When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!

TOPIC: fidel castro


This Happened—November 25: Death Of A Communist Icon

After winning a revolution, and ruling for almost half a century, Fidel Castro dies at the age of 90.

Sign up to receive This Happened straight to your inbox each day!

Watch Video Show less

New Revelations Of García Marquez's Ties To Cuba And Nicaragua

Like other intellectuals of his time, the celebrated Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez admired Cuba's Fidel Castro. What's just been revealed, however, is also, as one text reveals, the Sandinista rebels who have stifled Nicaraguan democracy in past years.

BOGOTÁ — Entirely isolated and criticized by the international community, Daniel Ortega was again sworn in earlier this month as president of Nicaragua.

Ortega has now outdone Anastasio Somoza, the despot he helped topple in his youth, with a record 26 years in power and starting a fifth mandate, including a fourth consecutive one and the second with his wife Rosario Murillo as vice-president.

After Cuba's Fidel Castro, he is the regional tyrant most frequently cheered by Colombia's leftist intellectuals, and praised as his people's emancipator from "yankee oppression."

Keep reading... Show less

Venezuela: The Hard Part About Overthrowing Maduro

The opposition has so far failed to provoke a military uprising against President Nicolás Maduro, and for now, can only count on an angry but tired population.


CARACAS — As Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó asked supporters on May Day to continue street protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, on Caracas's famed Altamira junction, a resilient group of protesters were throwing rocks and shouting at the soldiers firing tear gas at them from the Francisco de Mirando air base.

Keep reading... Show less

When Is Violence Acceptable? On Ending Tyranny in Venezuela

Modern Latin American history holds examples of insurrections to topple dictators, which contemporaries and posterity have judged positively. Why should there not be a rebellion today to free Venezuelans of its inept and tyrannical regime?

BOGOTA On Dec. 31,1958, a bearded man with a beret took the microphone on Radio Rebelde, the broadcaster of Cuban guerrillas opposed to the regime of President Fulgencio Batista. His voice could be heard in every corner of the island: "I've come to tell our people today that the dictatorship is vanquished. Batista's fall may be a question of 72 hours now. By now it is evident the regime cannot resist any longer..."

That of course was Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader speaking from Palma Soriano, in eastern Cuba. Batista had been a key contributor to the 1940 Constitution, but in 1952, shortly before elections were to be held, he usurped power with a coup, and proceeded to exploit the country until his downfall.

Keep reading... Show less
Hector Lemieux

Santería And The Spiritual Soul Of Socialist Cuba

An Afro-Caribbean religion dating back to the days of slavery, Santería has adapted to both Catholicism and Socialism and is a major contributor to Cuba's particular cultural identity.

HAVANA — The sound of drums invades a devastated street in Centro Habana, the Havana neighborhood most affected by Hurricane Irma, which unleashed her fury on the old, patched-up Spanish palaces. The buildings are collapsing one after the other. "This is surreal," says one tourist, a first timer in Cuba. "It's like Beirut." Put another way, it seems that Yemaya — the Santería goddess of the sea and protector of seafarers — has made light of humans.

For many, Santería — the "worship of saints' and a spiritual companion, for centuries, to African slaves — is the last resort to save what's left after "el ciclón" hurled itself at the neighborhood's homes and apartments. In the living/dining/sleeping room of a crumbling shack in the Neptuno street, incantations accompany the drums. A man goes into a trance. He falls to the ground. The scene could just as well have taken place in the neighborhoods of Regla or Guanabacoa, where Santería reigns supreme over the spirits of men.

Watch Video Show less
Farid Kahhat

Castro, Chávez And The True Origins Of Autocracy

Did adverse conditions force such Latin American strongmen Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro to clamp down, or did they hide their authoritarian designs from the start?

LIMA — What leads a regime to take the radical path? Is it preordained, or do events radicalize governments? In Cuba and Venezuela, two governing systems mostly closely adhering to communism's core ideology, the original revolutionary leaders never actually set out to create communist states.

In 1959, when Fidel Castro led a guerrilla campaign to oust the conservative regime of Fulgencio Batista, and after his triumphal entry into Havana, Cuba's new leader clearly stated that his was not a communist revolution. In 1998, Hugo Chávez likewise told the Univisión reporter Jorge Ramos that he believed the Cuban regime was a dictatorship, and separately assured the Peruvian television presenter Jaime Bayly that he was not leading a socialist movement.

Watch Video Show less

Colombian FARC Rebels Take Mannequin Challenge

BOGOTAFreeze! The Mannequin Challenge, the latest internet craze where groups of people make a video of themselves frozen in time, has an unlikely new participant: the Colombian rebel army FARC.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has spent much of the past half-century waging a bloody insurgency and holding hostages for years at a time, is now expected to disarm and disband as part of a long-awaited peace deal in the Latin American country. Apparently in search of ways to soften their image, the Communist rebels have now turned to the viral Mannequin Challenge, which has been taken up by groups of people on social networks, as well as notables like Hillary Clinton and British singer Adele.

Watch Video Show less
Ricardo Lagos*

Colombian Peace, Some Good News On The Globalization Front

For Chile's former president, Ricardo Lagos, peace between Bogota and leftist FARC guerrillas could signal a new path well beyond the borders of Colombia — though a post-Brexit Europe may be hard to reach.


SANTIAGO — The date June 23, 2016 will go down in history. While in Europe, Brexit signaled the moment the United Kingdom began burning its bridges with the European Union, on our continent, we were building them with the signing of a peace deal in Colombia. The reverberations may be felt across the Americas.

Watch Video Show less

Clinton And Trump Pull Away, Kabul Toll Doubles, Who Owns Spanish?


Frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have moved significantly closer to winning their parties' nomination after the two candidates clinched resounding victories in the New York primary. With final ballots tallied early Wednesday, Clinton got close to 58% of the vote in the Democratic race, while Trump obtained 60.5% of Republican primary support. In his victory speech, Trump declared: "We don't have much of a race anymore." But for The New York Times, Bernie Sanders and John Kasich, despite their defeats, "should ignore any pressure to quit." Dan Balz writes in today's edition of The Washington Post that Clinton has been badly damaged by Sanders' challenge.

Watch Video Show less
Paolo Mastrolilli

Cuba: Are The Castro Brothers Returning To Catholic Fold?

The renewed relations with the U.S. may have been prompted by the Cuban revolutionaries' connection with Pope Francis.

HAVANA — Rumors that Fidel and Raul Castro are returning to the Catholic faith are growing in substance. As current President Raul Castro charts a new course for the Communist country, the brothers are reportedly rediscovering the faith they grew up in.

In their youth, the Castro boys attended the Colegio de Dolores, a prestigious Jesuit school in the city of Santiago de Cuba. The Castros later strayed from their upbringing, and after the 1959 revolution, Fidel closed the country's Catholic schools and expelled all Jesuits.

Watch Video Show less