Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught for 25 years. The former president of the National Lawyers Guild and criminal defense attorney is a legal scholar, political analyst and social critic who writes books and articles, makes media appearances and lectures throughout the world about human rights and U.S. foreign policy. She has testified before Congress and debated the legality of the war in Afghanistan at the prestigious Oxford Union. Her blogs appear on Huffington Post and she has provided commentary for CBS News, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, NPR and Pacifica Radio.
When Fidel Castro died on Nov. 25 at the age of 90, we lost one of the most remarkable leaders of the 20th century. No other head of state has so steadfastly stood up to the United States and survived.
In 1959, the Cuban Revolution, led by Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, overthrew the ruthless Fulgencio Batista, who had come to power in a coup d’état. Batista’s government had protected the interests of the wealthy landowners. In order to control the populace, Batista had carried out torture and public executions, killing as many as 20,000 people. During his regime, Batista was supported—financially and militarily—by the United States. Indeed, the U.S. Mafia’s gambling, drug and prostitution operations flourished under Batista’s government.
Led by Castro, the new Cuban government expropriated U.S.-owned property, companies and holdings in Cuba. The United States responded with a punishing economic embargo, which later became a blockade. The CIA attempted unsuccessfully to overthrow the revolution in the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
Since 1959, the U.S. government and the expatriated Cuban-Americans who fled Cuba after the revolution have tried mightily to topple the Castro government, without success. Castro survived more than 630 assassination attempts.Read moreRead On