2007 Topps Allen & Ginter Fidel Castro Cut Autograph 1/1
Yeah, that's right. I am prepared to deal with the massive buttloads of crap people may give me for wanting this card.
It's not new to most of you, Mario has blogged about it, as has Sports Card Info, and I'm sure a few other bloggers have as well... but it is one of a kind. As far as I can tell, this is the only certified auto of El Presidente that has been released by any card company. I've got to hand it to Topps for having the gravitas to actually produce this card, and include it in '07 Allen & Ginter.
While I wouldn't consider myself a Castro supporter, by any means, I will go as far as to say that he is mis-understood, and probably "exhibit A" for what the media machine can do to a person and a country if they don't agree with their ideals. I have read several book about Fidel, including "My Life", his spoken autobiography, and as a result, am not sure what to believe about him. There is no doubt in my mind that he is at the very least and extraordinary important historical figure. Somehow, I was captivated and inspired by the romanticism of the 26th of July revolutionary movement that took place in 1959, which ultimately ended with Castro in control of Cuba. I mean, aren't all revolutions inspiring? Whenever the masses rise up against perceived oppression and manage to take the power back, isn't that at the least a testament to the power of the human spirit? See: The Revolutionary War, 4th of July
However you view Fidel Castro, and his life, the one thing that you must keep in mind is how much of the story is really known? Much like in communist Cuba, where information is tightly controlled, our own media is biased, and some could argue so is our written history. We only know what the powers that be want us to know. What I always try to do, as a matter of principle, is take what both sides are saying (because there are ALWAYS sides) and assume that the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. Castro claims to be anti-violence, and only believes in taking the lives of those who are perpetrators of oppression. During the revolution, Castro says that not a single civilian was murdered by his army, and whenever they captured prisoners from the opposing side, they were always released unharmed. What we know of him in America is his reported reputation and penchant for senseless violence. He is even referred to as a murderer from time to time. Chances are the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Every man has his principles, and the struggle to stay true to what you believe has been known put a people in precarious situations, where tough choices must be made.
Take for example the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and Cuba's relationship with the U.S.S.R. In 1961, the US decided that they wanted someone else in control of Cuba, and did not approve of Castro's government. It was becoming apparent to the world that Cuba was headed towards full-blown communism, and due to our own pre-conceived notions that any communist country must be pure evil, a plot was launched to militarily overthrow Castro, and bring multi-party democracy to Cuba (just like we try to do to the rest of the world now). Needless to say, the plan backfired, and the Cuban, army as well as the people of Cuba, who would not turn on their leader, were able to thwart the US plan. As a result, a strict trade embargo was imposed on Cuba, which essentially cut them off from the rest of the world financially. It makes perfect sense that given all of this, and the sinking economic state of his country, Castro would turn to the only possible ally at the time for support and protection, which at this time in history was the U.S.S.R. We all know where the story goes from there, with the Cuban Missile Crisis. In my opinion, ALL parties involved used poor judgment, and the consequences were almost detrimental.
I don't want to give anyone the impression that I am a Castro sympathizer, because I am not. What I am is a person who like to have all the information before coming to a conclusion. While what Castro did is certainly frowned upon by the majority, it seems pretty clear to me that he was doing whatever he had to do to ensure the well being of his little island nation, and it's people. That having been said, I have also read about and heard about some things he is accused of that are absolutely reprehensible. Not having both sides of the story on things leaves me up in the air about how I feel about them. I mean, if you believe everything you read, or hear, you're just as enslaved the citizens of Cuba are perceived to be, not to mention naive.
Ok, now that I feel like I've justified my reasons for wanting this card, lets start talking about the actual card itself. As a firm believer in the First Amendment, I feel that the scribblings on this card only make it more valuable, at least to me. I'm sure the book & resale value have been drastically hurt by what could be viewed as a desecration, I think it only adds to the cards rarity. It's essentially now a 1/1 of a 1/1, with some great (and colorful) expressions of opinion scribbled all over it. Not only is it the ONLY Fidel Castro autographed card, it is the ONLY Fidel Castro card that is this unique. It's my understanding that this card was pulled from eBay last year, before it could be sold, and I'm not sure if it's been sold since. The odds of me actually ever owning this card are substantially lower than those of my previous wish list cards, but it doesn't make me want it any less. How cool would it be to own a cut signature of arguably the most controversial world leader of all time, and of a man who survived a reported 638 assassination attempts by the C.I.A.? I think it would be very cool. Controversially cool. Viva la Revolucion! Yo quiero Taco Bell!
My favorite part is where it says ", jerk" next to Castro's name.
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