Most of us who enjoy reading books concerning our world, especially those dealing with acts of courage arising from human tragedy, find a few works that have a lasting effect on our lives, not just because of the subject, but because of the way in which it is presented. Few writers can fill the reader with an overwhelming sense of emotion that normally only comes with first hand experience. I found this in Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago and Armando Valladares’ Against all Hope.
A newly released book written by a very close friend of mine, Miguel Faria, called Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise, now joins the ranks of these two previously mentioned works. Dr. Faria, a retired neurosurgeon and Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel, has captured the Cuban experience and much more. We not only learn of the terror of living in a communist island gulag under the control of a criminal thug, but we also are offered solutions to our own dilemma — galloping socialism.
In the first of the book he takes us through the beginnings of the communist revolution, but through different eyes than such work is often presented, that is, from a writer who has not lived the events. We are fortunate to have an author who either personally knew, or his parents knew, many of the players in this horrifying tragedy, including the dashing revolutionary murderer, Che Guevara.
Those of us who have read many of the works on communist revolutions are familiar with the absolute terror of the knock on the door in the middle of the night, the slaughter of the founders of the revolution, trained mobs, and the bloodthirsty secret police seemly everywhere, probing in everyone’s life, looking for a hint of discontent with the new paradise. It is all there and more.
When you read a book describing the total destruction of a people, you want some sort of satisfaction, some glimmer of hope. Dr. Faria gives us this with his portrait of not only the villains and traitors, but also the heroes and the courageous, whose names and courageous acts might have gone unknown except for this magnificent book. For example, the brave alzados anticommunist fighters who took on tens of thousands of Castro’s elite troops, winning many victories, are given ample room in this book.
The stories of immense human courage, while bringing you to tears, also fills you with hope for the world, knowing that there are still men left in the world of such a caliber. Particularly touching was the story of the young Pedro Luis Boitel thrown in a prison where he was starved, beaten daily and tortured beyond human endurance for the crime of disagreeing with the supreme leader. During imprisonment his legs became infected secondary to the torture wounds. At that point he weighed a mere eighty pounds. He was denied medical attention and eventually both of his legs had to be amputated. He still refused to yield to his torturers. Not satisfied, Castro ordered him thrown in an even worse dungeon where he soon died. This story was to be repeated thousands of times.
The chapters covering Dr. Faria and his father’s escape bring realism to the story of so many Cubans. When we hear that 36,000 Cubans have lost their lives in an attempt to escape Castro’s gulag, we may shutter slightly, but there is little humanity in a number, no matter how large. We learned from the tragedy of 911 that putting a human face on a tragedy opens up a whole new reality — they are just like us. Dr. Faria gives a face to the 36,000 who have perished.
Dr. Faria also gives us an inside picture of the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion and the resulting emboldment of Nikita Khrushchev that led to the building of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis. He also makes a most important point, that none of this would have been possible except for sympathizers in the U.S. State Department and the American media working on behalf of Castro and his henchmen. They ignored Castro’s brutality and growing stranglehold on the Cuban people.
The book contains a George Orwell quote about a hapless future in totalitarianism that I particularly like, ” Imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.” This was especially true for the Cuban family; the State’s hobnailed boot was always pressing them down. Like Hillary Clinton and the other American socialists, Castro knew that his greatest enemy was the family, the true autonomous unit in any society — the last vestige of freedom.
As proclaimed by Hillary Clinton in her book, It Takes a Village, Castro also boldly stated that the children belong to the State. Forced labor and indoctrination disguised as education was enforced with a gun. Children were forcibly taken away from their parents at a tender age and made to do hard labor in the cane and tobacco fields. The American media saw it as Cuban patriotism, as did the useful idiot American students who travel to Cuba with the Venceremos Brigades.
Within a few short decades, Castro managed to convert a prosperous, well-educated island of mostly cheerful people into a nation of depressed, frightened, and starving peasants. Dr. Faria points out that in 1992, the average Cuban was allowed only a meager monthly food ration, consisting of 6 pounds of rice, 4 pounds of potatoes, 12 ounces of chicken and 10 ounces of beans. Starving children, who dared to sneak into the government-owned fields, were shot by soldiers. These rations have not changed much for ordinary Cubans.
One of the most emotional parts of the book is Dr. Faria’s telling of the Elian Gonzalez’s story, certainly one of America’s darkest hours. Yet, it reveals aspects of the story never told in the “major media,” that is the leftist media. Particularly telling, is the involvement of major corporations, Black Caucus and churches in assisting Castro in kidnapping a child.
Other important chapters go into dept concerning the media’s involvement in Cuba’s plight, the drug connection, Castro’s support of terrorism, the medical care hoax in Cuba, to essential role of gun control in capturing the nation, and the education (indoctrination) system in Cuba.
Now that Castro is in his seventies, and reported to be in ill health, we must consider the prospects of a post-Fidel Cuba. Dr. Faria covers the subject with great scholarship that not only explores politics and economics, but also the area of natural law. His dissertation on the political framework and the economics of liberty would make the great freedom economists Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek proud.
The appendix of the book contains some valuable documents connecting Castro to international terrorism, drug smuggling, and extensive espionage in the United States. One of the documents exposes a frightening penetration of the Pentagon by a Cuban DGI agent working in a sensitive area of intelligence. This is a book that you will not want to sell or give to a friend, but rather it will be a treasure to be guarded!
Reviewed by Russell L. Blaylock, MD
Reprinted from NewsMax.com, Friday, Jan. 11, 2002
Russell L. Blaylock, MD, Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Blaylock is a member of the Editorial Board of the Medical Sentinel, the official, peer-reviewed journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).
2 thoughts on “Book Review of Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise. Reviewed by Russell L. Blaylock, MD”
Thank you sir for sharing such a horrific tale a similar thing happened in Cuba
Having been born in Cuba in 1957 I know firsthand how they could go about firearm confiscation without knocking on doors. See My father was the 2nd Cuban to graduate from the USNA class of 46. So, he had several weapons on the ranch in Cuba. When Castro began his push to become the president. His platform was one of “draining the Swamp of crooked politicians, Change the system, and raising up the poor people though social services. (all of this sound familiar?) .Back on the Ranch which was next to the Sierra Maestra Mountain range where Castro’s troops were amassing. The army knew that so in 1959 they started setting up their base of operations on the ranch during the day and starting their troops patrols up the mountain. At dusk they would leave and go back to the nearest city, Santa Clara I believe, and Castro’s men would come down from the mountain range and avail themselves of a couple of my father cattle to feed the poor revolutionaries. Fast forward, to dec. 1959 . Most of the cattle were eaten by the rebels and soldiers and one night my father said the rebels came down and insisted my father turn over his guns in addition to his 1911 and M1 carbine they probably had close to 15 shotguns from 12 gauge to 410 and everything in between. My father had prepared for such an event and had moved the ranch hands into the house and armed them with everything he owned. So, he convinced the rebels that they could have the guns the following evening but that this night didn’t work. Being outgunned they acquiesced. My family left the next day, gave the guns to the workers and took the train to Havana. Near the end of the year 1960 Castro’s Message of Change and Equality was been bought hook line and sinker by the wealthy (Nothing would happen to them) and gobbled up by the poor and middle class. My father was approached by some Castro’s men and told that Castro had big plans for him, that he would be made an Admiral of the Cuban Navy because of his Pedigree and experience in Annapolis the Naval Academy, the Us Navy as well Cuban Navy. We flew out a few days later. I was 3 so I was told later in life that they had sewed $20.00 in my short pockets in case my parent would be detained and my brother and I would fly alone to the States as a couple of Pedro Pans and my brother would then use the money to call our uncle who as already in the States. Look it up big thing in the late 50’s early 60’s Well, we made it out. Here is the rest of the story from a coworker of mine who came on the Mariel boatlift in the 80’s. It seems once Castro took power; He made an impassioned speech to the Cuban people imploring them to please identify themselves to police and government official if they had weapons that could be used to fight of the invading Imperial Yankees that were going to overthrow his legal Presidency. Also, how many of them could join the fight vs supply weapons. People complied as with national pride that they were going to be instrumental is protecting their beloved country. The Yankees never invaded but, the government said that for the welfare of the population and to reduce crime, they were going to ask everyone to turn in the guns they had declared. Then Fidel Started a Neighborhood watch programs , where the Commander of the watch was responsible for denouncing anyone breaking the law or dissidents that were unhappy with the Government. Of course, the commander would be given extra food rations for their service. My Coworker who was a gun nut acquired a Tokarev and cast bullets from radiator he melted down and of course was part of the criminal underground. to make gun powder to have self-protection. It seemed the quality of life had dropped since Castro had started making changes not improve as promised. There but for the grace of god could have been MY story. Now maybe you’re glimpsing how this current government could establish and succeed with registration and confiscation. — Rico57, Ammoland,April 28, 2022
This day in History: THIS DAY IN HISTORY, October 28, 1962:Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders withdrawal of missiles from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
… Fidel Castro’s “Armageddon Letter” During the Cuban Missile Crisis, refers to the existence and disclosure of the content of Castro letter of October 22, 1962 (the last day of the Cuban Missile Crisis) to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. In that letter, Castro advocates a preemptive nuclear strike against the U.S., using not only the island’s strategic and tactical assembled missile force but also the USSR nuclear arsenal. Khrushchev not only turned him down but the emotionally charged, diabolical impetuosity of the Cuban leader frightened and prompted Khrushchev to immediately cave in to JFK’s demands. We must assume Castro was not aware that the U.S. had a significant nuclear superiority over the USSR. The “missile gap” that existed in 1962 was stacked in U.S. favor within the tripod of strategic nuclear forces — the hardened silos of ground intercontinental missile launchers, air bombers, and submarine forces. Khrushchev knew this and was also cognizant that the U.S. had been informed of this fact too because of the revelations of Soviet GRU Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, who had been a double agent for the British and Americans for 18 months prior to his arrest by Soviet authorities and his execution in Russia.(5) Castro must not have fully surmised the apocalyptic dimensions of what he proposed to the Soviet premier, for while it was true the U.S. would have suffered huge loses, the communist world would have been vaporized from the retaliatory response of our surviving nuclear forces. Surely, Dr. Strangelove would have been transformed from the diabolical and fictional character in cinema to a real and gruesome incarnation in the person of Fidel Castro.— Dr. Miguel Faria, Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002)