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Examines Casto's ethical and philosophical standpoint on the use of violence.
The story of Fidel Castro has few parallels in contemporary history. None of the outstanding Third World leaders of the twentieth-century played such a prominent and restless part on the international stage and none survived as head of state for as long. Over almost 50 years, he was one of the most controversial political figures in the world, and his legacy has yet to be fully evaluated. Some of his most cherished plans were realized and are a model for many Third World countries. Yet despite enormous sacrifices by Cubans, his grand vision remains unfulfilled and its continued pursuit is full of risks. The fully revised third edition of this respected political biography provides the first full retrospect of Castro’s remarkable career right up to his illness and withdrawal from power in February 2008, incorporating analysis of: the renewed crackdown on dissidents in Cuba from the mid 1990s on the major geopolitical reconfiguration of Latin America in the late 1990s, and the new Cuban-Venezuelan relationship under Hugo Chavez the Helms Burton Act and the continuing US embargo The Cuban economy in the first decade of the new millennium It also revisits earlier events in Castro’s career, for instance the various assassination plots against him , the Cuban missile crisis and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in the light of documents released by Cuba and the US over the past decade and a half.
Fidel Castro had ruled the island of Cuba for fifty-two years when ill health forced him to step down in 2008. Over the course of that time, he changed Cuba from a republic to a communist state and became one of the most divisive leaders in the second half of the twentieth century. For some, he is a champion of humanitarianism, socialism, and environmentalism. For others, he is a monster and dictator who perpetuated human rights abuses at home and abroad. Providing a rare, evenhanded account of Castro’s life, journalist Nick Caistor brings together interviews with people who have known Castro with discussion of the ideas that drove him. Caistor follows Castro’s life from his birth as the illegitimate son of a wealthy farmer in 1926 to the developing of his leftist, anti-imperialist ideas at the University of Havana and his primary role in the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s. He explores Castro’s economic and military alliance with the Soviet Union and his hostile relationship with the United States while also looking at how he simultaneously introduced free health care and education while squelching freedom of the press and suppressing dissidents. As Caistor shows, Castro’s numerous writings on politics, capitalism, and other topics have influenced leaders from Nelson Mandela to Hugo Chávez, but allegations of corruption, human rights abuses, and dictatorship never ceased during his long career. Using stories and opinions to enliven the debate about Castro’s choices, strengths, and weaknesses, this concise biography gives readers the opportunity to judge for themselves how they feel about the former Cuban president.
Every day, we hear about war, state repression, uprisings, suicide bombing, gang warfare, slavery and domestic abuse. Is it realistic to think of a future that is free from violence? And can we justify the paradox of violence in pursuit of a peaceful future? Nick Hewlett places the goal of a wholly peaceful society centre-stage to give us a new understanding of violence in pursuit of peace. Hewlett brings together the modern history of capitalist violence and communist violence; political thought on insurgent violence; a passionate defence of the idea of peace and non-violence; and the political economy of contemporary capitalism. He explores topics ranging from the prospects for peace and non-violence to Fidel Castro's ethics of guerrilla warfare, and from the brutality of US foreign policy and the violence of historical communism to the meaning of terrorism today. Strongly argued and supported by a wealth of facts, Blood and Progress is suffused with the profound belief that we need to go beyond the inequalities and injustices of the current age and towards societies characterised by equality, deep democracy and peace.
This radical new perspective from the Global South casts a fresh light on a major aspect of contemporary history and in doing so suggests an alternative interpretation of twentieth century revolutions, Socialism, left thinking and radical politics.

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