Ron Ridenour

About Ron Ridenour
Short stories




Born in the "devil's own country" of a WASP military family, 1939. Growing up I experienced the pains and indignities of US imperial domination, its jingoistic wars, its chauvinism and racism at home and abroad. My first look at USA's empire building was as a teenager in Brazil, 1952-55, where President Getulio Vargas committed suicide (1954) and blamed the US for preventing him from ruling his country.

Before I understood the essence of US imperialism, I joined the US Air Force, at 17, when the Soviet Union occupied Hungary in 1956, to fight the “commies”. Posted to a radar site in Japan, I witnessed approved segregated barracks in the Yankee base, and the imposition of racism in Japanese establishments. I protested and was tortured by my white “compatriots”, who held me down naked, sprayed DDT aflame over my pubic hairs, and then held me under snow. This, and the fact that we had orders to shoot down any Soviet aircraft over “our” territory in Japan—which never appeared—while we flew spy planes over the Soviet Union daily, led me to question American “morality”.

In shame and anger at what the US really does against peoples at home and around the globe, I took responsibility. My first demonstration was in Los Angeles against the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. The Cuban revolution inspired me to become an activist, and I helped build the budding student and anti-war movements just forming when I entered college, as well as participating in the civil rights movement. I was an activist during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer campaign to force the state to allow black people simply the right to vote. I later supported the Black Panther Party,
and supported other liberation movements inside the monster and in solidarity with/for revolutionary movements throughout Latin American.

Most of my activism from 1961 to May 1, 1975 was in support of the Vietnamese people's fight for their country, as well as Laos and Cambodia. I am most proud of that movement for having performed an important role in their victory over the imperial monster. International solidarity, at the very least, helped shorten the length of the long war. Here are remarks by Vietnam's most important general, Vo. Nguyen Giap:

“The nationwide antiwar movement in the U.S. was a major contributing factor to Vietnam’s victory”. “Our intention was to break the will of the American government to continue the war. The U.S. ‘second front’ — consisting of millions of American civilians and GIs who expressed their opposition to an unjust war — helped bring it to an end.”

During the 1960s and 70s, I was jailed a dozen times, once for half-a-year, and spent a week in a Costa Rica prison for trying to travel to Cuba during the October 1962 missile crisis. I was part of the Wounded Knee occupation by Native Americans (1974) for a time and helped with media promotion.

Soon after the end of the war against Southeast Asia, I obtained 1,000 censored pages of dossiers various National Security Council “intelligence” agencies had on me.

I began working as a reporter in 1967. I was fired from three dailies (Hanford Sentinel, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Hollywood Reporter) for failing to self-censor my reportage and for union organizing efforts, as well as support for the Black Panthers. In the early 1970s, I reported for and edited several alternative“underground” weeklies, including the “Los Angeles Free Press” and the “L.A. Vanguard”.

FBI, CIA, Los Angeles Police Department's red squad all tailed and harassed me, even to the point of forging tax return papers in an attempt to show the left and anti-war movement that I was one of their many spies.

In 1980, I moved to Denmark for love of Grethe and hate of the US. Between 1982 and 1996, I traveled to and lived for nearly nine years in Nicaragua and Cuba, where I translated, wrote and edited for Cuba’s foreign publishing house, Editorial José Martí, and Cuba's news agency, Prensa Latina. I have also traveled in Venezuela and Bolivia and written about their revolutions.

I have been a special correspondent or free lance for many publications in the US, several Latin American and European countries—among them: The Morning Star, New Statesman, The Guardian (US and England), Playboy, Liberation News Service, Pacific News Service and Pacifica Radio, Coast, Qui, Skeptic, Sevendays...

I have also written for many Danish publications--Copenhagen weekly Politisk Review weekly, Relief, Information--as well as worked in ecological agricultural, lectured in schools, painted houses and held other odd jobs in Denmark. I have been an anti-war activist and have acted in solidarity with the resistance movements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia and Palestine. In latter years I have written for several websites.

My published books are:

“Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka”, India, November 2011 (English here)

“Sounds of Venezuela”, India, November 2011 (English and Tamil)

”Cuba: A Revolution in Action”, India, November 2010 (Tamil)

“Cuba at Sea”, Socialist Resistance, London, May, 2008. (Sailing aboard five Cuban ships as a volunteer merchant marine.)

“Cuba: Beyond the Crossroads”, Socialist Resistance, London, October, 2006. (A look at how Cuba is managing the special period.)

"Cuba: A `Yankee´ Reports", PapyRossa, Germany, 1997. (Only in German but English manuscript is in themes here.)

“Cuba at the Crossroads”, Infoservicios, Los Angeles, California, 1994. (A look at the early special period.)

“Backfire: The CIA’s Biggest Burn”, Editorial José Martí, Havana, 1991, and in Germany, 1994. (How Cuba protects itself against CIA.)

“Yankee Sandinistas”, Curbstone Press, Connecticut, 1986.
(Testimonies of US citizens living and working with the new Nicaragua.)

Copyright © 2006-2012

About Ron Ridenour