The Monster Next Door

By Servando Gonzalez
Copyright © 2000. All rights reserved.

The life of Fidel Castro has always been bound up with prophesies, some of them strangely accurate. Probably the most known is the one made by Father Antonio Llorente, Castro's teacher and spiritual adviser at the Colegio de Belén. "Fidel Castro is a man of destiny," prophesied Llorente. "Behind him is the hand of God. He has a mission to fulfill and he will fulfill it against all obstacles."[1] In this particular case, however, I have the feeling that Father Llorente was slightly confused about whose hand was behind Fidel Castro.

The May 3, 1999, issue of TIME magazine included an extensive special report on the Colorado school massacre. The title of the report was "The Monsters Next Door." Motivated by the increase of violence in American public schools, the National School Safety Center, a nonprofit organization funded by the Department of Education and Justice, created a list of warning signs that could indicate the potential for violence by young people. The questions must be answered yes or no. Using the NSSC data as a guide, MSNBC created an on-line interactive quiz available on the Internet.[2] Based on available, known facts about Castro's early life, I have retroactively applied the on-line quiz to Fidel Castro, using information about him of the time when he was a student at the little grade school in Birán, at Catholic schools in Santiago de Cuba and at the Jesuit Belén High School in Havana. I also added information of his later life as a Law student at the University of Havana. Below are the questions of the Warning Signs quiz and the answers I have provided to it. The results of the hypothetical quiz are highly revealing:

1. The student has a history of tantrums and uncontrollable angry outbursts.
Yes. Fidel's tantrums began when he was a small child at the Birán estate, and have continued throughout most of his adult life.[3]

2. He has threatened or attempted suicide.
Unknown. There is no evidence that Castro has ever threatened or attempted suicide. However, his fixation with death, and his eminently necrophilic discourse, may be interpreted as veiled suicide threats.

3. He characteristically resorts to name calling, cursing or abusive language.
Yes. Castro's use of abusive language, cursing and name calling during his infancy and most of his adult life has been extensively documented.

4. The student habitually makes violent threats when angry.
Yes. Some of his classmates at Belén have reported about his violent threats to other classmates.[4] This behavior continued when he was a student at the University of Havana. Though he became more cautious after he grabbed power in 1959, his threats against foreign leaders, President Kennedy among them, have been documented.

5. The student has previously brought a weapon to school.
Yes. He began bringing guns to school as soon as he began attending the Belén High School.[5] He continued doing so as a student at the University of Havana.[6]

6. The student has a background of serious disciplinary problems at school and in the community.
Yes. Fidel had serious disciplinary problems at the first grade school he attended at Birán. He shamelessly told his biographer Carlos Franqui how he verbally, and sometimes physically harassed his teacher,[7] and how he sneaked into the school during a weekend and vandalized it.[8] His disciplinary problems continued when he was attending Catholic schools in Santiago de Cuba. According to his own words, while attending the Colegio Dolores, he physically attacked one of his teachers, a Lasallian brother.[9]

7. The student has a background of drug, alcohol or other substance abuse.
No. None of this has been documented.

8. He is on the fringe of his peer group with few or no close friends.
Yes. At the schools he attended in Birán and Santiago he was a solitary student. Later, when he began attending Belén, he created a small gang to harass other students, though he had few close friends.

9. The students is preoccupied with weapons, explosives or other incendiary devices.
Yes. It has been documented that, while he was a ypung boy a Birán, Fidel threatened his father with burning the house.[10] It was at Birán where his life-long preoccupation with guns and explosive devices began.

10. He has previously been truant, suspended, or expelled from school.
Yes. Fidel was a truant while attending school at Birán, and though he was never expelled, he was suspended several times because of his unruly behavior.[11]

11. He displays cruelty to animals.
Yes. Fidel's cruelty to animals began at an early age. He used to shoot at his mother's chickens at the Birán estate. As an adolescent, there are numerous anecdotes about his cruelty to animals.[12]

12. The student has little or no supervision and support from parents or a caring adult.
Yes. He grew up mostly by himself, with little supervision or support from his parents. The animosity between him and his father has been amply documented. At an early age he was sent to live with some family friends in Santiago. Castro himself has told some of his biographers how he suffered because of the mistreatment he received from these people.

13. He has witnessed or been a victim of abuse or neglect in the home.
Yes. Though it has not been documented that he was the victim of abuse, it is known that he was neglected by his parents.

14. The student has been bullied and/or bullies or intimidated peer or younger children.
Yes. He was the school bully at the schools he attended in Birán, Santiago and Havana. As soon as he began attending Belén, he created a gang to harass other students. At the University of Havana he joined some gangs and harassed and physically attacked other students and some university staff and professors as well.

15. He tends to blame others for difficulties or problems he causes himself.
Yes. He habitually blames others for his difficulties and problems, and never recognizes his own mistakes. This behavior has continued during his adult life.[13]

16. The student consistently prefers TV shows, movies or music expressing violent themes and acts.
Yes. Castro was born before TV, and before Hollywood created such jewels as Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. He was also born way before children were exposed to the violence of video games. It seems, however, that he created in his mind his own version of violent video games. According to his own recollection, he used to invent military battles and, using little scraps and tiny balls of paper arranged on a playing board, create military battles, in which there were losses and casualties. "I played this game of wars for hours at a time," he said. [14]

17. He prefers reading materials dealing with violent themes, rituals and abuse.
No. There is no evidence of any of this.

18. He reflects anger, frustration and the dark side of life in school essays or writing projects.
Unknown. Though there is no reference to any of the above, his predilection for themes related with destruction, violence and death is evidenced in most of his early writings and throughout his speeches.

19. The student is involved with a gang or an antisocial group on the fringe of peer acceptance.
Yes. It has been extensively documented that, as soon as he joined Belén, he formed his own gang and began harassing other students. The Jesuit padres were terrorized. They had never seen a student like Fidel Castro.[15] He continued his involvement with gangs when he became a Law student at the University of Havana.[16]

20. He is often depressed and/or has significant mood swings.
Yes. His mood swings and depression bouts have been documented.17

Sixteen answers out of twenty are a rotund yes. The answers to two of them are unknown, though there is some indication that they may also be positive. Only two questions are definitely answered in the negative.[18] Moreover, like the monsters who carried out the Colorado school massacre, young Fidel Castro was an avid reader of Nazi literature.
According to the creators of the quiz, a youngster with the characteristics mentioned above is,

a "ticking time bomb." The child and his immediate family are at risk. They should get some help immediately. They must seek support from law enforcement, social and health services, parenting classes and the family court or other youth-serving professionals.

Though nobody is to blame for the creation of the evil monster but the monster himself, it is evident that the Jesuit padres at the Colegio de Belén committed a gross dereliction of their religious duty when, rather than detecting the evil creature they had at their school, encouraged and nurtured Fidel's dark side.

Moreover, it seems that the Jesuit's efforts in nurturing the monster were not by mistake, but by design. Argentinean journalist Alfredo Muñoz Unsaín, for many years Havana's correspondent for France Press, tells a quite revealing story. Father Padre Arrupe visited Cuba in the early 1980s, and Muñoz Unsaín had the opportunity of talking to him on several occasions. In one of them, recalls the reporter, the Black Pope gave him the classic Jesuit spiel, ending by telling that he was very pleased with the work of the Jesuits in Latin America, particularly of the many important disciples they have developed who later reached prominent positions in all walks of life. "Well, I guess you are not proud of all of them," retorted Unsaín, and added, "Don't forget that Fidel Castro was one of your disciples." To what Arrupe answered, in the classic Jesuit way, by using a question to answer another one, "And what makes you think we are not proud of Fidel Castro?"

Even more disturbing is the fact that Fidel Castro, the monster next door, has been for more than forty years the darling of the American liberals and the Left. This may give some indication about their true roles in the creation of the monsters next door who are killing children in our schools. A close analysis of Bill and Hillary Clinton's educational dreams for the future of America through Goals 2000 is in order.

Most studies about Castro and other similar monsters seem based on the idea that some conditions found in the infancy are the real cause of an individual's behavior and, therefore, this makes them less responsible for his actions. In the case of Fidel Castro, this may be explained because of the hatred he felt for his alcoholic abusive father; the fact that he was a bastard son; the rage against other kids who called him a "Jew"; the humiliation he felt when President Roosevelt denied him the money he asked for; the whack to his head when he crashed his bicycle at Belén; his frustration when he failed to become a professional baseball player in the U.S.; the actions of the American government vis-a-vis his revolution, etcetera, etcetera. You may add things to this list almost ad infinitum.

But none of these authors who have tried to find a rational explanation for the behavior of Fidel Castro dare to admit the existence of pure, conscious evil, an idea developed in detail by philosopher Berel Lang and other scholars, and studied in detail in Ron Rosenbaum's recent book on Adolf Hitler.[19]

In his long self-defense speech at the trial for the assault on the Moncada barracks, Fidel Castro called President Batista "Monstrum horrendum." Actually, there is no other term that better describes Fidel Castro. His political trajectory proves once more that power that is not balanced with compassion and humility easily turns into evil.


Servando González is a Cuban-born American writer living in California. His book, The Secret Fidel Castro: Deconstructing the Symbol, will be published this year.



1. Father Llorente's prophesy on Castro in Jules Dubois, Fidel Castro (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1959), p. 145.

2. MSNBC quiz on-line at

3. Fidel's tantrums in Teresa Casuso, Cuba and Castro (New York: Random House, 1961), pp. 168-169.

4. One day a teacher at Belén expelled him from class for scuffing with another classmates. Fidel yelled in anger threatening the teacher: "I'm going to bring my gun." Nobody believed him, but a few minutes later he came back to the classroom brandishing a .45 cal. pistol. See José D. Cabús, Castro ante la historia (Mexico: Editores Mexicanos Unidos, 1963), p. 24.

5. Another day he started a fist fight with Ramón Mestre, a classmate. But Mestre won, and the furious Fidel came back with this .45 cal. pistol. Only the intervention of father Larracea, who persuaded Fidel to give the pistol to him, saved Mestre. But now comes the most incredible thing. When father Larracea persuade him of the impropriety of his behavior, Fidel, in an act of repentance, went to his room again and came back with another .45 cal. pistol he gave to the amazed father Larracea. See José D. Cabús, Castro ante la historia (Mexico: Editores Mexicanos Unidos, 1963), p. 24.

6. See José D. Cabús, Castro ante la historia (Mexico: Editores Mexicanos Unidos, 1963), p. 25.

7. Fidel himself told his biographer Carlos Franqui, ". . . I remember that whenever I disagree with something the teacher said to me, or whenever I god mad, I would swear at her and immediately leave school, running as fast as I can. There was a kind of standing war between us and the teacher. Whenever we would curse at the teacher, with dirty words we had picked up from the workers, we would get out of her way as fast as our feet would carry us." Diary of the Cuban Revolution (New York: Viking, 1980), p. 2.

8. "On Fridays a student was selected to lock the school's door. One day I was in charge and I left the door unlocked. Next day I came back with a group of classmates andentered the school. Once inside we destroyed desks, stole things and did lots of nasty things. It was never known who did it." See Carlos Franqui, Vida, aventuras y desastres de un hombre llamado Castro (Barcelona: Planeta, 1988), p. 23.

9. One day a Christian brother at the Lassalle school in Santiago dared to discipline Fidel while he was on line for lunch. According to Castro's own recollection, ". . . I turned on him, right then and there, threw a piece of bread at his head and started to hit him with my fists and bite him. I don't think I hurt the priest much, but the daring outburst came a historic event in school." See Carlos Franqui, Diary of the Cuban Revolution (New York: Viking, 1980), p. 4.

10. As Castro told his biographer Franqui, in order to convince her mother to send him back to a school in Santiago, "I appealed to her and told her I wanted to stay in school and that if I wasn't sent back, I'd set fire to the house." See Carlos Franqui, Diary of the Cuban Revolution (New York: Viking, 1980), p. 5. Apparently Fidel's mother had learnt not to take his son's threats lightly, because soon after he was sent back to school.

11. The school used to issue three different types of report: a white one for students with good behavior, a red one for students wit bad behavior, and a green one for students with very bad behavior. According to Castro himself, his behavior was so bad that the school stopped sending any type of report to his family. When the school finally contacted his father, he used to tell his friends that he had been told at the school that his son was the greatest ruffian they have known. See Carlos Franqui, Vida, aventuras y desastres de un hombre llamado Castro (Barcelona: Planeta, 1988), p. 29.

12. Fidel shooting at chickens in in Luis Conte Agüero, Fidel Castro: Psiquiatría y política (Mexico, D.F.: Editorial Jus, 1968), p. 25. Anecdotes of Castro's cruelty to animals in Georgie Anne Geyer, Guerrilla Prince (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991), p. 72; also in Carlos Franqui, Diary of the Cuban Revolution (New York: Viking, 1980), p. 7.

13. Fidel not recognizing his mistakes in in Luis Conte Agüero, Fidel Castro: Psiquiatría y política (Mexico, D.F.: Editorial Jus, 1968), p. 1o7

14. Castro playing games of war in Carlos Franqui, Diary of the Cuban Revolution (New York: Viking, 1980), p. 7.

15. Fidel organizing gang at Belén in José D. Cabús, Castro ante la historia (Mexico: Editores Mexicanos Unidos, 1963), p. 25.

16. There were two major gangs (or "action groups") at the University of Havana at the time: the MSR (Movimiento Socialista Revolucionario), and the UIR (Unión Insurreccional Revolucionaria). As soon as Castro began attending the University he joined the UIR. See Herbert Matthews, Revolution in Cuba (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975), p. 45.

17. Fidel's bouts of depression and melancholy in Luis Conte Agüero, Fidel Castro:Psiquiatría y política (Mexico, D.F.: Editorial Jus, 1968), pp. 14, 68.

18. An indication of Castro's sick mind is the fact that he has told his biographers about his reprehensible childhood escapades, and he seems to be proud of them.

19. Berel Lang, Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil (New York: Random House, 1998).

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