Recently I heard President Obama say that Gadhafi of Libya "Is on the wrong side of history". The truth is that Obama is on the wrong side of history. Gunboat diplomacy is a thing of the past. The world has become much more complicated than it once was. A slight miscalculation, a slight error in foreign policy could bring blowback that nobody could foresee and nobody will know how to deal with. This is the case in Libya today. I'll get to that later, but for now I'd like to talk about two other nations that the U.S. has set up as having "evil" regimes that prey on their own people.
The first regime is the one in Cuba implemented by Fidel Castro. The truth is that before Castro, Cuba was controlled lock, stock and barrel by the US Mafia. Battista was a ruthless dictator that drained the treasury of Cuba dry. People were starving to death in Cuba and those that could, prostituted themselves for the American tourists. The countryside was controlled by large landowners that treated the average Cuban like a serf. Castro himself was from a landowning plantation family, but disavowed the status quo and instead, started a revolution aimed at bringing a share of Cuba's wealth to the people. For example:
Before 1959 the official literacy rate for Cuba was between 60-76 %, with educational access in rural areas and a lack of instructors the main determining factor. As a result, the Cuban government of Fidel Castro at Che Guevara's behest dubbed 1961 the "year of education", and sent "literacy brigades" out into the countryside to construct schools, train new educators, and teach the predominately illiterate Guajiros (peasants) to read and write. The campaign was "a remarkable success", and by the completion of the campaign, 707,212 adults were taught to read and write, raising the national literacy rate to 96 %.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Literacy_Campaign).
When Castro nationalized the sugar plantations and made agrarian reforms by giving land to the peasants, the American government soured on Castro. Even though he made life better for the majority of Cuban people, to this day Cuba has an economic blockade on it by the United States. One example of the way Cuba works is the humanitarian aid it furnished to Haiti after their disaster:
In fact, left unmentioned was the reality that Cuba already had nearly 400 doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel posted to Haiti to help with the day-to-day health needs of this poorest nation in the Americas, and that those professionals were the first to respond to the disaster, setting up a hospital right next to the main hospital in Port-au-Prince which collapsed in the earthquake, as well as a second tent-hospital elsewhere in the stricken city. (http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff01192010.html)
So why do we still detest Cuba and Castro? Probably for the same reason that we vilify Hugo Chavez, more than likely it was because Chavez didn't play Washington's games. One thing that enraged the capitalists in America was the nationalization of the nation's oil:
The decree allows Venezuela's state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, (PDVSA) to take a 60 per cent stake on May 1 in four projects which process crude oil into 600,000 barrels of synthetic oil a day in the country's eastern Orinoco River basin. The companies affected by the decree are Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips from the US, Total SA from France, British Petroleum and Norway's Statoil ASA. (click here )
One thing you DON'T do is nationalize your own countries oil. This was the reason that Great Britain asked us to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran:
In 1951, Iran's Parliament voted to nationalize the oil industry, and legislators backing the law elected its leading advocate, Dr. Mosaddeq, as prime minister. Britain responded with threats and sanctions. Dr. Mosaddeq, a European-educated lawyer then in his early 70's, prone to tears and outbursts, refused to back down. In meetings in November and December 1952, the secret history says, British intelligence officials startled their American counterparts with a plan for a joint operation to oust the nettlesome prime minister.
And with the help of CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt, out him they did. Putting in his place the Shah of Iran a blunder that we are still paying for today. (http://www.iranchamber.com/history/coup53/coup53p1.php)
Let's look at what Chavez in Venezuela has managed to achieve.
REDUCTION OF POVERTY: During the administration of the Bolivarian government led by Hugo Chavez, the extreme poverty rate fell from 42% to 9.5% General poverty was reduced from 50.5% in 1998 to 33.4% in 2008.
ACCESS TO HEALTH: Venezuela invests 4.2% of its GDP in health. It guarantees free access to health. There are currently 6,531 popular health centers established, 479 integral Diagnostic Centers, 543 Integral Rehabilitation Centers, 26 High Technology Centers, 13 popular clinics, 459 popular opticians, and 3019 locations offering medical and dental care since Chavez took office.