The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Castro’s “fortune,” according to Forbes

Jun 26, 2006

Forbes magazine, which publishes different angles about the biggest fortunes in the world, does a list each year on the fortunes of kings, queens and dictators. The queen of England, for example, is high up on the list, along with the sultan of Brunei and the king of Saudi Arabia.

For some years, this list has included one of the dictators most hated by the U.S. government – Fidel Castro. This year his fortune is supposedly valued at 900 million dollars. Castro indignantly replied after the list’s publication: “If anyone finds a single secret bank account in which I have so much as a dollar, I will resign.” No one took up his challenge.

Malcolm Forbes, who began Forbes magazine, held one of the biggest fortunes in America. Not only is his son the head of this magazine, he is also the honorary president of “The Commission for the Economic Reconstruction of Cuba,” a commission created by Ronald Reagan. Reagan proposed bringing together all the anti-Castro immigrants, supporting their activities with tax dollars – although their activities weren’t exactly legal. No surprise – Cuba, before Castro’s revolution, was plagued by all sorts of illegal trafficking. The island – before Castro – was a kind of subsidiary of the Mafia. These criminals tossed out by the Cuban revolution ended up in the U.S.

The way that Forbes magazine figures Castro’s supposed fortune is rather funny. The editors put together all the companies controlled by the Cuban state, such as the building where the Cuban congress meets; also a series of stores and a company run by the Cuban state called Medicuba, which makes vaccines and medicines for commercial sale. After the Forbes people decided on the value of all these enterprises – which no individual owns – they decided that Castro must nonetheless have taken a cut. After all, they certainly would have done so! Although the editors explain their calculation saying, “we suppose,” they should just have admitted, “we made it all up”!

Of course, there are criticisms to be made about Cuba – such as the lack of liberties. But that country has plenty it could show the richer countries about education and public health. These are achievements the real billionaire dictators and kings have never concerned themselves with. Their fortunes are built on the exploitation of the entire world.

Too bad that the reality of where billionaires come from, unlike Castro’s supposed fortune, is no fiction.