Fidel Castro and Raul Castro in 1959 / AP
Review: Rafael Rojas, ‘Fighting Over Fidel: The New York Intellectuals and the Cuban Revolution’
Between the Old Left and the New Left, between the radicalism of the 1930s and the radicalism of the 1970s, there comes the curious figure of Fidel Castro. A celebrated revolutionary thinker. The absolute ruler of Cuba—and, for a time, the man believed to have finally solved the Communist dilemma: finding a way of being Marxist without becoming Stalinist, creating a fully socialist state that would not harden into totalitarianism.
He didn’t, of course. Soon after it seized power in 1959, Castro’s revolutionary government became a socialist dictatorship, barely distinguishable from all the other Communist states of its time. But the surprising lesson of Rafael Rojas’s new book, Fighting Over Fidel, is how brief was the time, how narrow the window, that serious leftists actually believed in Castro’s exceptionalism. Continue reading