Author: Jorge C. Carrasco

How Venezuelan Democracy Lost the Battle Against Castro—An Interview with Orlando Avendaño

Días de Sumisión (Days of Submission), written by Venezuelan journalist Orlando Avendaño and published last year by Editorial Ígneo, offers a fascinating history of Cuban interference in Venezuela’s democratic system, and analyses how Fidel Castro opened the way for Hugo Chávez’s disastrous presidency. I sat down with Avendaño to talk about his book and the current situation in Venezuela. How did you come up with the idea of writing Days of Submission? The project was born in a conversation with a prominent university professor from Caracas, in which we both took on the task of trying to determine who was responsible for Hugo Chávez’s ascent to power. In addition to the political actors best known to chavismo, we knew that there were many other individuals and factors that had somehow contributed to making a man like Chávez president of Venezuela. And then we discovered that behind all of them was Fidel Castro. You divide your book into three parts: “The Uprising,” “The Infiltration,” and “The Consolidation.” Tell me a bit about the structure. The three …

60 Years On: Reflections on the Revolution in Cuba

Sixty years ago, as thousands of Cubans celebrated the fall of Fulgencio Batista’s regime, an atmosphere of hype and hatred was also overtaking Havana. Not many people foresaw what was to come, but on January 1, 1959, the Republic of Cuba was murdered. Few tears were shed for her at the time—some were too busy desperately packing their bags, while others were preoccupied with burning cars and smashing storefront windows. The institutions not destroyed by the previous dictatorship were savagely dismembered in the following months and years by the Castro regime. Cuba’s National Congress would never again return to session in the National Capitol building (or anywhere else, for that matter). Christmas, bars and cabaret clubs, independent trade unions, religious schools, private clubs, large and small businesses, any and all vestiges of what was Cuba before communism—all of these were destroyed, expropriated, or otherwise expunged from the lives and minds of the Cuban people. The Cuban Revolution never disguised its contempt for the greatest symbol of the Republican era: Havana itself. The Havana Hilton hotel …