Victims of Communism in Cuba: 73,000

Michael W. Chapman | March 21, 2016 | 2:24pm EDT
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Cuba's Communist dictator Raul

Castro, left, and President Barack

Obama.  (AP) 

As President Barack Obama currently visits Cuba, it merits noting that the Communist regime south of Florida has killed an estimated 73,000 people since the dictator Fidel Castro seized power in 1959, according to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which was established by an act of Congress in 1993.

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which runs the Museum of Communism, is a non-profit group created “to educate this generation and future generations about the ideology, history, and legacy of communism,” reads its website. It also is building a memorial “to commemorate the more than 100 million victims of communism” worldwide.

In its Facts, Figures & Statistics section on Cuba, the Museum of Communism (online) states that there have been 73,000 victims of communism in Cuba since 1959.    

In an exhibit overview by Ray Walser, Ph.D., a senior policy analyst for Latin America at the Heritage Foundation, it says, “The press often portrayed Fidel and his band as young idealists fighting a corrupt, unpopular tyranny.”   

Executioner Rene Rodriguez Cruz

shoots Garcia Olayon in the head,

Jan. 2, 1959.  (Museum of


But after Castro seized power in January 1959, he “commenced maneuvering against liberals and democrats, breaking alliances and power sharing deals to solidify personal power and set Cuba on the path to Communist dictatorship,” states the overview.

“Although Castro promised democratic elections, none were ever held,” says Walser. “The free press was muzzled; judicial independence was lost.”

The U.S. State Department describes Cuba as a “totalitarian communist state; current government assumed power by force on January 1, 1959.” There is only one political party allowed in Cuba, the Cuban Communist Party (PCC).

The State Department further says, “Cuba is an authoritarian state that routinely employs repressive methods against internal dissent and monitors and responds to perceived threats to authority. These methods may include physical and electronic surveillance, as well as detention and interrogation of both Cuban citizens and foreign visitors. Human rights conditions in Cuba remain poor, as the Cuban government limits fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

Cuba's Communist dictators Fidel Castro,  

left, and his younger brother

Raul Castro.  (AP) 


In addition to the 73,000 victims of communism in Cuba estimated by the Museum of Communism, Political Science Prof. R.J. Rummel (d. 3/2/2014) of the University of Hawaii, a specialist in genocide,  provided a mid-range estimate of the number of victims as 73,000, for the years 1959 to 1987.

In the low range, he estimated 35,000, and in the high range, 141,000 victims. Rummel provides a range because, as he explains, “even were we to have total access to all communist archives we still would not be able to calculate precisely how many the communists murdered.” 

According to the Black Book of Communism, one of the most authoritative books on communist atrocities, and published by Harvard University Press, shortly after taking power Fidel Castro organized an extensive security apparatus.

His younger brother, Raul Castro, the current dictator of Cuba, “reinstated military tribunals, and soon the firing squad became a judicial weapon.”

The first security group was called the State Security Department, and its nickname was the “Red Gestapo,” reports the Black Book of Communism.  The Red Gestapo hunted down Castro’s enemies and established forced-labor camps.

The military Unit of Production Assistance (1964-67) used prisoners as a labor force and also set up “concentration camps” because everyone “was considered a ‘potential danger to society,’” reported the Black Book of Communism. One of the camps, El Manbu, “contained more than 3,000 people in the 1980s.”

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