You Fight 16 Years and What Do You Get

Apologies to Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Lyrics to 16 Tons

You fight 16 years and what do you get,

Another day older and deeper in debt                         

St. Peter please help us ‘cause you want to know,

The generals plan to continue the show.

The President Trump says we are going to fight on to victory.

The Secretary of State Tillerson says we are not going to achieve victory but we’re going to fight on because we want the Taliban to know they will not achieve victory.

The generals say we’re going to . . . .

We really don’t know what the generals say. Why would we listen to them anyway They’ve had 16 years to figure out what to do and they haven’t. Right now it looks like they are losing. Why would one believe that they could do things better now than they have done before?

Anyone who lived through the Vietnam War remembers how the generals were always telling us the solution was right around the corner. Was it Westmoreland who saw the light at the end of the tunnel? Little did he know, or at least he didn’t say, the light he saw was the headlight on a North Vietnamese/Viet Cong freight train barreling down the track. As it roared along we’d have 58,000 plus American names to put on the Vietnam Wall in DC.

Has anyone a good explanation why we think a few more trillion dollars and the continuing American presence for a few more years is going to make a difference especially when we now seem to be conceding we cannot win? It’s widely reported 4,000 more troops are going there but the true figure may be 10,000 or more. Are we staying like we did in Vietnam because the president does not want to lose his reputation as a tough guy and would prefer American troops lose their lives?

An expert on Fox News explained that we want to stay In Afghanistan so we can park a trailer there to watch Pakistan. He said we have to do that to prevent Pakistan from getting nuclear weapons. Sadly, this expert had no idea it already has had them for many years. I suppose that lie is as good as any other that can be conjured up when we are asked why we are staying there. It is along the line of Trump seeing “gold in them there hills” in the minerals they contain or Tillerson seeing great profit for Exxon in a trans-Afghanistan pipeline.

Some Afghans now opposing us as members of the Taliban were not even born at the time we first invaded their country. Every year more and more babies are born who will grow up to hate the invaders. Yes, that is what we are no matter the goodness of our intentions. We’re foreigners to most of the people living there. We don’t speak their language; we don’t practice their religion; we have nothing in common.

Why don’t Americans wonder how we would feel if Afghan troops patrolled our country? if Afghan planes flew over our fields killing Americans.? If Afghan money was used to prop up our leaders?

We invaded Afghanistan if you remember because it was where Osama bin Laden and others associated with 9/11 had been given shelter. It was where the attack against us was planned. We demanded Obama and al Qaeda leaders be handed over. The Taliban, a brutal group if ever one  existed, refused and we went to war against them.

We’ve lost over 2,400 American troops in doing it. We did succeed in defeating the Taliban and freeing up the Afghan people from their barbarities. We had up to 100,000 troops there to do it. We poured money into it as if money was sand.  We won. In our naïve exceptionalism we thought the old adage that Afghanistan is the Graveyard of Empires did not apply to us. Now we know it does.

So where did it get us. No longer willing to keep sufficient forces there we decided we would withdraw after we trained up the Afghan Army to fight for its own country. Again those who recall Vietnam will remember how we trained the South Vietnam Army to fight for its country. As in South Vietnam we found those we trained in Afghanistan were incapable of doing what they were trained to do

Today  we learn the Russians have been arming the Taliban according to the American general in charge in Afghanistan. How long and how much aid I haven’t heard but why would it be surprising: didn’t Russia aid North Vietnam?  We also learned, if you read the article by Sarah Almukhtar in the NY Times about how much of Afghanistan is back under Taliban control: That area is much of the northern border and a huge swath of the center/south. “The Taliban are back in many parts of the country from which they had been purged . . . “

It would have taken a courageous president to say enough is enough. If the Afghan people want to be free they have to fight for it and earn it. We’ve spent 16 years training them to do so and what have we got: another day older and deeper in debt.

 

 

 

 

 

121 thoughts on “You Fight 16 Years and What Do You Get

  1. Khalid,

    So much for your revolution:

    Cuban Doctors Revolt: ‘You Get Tired of Being a Slave’

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/world/americas/brazil-cuban-doctors-revolt.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    RIO DE JANEIRO — In a rare act of collective defiance, scores of Cuban doctors working overseas to make money for their families and their country are suing to break ranks with the Cuban government, demanding to be released from what one judge called a “form of slave labor.”

    Thousands of Cuban doctors work abroad under contracts with the Cuban authorities. Countries like Brazil pay the island’s Communist government millions of dollars every month to provide the medical services, effectively making the doctors Cuba’s most valuable export.

    But the doctors get a small cut of that money, and a growing number of them in Brazil have begun to rebel. In the last year, at least 150 Cuban doctors have filed lawsuits in Brazilian courts to challenge the arrangement, demanding to be treated as independent contractors who earn full salaries, not agents of the Cuban state.

    “When you leave Cuba for the first time, you discover many things that you had been blind to,” said Yaili Jiménez Gutierrez, one of the doctors who filed suit. “There comes a time when you get tired of being a slave.”

    Cuban artists and athletes have defected during overseas trips for decades, most of them winding up in the United States. But the lawsuits in Brazil represent an unusual rebellion that takes aim at one of Cuba’s signature efforts. Sending doctors overseas is not only a way for Cuba to earn much-needed income, but it also helps promote the nation’s image as a medical powerhouse that routinely comes to the world’s aid.

    The legal challenges are all the more important because the doctors have lost a common backup plan: going to the United States. The American government, which has long tried to undermine Cuba’s leaders, established a program in 2006 to welcome Cuban doctors, with the aim of exacerbating the island’s brain drain.

    But in one of his final attempts to normalize relations with Cuba, President Barack Obama in January ended the program, which had allowed Cuban doctors stationed in other countries to get permanent residency visas for the United States.

    “The end of the program was a huge blow to us,” said Maireilys Álvarez Rodríguez, another of the doctors who sued in Brazil. “That was our way out.”

    The end of the visa program means that the future of these doctors now rests in the hands of the Brazilian courts. They have mostly ruled against the doctors, but some judges have sided with them, allowing the doctors to work on their own and get paid directly.

    The doctors’ defiance puts them at risk of serious repercussions by the Cuban government, including being barred from the island and their families for years.

    The seeds of the rebellion were planted a year ago in a conversation between a Cuban doctor and a clergyman in a remote village in northeastern Brazil.

    Anis Deli Grana de Carvalho, a doctor from Cuba, was coming to the end of her three-year medical assignment. But having married a Brazilian man, she wanted to stay and keep working.

    The pastor was outraged to learn that, under the terms of their employment, Cuban doctors earn only about a quarter of the amount the Brazilian government pays Cuba for their services.

    Dr. Álvarez spoke with the family of Celia Guimaraes, 78, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Credit Dado Galdieri for The New York Times

    He quickly put her in touch with a lawyer in Brasília, the Brazilian capital. In late September of last year, she sued in federal court to work as an independent contractor.

    Within weeks, scores of other Cuban doctors followed Dr. Grana’s lead and filed suits in Brazilian courts. The Brazilian government, which struck the deal with Cuba in 2013 to provide doctors in underserved parts of the country, is appealing the cases that doctors have won and thinks it will prevail.

    “There is no injustice,” said Brazil’s health minister, Ricardo Barros. “When they signed up they agreed to the terms.”

    Dr. Álvarez said that the stipend offered by the Cuban government to work for a few years in Brazil seemed appealing to her and her husband, Arnulfo Castanet Batista, also a doctor, when they signed up in 2013.

    It meant leaving behind their two children in the care of relatives, but each of them would earn 2,900 Brazilian reais a month — then worth about $1,400, and now worth $908 — an amount that seemed enormous compared with the roughly $30 a month Cuban doctors earned at home.

    “It was a pretty acceptable offer compared to what we made in Cuba,” Dr. Álvarez said.

    So they said goodbye to their children and boarded flights to Brazil, joining the first wave of Cuban doctors greeted at airports with welcome signs and Che Guevara T-shirts.

    At the time, Brazil’s leftist government, led by President Dilma Rousseff, saw expanding access to health care as crucial to its goal of building a more equitable society. Flush with cash from a commodities boom, Brazil imported thousands of doctors from Cuba and a few other countries to provide primary care in remote, impoverished areas under a program called Mais Médicos, or More Doctors.

    The World Health Organization, a United Nations agency, helped broker the deal. Under it, Brazil pays Cuba roughly $3,620 a month for each doctor, or nearly four times what Cuban doctors earn through the arrangement. Approximately 18,000 Cuban doctors have done stints in Brazil; roughly 8,600 remain in the country.

    The United Nations has called the program a success story, noting that it has lowered Brazil’s infant mortality rate and extended care to indigenous communities.

    “The More Doctors Project is replicable and would potentially be beneficial in any country that decides to adopt it,” the United Nations Development Program said in a report last year.

    Doing so, some Cuban doctors contend, would perpetuate an injustice. Soon after arriving in Santa Rita, a poor village in the northeastern state of Maranhão, Dr. Álvarez and her husband began to feel uneasy about the terms of the contract they signed, particularly after befriending doctors from other countries.

    “We began to see that the conditions for the other doctors were totally different,” she said. “They could be with their family, bring their kids. The salaries were much higher.”

    Hundreds of miles away, in Minas Gerais State, Dr. Jiménez, 34, found the work rewarding, but also began to harbor feelings of resentment.

    “You are trained in Cuba and our education is free, health care is free, but at what price?” she said. “You wind up paying for it your whole life.”

    Dr. Álvarez with a pregnant patient at a health center in the countryside of Santa Rita municipality in São Luís, Maranhao state, Brazil. Credit Dado Galdieri for The New York Times

    Months before their three-year tour was up last fall, some Cuban doctors who had married Brazilians were offered the chance to extend their stay. Others, including Dr. Álvarez and her husband, were told to prepare to head home.

    Cuban doctors unhappy with their situations formed a group on WhatsApp. André de Santana Corrêa, a Brazilian lawyer, said his cellphone began buzzing constantly as Cuban doctors across the country started to text him seeking help.

    After analyzing their contracts, Mr. de Santana concluded that the agreements were at odds with the equality protections in Brazil’s Constitution.

    Late last year, judges issued temporary injunctions in some cases, granting Cuban doctors the right to remain as independent contractors, earning full wages. One federal judge in the capital denounced the Cuban contracts as a “form of slave labor” that could not be tolerated.

    But the federal judge who handled Dr. Grana’s case ruled against her, finding that allowing Cuban doctors to walk away from their contracts posed “undue risks in the political and diplomatic spheres.”

    Soon after the first injunctions were issued, Cuban supervisors in Brazil summoned doctors who had filed suits and fired them on the spot, several doctors said. Each was given the chance to get on a plane to Cuba within 24 hours — or face exile for eight years.

    Cuban officials did not respond to requests for comment, but a post on the Medical Brigade Facebook page includes an oblique reference to the controversy.

    “Many of us seem to have forgotten, when we embarked on this mission, the contract we signed,” the post says. “That’s why you get weaknesses and errors that start eroding the worthy values our parents raised us with.”

    When it became clear that a majority of the doctors were losing in court, the WhatsApp group became a place for doctors to strategize and commiserate.

    “We keep one another strong,” said Dr. Jiménez, who says she has been unemployed since being fired in June and is now barred from re-entering Cuba for eight years.

    Dr. Álvarez and her husband were among the lucky ones to keep their jobs and get what amounted to a huge pay raise. They also managed to bring their children to Brazil.

    “It’s sad to leave your family and friends and your homeland,” she said. “But here we’re in a country where you’re free, where no one asks you where you’re going, or tells you what you have to do. In Cuba, your life is dictated by the government.”

    Mr. Barros, the Brazilian health minister, said the Cuban doctors should not feel as if they were being poorly compensated, because their salaries were similar to what Brazilian doctors earned during their residencies.

    “None of them, to this day, has come to me to complain about their work conditions,” he said.

    Mr. de Santana, the lawyer, says he hopes Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court will take up the case. But because Brazil’s top court is so backlogged, a definitive ruling may take years.

  2. Bill,

    One more point. Lincoln would never have acted like this. And Lincoln was excoriated by the press as well. Called a dictator, tyrant, ape, fool, and everything else under the sun. He responded with grace, humor, thoughtfulness, and well-considered replies. Salmon Chase spent almost his entire term as Treasury Secretary surreptitiously trying to sabotage Lincoln’s nomination in 1864 and promoting his own candidacy. Lincoln gave him many chances but eventually had to put his foot down when the timing was right (and Lincoln usually had superb timing). His response? He nominated Chase as chief justice of the Supreme Court. The magnanimity was remarkable.

    Trump? It’s a shame that his election puts him in the same company of a great man like Lincoln.

    1. I like your style. I don’t agree with everything you or Bill say, but I’m with you on these last two posts. Please tell me…..Why play the National Anthem before a sporting event? If taking a knee is disrespecting the military end of our heritage, what is playing the Anthem preceding an event that causes brain damage and spinal chord injuries got to do with the men and women who sacrificed for the flag? You could almost say that it is disrespectful to play the Anthem before a boxing main event. Its a fist fight.

      When it comes to sports and the Anthem I would reserve it for those gold medal presentations in The Olympics. Before basketball games play “Jump” by Van Halen. For hockey White Christmas fits. Take Me Out To The Ballgame is fine and for the NFL anything by AC/DC will do.

  3. Khalid is like a broken record. Someone take out the battery lol.

    Bill, Trump is a ‘divide and conquer’ leader. He won by dividing us. He will only win again by keeping us divided. His comments are unhelpful.

    The thing about a president calling for players to be fired, and calling them SOBs, is that he is the leader of a great nation run on principles of constitutional law, and yet he resorts not to reasoned discourse but to coarse, ad hominem attacks that implicitly, if not explicitly, attack a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. It is not only unpresidential, it is also fundamentally irrational, bombastic, and divisive.

    I am someone who does not support Kaepernick’s decision to kneel. Not because I dismiss his concerns about social justice, but because I think kneeling is a misguided way of going about protests. I can explain my reasons if you wish, but it goes beyond reiterating the oft-cited reason that people died fighting for his right to protest. That argument runs both ways and supports both sides and thus is less convincing.

    This is just another example of how Trump makes things much worse than they need to be, fans the flames of division, and does so by resorting to shrill bombastic irrationality rather than cool reasoned argument.

    Yesterday’s massive outpouring by players would not have happened if Trump had not made a political calculation to launch ad hominem attacks. And that’s what it was. A political calculation. He knows his base loves America and does not appreciate millionaire athletes disrespecting the flag. So he plays it up. Trump himself only cares about Trump. He is a self-righteous, self-serving opportunist through and through. It is so transparent it is a wonder to me that his supporters continue to allow themselves to be blinded by his rhetoric. But such is humanity.

  4. What a marvelous football Sunday. Revolutionary spirit reveals itself in the most unlikely places.

    All praise to the NFL protesters. Allahu Akbar, Shahid Khan! All praise to the righteous. All power to the Dialectic!

  5. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell condemn’s Trumps “divisive” speech and lack of “respect” for the NFL, but he won’t condemn his athletes’ divisive conduct and lack of respect for the national anthem.
    What’s worse? Disrespecting the NFL or disrespecting the national anthem, which represents our country, and those who fought and died to protect America.

  6. Sorry, that was a poorly-written reply. Try again:

    Khalid, this is a decent article. I wish, however, you could be more like Bill. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I am always impressed with his analytical posts. He culls information from various sources and formulates logical, coherent, punchy arguments. He does not repeat talking points and instead comes across as someone with a fresh perspective.

    1. Jon: Sorry, I’m short of time. It’s that special season of the year. I’ll comment at length, when, I get the opportunity.

      1. It’s off to Satanville for a few weeks. There’s no doubt I’ll return with a fresh perspective. Things are rough in the Infernal Region, these days . It could be the end of a fifty year run for the home boys. The mono-culture is failing. Who’d have thunk it? Legalization is killing the scene.

  7. Khalid, this is a decent article. I wish, however, you could be more Bill. I don’t agree with him on everything, but I am always impressed with his analytical posts, culling information from various sources into logical, coherent arguments. He does not repeat talking points and instead comes across as someone with a fresh perspective.

  8. FEATURESCHILE10 SEPTEMBER 2017
    Chile: Forced to work for Pinochet
    A son’s journey into his father’s dark past to find out why he had to flee Chile during the military dictatorship.
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    byLoes Witschge
    @loeswitschge

    Loes Witschge is a journalist and producer at Al Jazeera English online.

    “I won’t tell in this letter what happened to me during the training sessions, what they did to me, or what they made me watch.

    What I can say is that the human being is a beast. The training led to the systematic removal of all human functions of an individual and the destruction of their personality.

    I witnessed terrible cruelties. I got to know hidden prisons, prisoners in a state of madness, including ex-military staff. My life became a hell.”

    Jorge Lubbert was only 22 years old when he wrote these words. He had fled from his native Chile to Germany months before in September 1978 and he was asking the German secretary of Amnesty International, Helmut Frenz, for help – the Chilean secret services had found him in Berlin and he was no longer safe.

    What happened in the months before Lubbert’s escape from Chile had traumatised him. Not long after reaching out to Frenz he found himself in the care of Jorge Barudy, a psychotherapist based in Leuven, Belgium. Barudy was part of a collective that helped refugees from Latin America who had been subjected to torture.

    WITNESS: Colour of the Chameleon (47:30)

    “Doctor Barudy believed that people who are traumatised have to vomit their trauma out in a way,” explains Andres Lubbert, 32, Jorge’s son. “They have to get it all out in order to move on.”

    Throughout his therapy sessions, Lubbert systematically told his story, which was recorded on audio tapes. Jorge’s brother, Orlando – also in exile – typed the testimony out on 40 pages.

    Jorge, who is now 61 years old, stuck around in Leuven. He married a Belgian woman and had two sons with her. Filmmaker Andres is the youngest.

    The relationship between him and his father was strained. Jorge became a cameraman who often travelled to conflict zones, leaving his family behind for extended periods of time. He suffered from insomnia and, at times, struggled with addiction.

    Andres never knew what had scarred his father. At age 19, he set out to investigate Jorge’s history, travelling to Chile at least 20 times and documenting his findings in a series of films over the course of more than 10 years. Initially, his father wouldn’t talk. Then, on a visit to Chile, Orlando gave a copy of Jorge’s testimony to Andres.

    “Up until then, I thought his experience was similar to that of other Chilean exiles, that he had been part of the resistance, a revolutionary, someone who was politically engaged and had to flee because of that,” Andres told Al Jazeera.

    “Reading [the testimony] was shocking, there are so many horrific things in there. It’s a miracle he survived. I don’t think many people would be able to live with a trauma like that.”

    The first page of Jorge Lubbert’s 40-page testimony to Jorge Barudy on his horrific last months in Chile [Image taken from film]
    Enlistment
    From the testimony of Jorge Lubbert: “He presented me to a Mr Cano, a tall, burly guy. This person took me directly to the boss, called Jaime Letelier … ‘We need you to work for us.’ ‘OK,’ I said. ‘Fine. As a draftsman, no problem.’ He threatened me, using my father, my brother, who was abroad.

    He told me that if I didn’t sign, there would be no way out. That if I left then, I would not be safe anymore. ‘Anything can happen to you.’ I said no. No, I insisted, and he carried on in an aggressive, abrupt tone, insulting me.

    He grabbed me by my jacket, shook me a bit and said, ‘Sign!’ They told me, ‘You have all the skills we need and we will have them.’ They told me not to resist, I had to sign. I had no way out and eventually, they made me give in, the pressure was too great. I signed the paper, the contents of which were covered up.”

    Augusto Pinochet came to power in Chile after he overthrew the incumbent Salvador Allende in a military coup on September 11, 1973. His 17-year rule was characterised by forceful repression of any opposition to his right-wing agenda. Around 3,200 people were executed or disappeared and about 28,000 people were tortured.

    Many of the human rights violations that were committed during the dictatorship were perpetrated by the secret police, the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) which in 1977 was replaced by the National Information Centre (CNI).

    Jorge Lubbert had just started working at the Chilean Telephone Company when he was introduced to Jaime Letelier and made to sign a document that enlisted him in a CNI training designed to turn him into a state agent. It was the start of a four-month long horrific ordeal.

    Learn more about the torture methods used against political prisoners in Chile during the Pinochet regime.

    During his training, Jorge Lubbert learned skills including how to wiretap phones [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
    Kidnapped
    From the testimony of Jorge Lubbert: “One Thursday, I arrived at my house, it was late. There was a vehicle, a new Chevy Nova, two guys quickly got out, grabbed me violently and tried to get me into the car. “F**k,” I thought. They were abducting me.

    I screamed, I kicked, I kicked furiously. They got me into the vehicle. I didn’t understand what was happening, then something unusual occurred. Behind the wheel was a person I knew, he was the brother of a friend of mine. He’s called Jose Pavez, and I knew him as a tank lieutenant stationed in Antofagasta.”

    “I have Jose Pavez’s military record here,” Andres tells his father. It’s December 2015 and the two are standing in the hallway of a building in Barrio Olimpico, Santiago de Chile, the neighbourhood where Jose Pavez lived back in the 1970s.

    “Where did you get it from?” Jorge responds. He reaches out to the blue folder and nervously pulls it from Andres’s hands. “If he finds out we’re investigating him and his accomplices from the secret service… I’m sure he still has contacts, he can find me in five minutes. Me, you, my brother Orlando – all of us,” Jorge says.

    Throughout his four months of training by the CNI, Jorge Lubbert would routinely get abducted, blindfolded and taken to secret locations. “He lived in constant paranoia that they could take him at any moment,” Andres tells Al Jazeera.

    Jorge’s fear persisted in Belgium, and even today. Andres remembers how his father would hide in the toilet when someone knocked on the door. He still doesn’t open letters.

    Like most of the people Jorge identifies in his testimony, Jose Pavez Ahumada was never charged with violating human rights during Chile’s military dictatorship. Only one of the men mentioned by Jorge, Rosauro Martinez Labbe, is currently under investigation for his alleged responsibility in the killing of a group of leftist activists in 1981.

    More than 27 years after Pinochet’s rule came to an end on March 11, 1990, the process of bringing human rights abusers to justice is still ongoing. Between 1998 and 2015, 344 former agents of the state were sentenced for human rights violations, with another 1,048 under investigation as of December 2015. On June 2, 2017, 106 former DINA agents received prison sentences in the biggest mass sentence to date for human rights abuses committed under Pinochet.

    Find out more about ex-Chile spy chief, Manuel Contreras, reviled for his role in kidnapping and killing thousands during General Pinochet’s rule, who died while serving 500-year sentence

    Jorge Lubbert in Barrio Olimpico, Santiago de Chile, holding a photo of Jose Pavez Ahumada [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
    Tortured
    From the testimony of Jorge Lubbert: “A very tall guy came, a commando with a rubber apron and rubber gloves. He made us enter a large room with tiles and a rather unpleasant chemical odour.

    There were three corpses. Without warning, the guy with the scalpel took hold of the corpse’s testicles and cut them off. My stomach started churning, I went very pale. The guy approached me and gave me a piece. He put the jaw into my hands and I just fainted.

    When he woke me up he said I needed to get used to being around death. You have to know about these things. He furiously grabbed a piece of flesh and rubbed it in my face. He went wild, he was mad at me.”

    “What did this have to do with me?” Jorge Lubbert asks himself. He is standing in front of what is now an amphitheatre in the Legal Medical Institute of Santiago de Chile. Nowadays, medical students study corpses here. Back in the late 1970s, the venue was controlled by the CNI.

    “It was to dehumanise you, to rid you of all emotion regarding the human body. So you saw no difference between dead and alive,” Jorge continues. “When you get used to seeing a corpse, it’s like seeing an animal. This is actually very much like a slaughter house.”

    It is still unclear why the CNI singled Jorge out for their experiment to turn a 21-year-old youth into an instrument of the secret police – someone who could kill for them.

    “He had technical skills, was easy to like and had a leftist group of friends without being politically engaged himself,” says Andres. “But we’ll never know for sure why he was chosen – the people who participated are now part of silence pacts.” As far as Andres knows, his father’s case is the only one of its kind that has been recorded.

    Despite the unspeakable cruelties which have come to light since the end of the military dictatorship, like the ones inflicted on Jorge Lubbert, the Pinochet era is still a cause of division in Chilean society.

    A study conducted by CeRC-Mori in July 2015 found that 15 percent of Chileans still view Pinochet as “one of the best rulers Chile has had”, while slightly over a fifth of those polled said the military coup was justified.

    “There are two levels of support for Pinochet,” says Javier Rebolledo, a journalist who specialises in investigating human rights violations perpetrated by the military government. “The people who would jump up and shout for Pinochet, give thanks to their general – there are very few of them left, at least those who dare to show themselves that way,” he tells Al Jazeera.

    “But there’s another group of people who are still Pinochetistas, but in a hidden way. They know it’s politically incorrect to support Pinochet but they do, in silence. For them, there is almost a separation between what he did for the country economically and in terms of human rights violations.”

    Read this related article to find out more about how Pinochet-era crimes still haunt Chile

    Jorge Lubbert at the Legal Medical Institute in Santiago de Chile [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]
    Escape
    From the testimony of Jorge Lubbert: “I realised I was slowly being drawn deeper into it. Sometimes, I felt like one of them. I could not accept that. I couldn’t imagine working with someone who I’d see kill another person.

    I felt guilty. I felt like an accomplice for being there. What saved me is that I never lost touch with my family.”

    On September 2, 1978, Jorge Lubbert escaped to Germany with the help of his father, before the CNI’s training was completed.

    “What saved my father was his upbringing. He was raised with a lot of love. He was his mother’s favourite. He could never betray his family and be transformed in what the secret police wanted him to become,” says Andres.

    Throughout Andres’s investigation into his father’s past, talking about what had happened was difficult for Jorge – and he has now reverted to not broaching the topic at all. “He recently told me this is now over for him,” Andres says.

    Still, he hopes that his most recent film about his father’s story, The Colour of the Chameleon, will encourage a transgenerational debate in Chilean society.

    “What I’ve learned is that when traumas are ignored, they are passed on from generation to generation,” he says. “Parents try to protect their sons and daughters from trauma by not discussing it, but that only makes the problem bigger and deeper. The only way to heal a society is by starting a dialogue.”

    Source: Al Jazeera

  9. Even a superficial examination of the demographics of who leaves Cuba confirms who the big winners were. Over 95 percent of Cubans who fled after the 1959 revolution were white. For the rich elite, and the prosperous, overwhelmingly white middle class, the revolution was the curtain on a life of privilege. For the overwhelming working-class Black population, the triumph of the Cuban Revolution signified an end of centuries of racism, discrimination, and repression.
    (Afro-Cuban Web)

    1. Khalid,

      Can you ever stop talking like a brainwashed Marxist and think for yourself?

      And can you actually read what I wrote?

      Some select quotes:

      “Cuba is an economy in which three-fourths of the people work in the public sector and earn an average of $20/month. Rations are common. Infrastructure is dated. Supplies at hospitals are lacking. Taxi drivers make more than doctors, and a nurse quits her job “to start a small business selling fried pork skin and other snacks from a cart,” earning ‘about 10 times more every month’ than she did as a nurse.”

      “The nurse who quit her job to start a business selling fried pork was motivated in part by soaring prices of staple items like onions and peppers and garlic, prompting her to say “[w]e have to be magicians” to prepare a decent meal for the family.”

      “Cuba is a two-tiered system: “one for ordinary people, like my family, and another that is exclusive to the Cuban ruling class, who live better than any capitalist.” Elites like Castro can live till 90 because the best doctors and nurses and hospitals are available them. The rest of Cuba? Yes, they get healthcare, but hopes of living to 90 may diminish in a system where, according to one account, “[g]etting a pair of glasses to alleviate near-sightedness can take months through subsidized State channels, or twenty-four hours at Miramar Optical where you pay in convertible pesos. Nor do the bodies who staff the hospitals escape these contrasts: we can consult the most competent neurosurgeon in the entire Caribbean region, but he doesn’t have even an aspirin to give us.”

      “It is perhaps a fool’s errand to trace the current state of economic prosperity in Chile to one man named Pinochet. The reforms instituted under the Pinochet regime were many, and questions about metrics and comparative statics can make it difficult to discern the exact causal relationships between policies and results. But there is no denying that, for all the vicissitudes of reform under the Pinochet regime and successive administrations, the basic direction of economic policy was to allow markets to work. One may question whether the successes associated with market-based reforms justify the brutal dictatorship of the Pinochet regime. One can also argue about the extent to which individual policies contributed to Chile’s success in economic development. But one cannot deny that while both Chile and Cuba suffered a dictator, only Chile came out as a world-class economy.”

      Cuba is a failed economy, mainly for the poor, not the rich. Chile is not a perfect economy (there is no such thing), but it is the model economy in Latin America.

    2. I believe that’s also referred to a the ‘brain drain,’ meaning, Castro got rid of all the competent people. One of my favorite stories is Che Guevara firing the managers of a Coca-Cola plant, and some time later, drinking cola made by the factory and expressing his severe frustration with how bad it tasted. Or his brilliant idea to import snowblowers to cut sugar cane, destroying sugar crops. But that’s what happens when you get rid of competent economists like Felipe Pazos and instill morons like Guevara as minister of industries and head of the National Bank.

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