Fidel Castro's Secret Libya Rants

By: Rachel Marsden

Now that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for alleged crimes against humanity following about 100 days of coordinated NATO military action, it is worth examining the communiqués that Cuban leader Fidel Castro shared with his embassies throughout the world.

The documents of February 21st and 23rd, 2011, pre-date any NATO military action, all while predicting the international intervention and pre-emptively decrying the "crime that NATO is getting ready to commit against the Libyan people."

Castro would have the world believe that in destabilizing a dictator, the Libyan people themselves would be victimized by an international coalition of bullies. Harkening back to the good old days of the Libyan Revolution of 1969, Castro goes so far as to praise the Libyan dictator's role as revolutionary leader who overthrew a "corrupt monarchy," as though the alternative since has been significantly preferable.

Overlooking any possible actions on the part of Gaddafi himself – including allegations of rape and worse, which now constitute the reasons for the ICC arrest warrant that may ultimately be the cause of Gaddafi's removal from power – Castro prefers to focus on a more economic explanation for any NATO invasion: oil.

"Oil has become the principal wealth in the hands of the great Yankee transnationals; through this energy source they had an instrument that considerably expanded their political power in the world," he writes. "It was their main weapon when they decided easily to liquidate the Cuban Revolution as soon as the first just and sovereign laws were passed in our Homeland: depriving it of oil."

Castro then proceeds to explain how Libya's petroleum wealth has made it worth invading for NATO. That might make a feasible argument, were it not outside the realm of reality.

Libyan oil represents less than 1% of America's oil supply – hardly great "wealth" for the USA. And, as "Yankee transnationals" in the form of several American companies are already there and have been for a while, America does not have to invade Libya along with its NATO allies to get its hands on Libyan oil. If Castro thinks America is really in the business of invading oil-rich countries just to get for free what they can already freely access, then perhaps he would like to explain why the USA has yet to invade Canada – its largest oil exporter—which would be a lot more worthwhile.

Castro's rant about imperialist oil-grabbing as NATO's hidden justification for military action conveniently negates the example that his own comrades, the Russians, have already set.

Conveniently neglecting to call out Putin, Medvedev and the Russian oligarchy for imperialist political and economic takeover of sovereign states, such as the Ukraine in the interest of oil, Castro also apparently fails to see that this is the strategy used effectively by the Russians. With the exception of perhaps the Georgia conflict a few years ago, Russia has, in recent years, managed successfully to practice imperialism purely through economics. No military action required.

If Castro were arguing that America, via NATO efforts, is set on turning Libya upside down to replace the current regime with pro-American bootlickers for its own greater economic good, then he might have a point. But he keeps his rant focused entirely on oil rather than more general economic possibilities and opportunities – and therein lies the problem with his reasoning. There is currently no evidence to suggest that, even if the Gaddafi regime is replaced by a fully pro-American leadership, the USA's cut of Libyan oil would increase substantially, or at least enough to justify an increasingly unpopular war by a Nobel Peace Prize winning American president with precarious popularity. If Gaddafi is ousted, it will be on human rights grounds, because, like Syria's Bashar al-Assad, he resorted to violence against his own people in the wake of the Arab Spring, when people in every other oppressed regime around him were overthrowing their leaders.

A positive and likely outcome of his ouster may possibly be a more open economic field with possibly increased trade between democracies and new Libyan leaders. Castro is confusing cause with effect.

If Castro thinks – as he states – that Libya's great wealth grew from oil sales, then he should be thrilled at the possibility of it having the potential for even more growth as the result of a post-Gaddafi expanded trade market. Instead, seems as if he could not be more sullen about the idea.

As with everything Castro says and does, the situation in Libya, as he views it, is less about reality and more about his own projections and pet gripes.