

2000 NASDAQ Composite stock market index peaks at 5132.52, signaling the beginning of the end of the dot-com boom.

 

2006 The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.jpg

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


January 1 in history

January 1, 2010

On January 1:

45 BC  The Julian calendar took effect for the first time.

1001 – Grand Prince Stephen I of Hungary was named the first King of Hungary by Pope Silvester II.

1449 Lorenzo de’ Medici, Italian statesman, was born.

Portrait by Agnolo Bronzino.

1651  Charles II was crowned King of Scotland.

1735 Paul Revere,  American patriot, was born.

 Portrait of Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley,

1772 – The first traveller’s cheques, which could be used in 90 European cities, went on sale in London.

1779  William Clowes, English printer, was born.

1788  First edition of The Times of London, previously The Daily Universal Register, was published.

1800  The Dutch East India Company was dissolved.

1801 The legislative union of Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland was completed to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1801 The dwarf planet Ceres was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi.

Ceres optimized.jpg

1803  Emperor Gia Long ordered all bronze wares of the Tây Sơn Dynasty to be collected and melted into nine cannons for the Royal Citadel in Huế, Vietnam.

1804 French rule ended in Haiti. Haiti becomes the first black republic and second independent country on the American Continent after the U.S.

       

1808  The importation of slaves into the United States wais banned.

1810  Major-General Lachlan Macquarie CB officially became Governor of New South Wales.

1833 The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.

       

1833 Robert Lawson, New Zealand architect, was born.

1859 Pencarrow, New Zealand’s first lighthouse, was lit for the first time.

NZ's first lighthouse, Pencarrow, lit for the first time

1860 First Polish stamp was issued.

1861  Porfirio Díaz conquered Mexico City.

1876  The Reichsbank opened in Berlin.

1877  Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was proclaimed Empress of India.

1879 E. M. Forster, English novelist, was born.

1880 Ferdinand de Lesseps began French construction of the Panama Canal.

1890  Eritrea was consolidated into a colony by the Italian government.

 

 

 

 

1892  Ellis Island opened to begin processing immigrants into the United States.

1859 Pencarrow, New Zealand’s first lighthouse, was lit for the first time.

NZ's first lighthouse, Pencarrow, lit for the first time
 
  • 1894 – The Manchester Ship Canal,was officially opened to traffic.
  • 1895  J. Edgar Hoover, American FBI director, was born.

    1899Spanish rule ended in Cuba.

     Five horizontal stripes: three blue and two white. A red equilateral triangle at the left of the flag, partly covering the stripes, with a white five pointed star in the centre of the triangle.

     

     

     A shield in front of a fasces crowned by the Phrygian Cap, all supported by an oak branch and a laurel wreath

    1901 – The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia federated as the Commonwealth of Australia; Edmund Barton was appointed the first Prime Minister.

     

     

     

     

    1912 The Republic of China was established.

     A red flag, with a small blue rectangle in the top left hand corner on which sits a white sun composed of a circle surrounded by 12 rays.

     

     

     A blue circular emblem on which sits a white sun composed of a circle surrounded by 12 rays.

    1912  Kim Philby, British spy, was born.

    Kim philby.jpg

    1919 J. D. Salinger, American novelist, was born.

    1925  American astronomer Edwin Hubble announced the discovery of galaxies outside the Milky Way.

    1934  Alcatraz Island became a United States federal prison.

    1939  William Hewlett and David Packard founded Hewlett-Packard.

    Hewlett-Packard Company logo

    1948 The British railway network was nationalised to form British Railways.

    1956  The Republic of the Sudan gained independence.

     

     

     

     

    1958 The European Communitywas established.

    1959 Fulgencio Batista, president of Cuba ws overthrown by Fidel Castro‘s forces during the Cuban Revolution.


    Batista in 1938

    1960 The Republic of Cameroon achieved independence.

     

     

     

     Tricolor shield before two crossed fasces. Its center is an inverted red kite shape covered with a purple outline of Cameroon below a gold star, with the scales of justice superimposed. Its left is green and its right is gold. Banners with fine print are above and below.

    1962 Western Samoa achieves independence from New Zealand; its name is changed to the Independent State of Western Samoa.

     

     

     

     

    1962 – United States Navy SEALs established.

    US Navy SEALs insignia.png

    1982Peruvian Javier Pérez de Cuéllar became the first Latin American to hold the title of Secretary General of the United Nations.

    1983 – The ARPANET officially changes to using the Internet Protocol, creating the Internet.

    1984 – The Sultanate of Brunei became independent.

     

     

     

     

    1985 The Internet‘s Domain Name Systemwas created.

    1985 – The first British mobile phone callwais made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.

    1990David Dinkins was sworn in as New York City’s first black mayor.

    1993 – A single market within the European Community is introduced.

    1994 – The North American Free Trade Agreement comes into effect.

    1995  The World Trade Organisation came  into effect.

    1995 – The Draupner wave in the North Sea in Norway was detected, confirming the existence of freak waves.

    1997 – Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan was appointed Secretary General of the United Nations.

    1998 – The European Central Bank was established.

    2006 – Sydney, sweltered through its hottest New Years Day on record. The thermometer peaked at 45 degrees celsius, sparking bushfires and power outages.

    Sourced from NZ History ONline & Wikipedia.


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