Megalomania is defined as a delusional mental disorder that is marked by feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur. In today’s world there are too many narcissists to count, yet there are far fewer people that are truly megalomaniacs. Of those that are megalomaniacs, there are even fewer that wind up in a circumstance whereby they can rise to absolute power and have free reign to execute their deranged vision. In the history of the world, however, it seems like there are many examples of how megalomaniacs with the right amount of genius, character and gall can come into power and kill with impunity (i.e.Hitler, Stalin, etc…). In this post we’ll look at the psyche of one of these megalomaniacs: Fidel Castro.
Castro viewed himself as the destiny of Cuba and he was bent on becoming the country’s dictator. There can be little doubt about his brilliance in executing power and his talents in positioning himself to rise to the top. This is especially true with Castro’s understanding of propaganda and using the media to sway public opinion . But, what was not known during his ascent to the top was the lying, bluffing, and deceit he was committing to propel himself. The most striking example of Castro’s hypocrisy has to be his political manifesto titled La Histroria Me Absolverá (History Will Absolve Me). You may recognize the title or it may ring a bell with you; this is because it’s a rip-off from Adolph Hitler’s Rathaus Putsch speech in 1924 when Hitler said “Pronounce us guilty a thousand times over: the goddess of the eternal court of history will smile and tear to pieces the State Prosecutor’s submissions and the court’s verdict; for she acquits us.”
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Cuba has been in a constant state of struggle since the Spanish crown slaughtered the Taino Indians. Learning about the plight of Cubans since that time (over the last 500 years) is something that can’t help but evoke many emotions and thoughts about society, socialism, revolution, freedom, and justice.
I just finished the book titled “Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba”. I have to say it was terrific. It chronicled the last 150 years of Cuba’s history from the vantage point of the Barcadi family. Based on the level of detail in the book and the exhaustive amount of sources used to tell the story, you can only imagine it was ten to twenty years in the making for author Tom Gjelten. The book provoked much thought and provided many “jump off on tangent” points to go back to and dive into related historical events. I truly look forward to chasing down more detail on some of the anecdotes presented and have already done so in some cases.
I suppose the most interesting thing about Cuba’s history to me was how much has been propagandized by my upbringing in suburban Detroit. As a youth in metro Detroit, our school system didn’t touch on Cuba much. We’re raised to know that: #1 Castro is bad #2 Socialism is bad #3 Communism is bad. We’re also told that Castro seized people’s private property and murdered people without due process of the law. That’s it. Then we move on to the next subject. Heck, kids today might not even get that much of the story. So when I read the book, I must admit that my ignorance was profound. Perhaps my ignorance on the subject is what made this book so much more thought provoking. After all, a dry sponge soaks up more water than a wet one.
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