Government & Politics

The Real Castro Legacy

Leftists can't help but fawn over the deceased dictator.

Nate Jackson · Nov. 28, 2016

Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba for more than 57 years with an iron fist (notwithstanding his passing power to his brother Raul in 2008), is likely finding his current accommodations a bit warmer than Cuba. But Barack Obama, who wields power as if he wishes to imitate the Cuban dictator, almost mourned the latter’s loss. After all, Obama has always gravitated toward radical Marxist mentors.

Pre-Castro, the U.S. and Cuba enjoyed friendly trade relations. Castro completely destroyed the island’s prosperity, though. The U.S. embargoed Cuba, seeking to isolate and starve the Castro regime, but Fidel found friends in the Soviet Union and Venezuela. After Castro seized power, John F. Kennedy launched the embarrassingly failed coup attempt at the Bay of Pigs, which led to the ensuing Cuban missile crisis involving the Soviets. Nuclear war was only narrowly avoided. Fast forward to 2014, and along comes Obama to normalize relations with Cuba. Perhaps that explains his statement.

“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing,” Obama said in an official statement, “we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans — in Cuba and in the United States — with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Worse, Obama said, “We offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family.”

Aside from that last outrage, clearly, Obama’s statement was meant to be ambiguous. “Powerful emotions”? Yes, ignorant academics may shed a tear for Castro, but the people he brutally oppressed have somewhat different emotions. Castro “altered the course of individual lives”? Yes, if by “altered” Obama meant ended. “History will judge”? Yes, it will, but why wait for “history”? We already know the extent of Castro’s evil. We can judge him now, and have been judging him since he took over the Caribbean island in 1959.

As The Wall Street Journal briefly recaps, “Castro took power on New Year’s Day in 1959 serenaded by the Western media for toppling dictator Fulgencio Batista and promising democracy. He soon revealed that his goal was to impose Communist rule. He exiled clergy, took over Catholic schools and expropriated businesses. Firing squads and dungeons eliminated rivals and dissenters. The terror produced a mass exodus.”

That exodus includes many Cubans in Miami, hundreds of whom took to the streets to celebrate Fidel’s demise. The refugees included the parents of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio. “Sadly,” Rubio said in a statement, “Fidel Castro’s death does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders, and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted. The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan hoped for the death of that dictatorship: “Now that Fidel Castro is dead, the cruelty and oppression of his regime should die with him.”

Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump’s statement was also far more appropriate than Obama’s: “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.” Trump also noted that “Cuba remains a totalitarian island,” but that he is “absolutely” willing to undo Obama’s work to normalize relations with Cuba.

Obama wasn’t the only one offering foolish words, nor did he make the worst statement. Jimmy Carter wrote, “Rosalynn and I share our sympathies with the Castro family and the Cuban people on the death of Fidel Castro. We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.”

Castro “loved” his country by brutalizing it.

“In many ways,” pontificated Jesse Jackson, “after 1959, the oppressed the world over joined Castro’s cause of fighting for freedom & liberation — he changed the world. RIP.”

Castro only fought against freedom and liberation.

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have taken the cake: “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. … While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante’. … We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”

Only after being challenged did Trudeau grudgingly acknowledge that, “yes,” Castro was a dictator and there were “concerns around human rights.”

Such pathetic paeans should be roundly condemned because whitewashing Castro’s true legacy is itself an appalling and immoral act. Yet there is hope. People around the world should take solace that even dictators are mortal. And while tyranny will continue to rear its ugly head — and it still lives in Havana — those who love Liberty will always be there to oppose it. Here’s to Liberty winning the day in Cuba.

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