Last Friday, the sane portion of the world rejoiced at the announcement that Fidel Castro had died. His death doesn’t immediately change anything in the island prison of Cuba; brother Raul is still in charge. Yet there is a psychological lift, at least, knowing that the primary perpetrator of the miseries of the Cuban people finally left the scene of the living.
Castro has his acolytes on the political left who praise him and who mourn his passing. They try to make everyone else believe that when the dictator Batista was ousted, Castro brought relief to an oppressed people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Executions and harsh imprisonments of his political enemies have been the hallmark of the Cuban experience under the Castro regime. He, along with his chief lieutenant, Che Guevara, murdered approximately 73,000 Cuban citizens; some say the actual number is closer to 100,000.
The US initially supported Castro’s revolution, but then came to realize the mistake. Castro aligned himself with the communist vision and developed tight ties to the USSR. I won’t recount the Cuban Missile Crisis here, but a crisis it certainly was back in 1962. The world was on the edge of nuclear war over it.
Castro admirers point to what they believe is an unblemished record of healthcare and literacy on the island. According to Humberto Fontova, that is a fiction:
For the record: In 1958, that “impoverished Caribbean island” had a higher standard of living than Ireland and Austria, almost double Spain and Japan’s per capita income, more doctors and dentists per capita than Britain, and lower infant mortality than France and Germany – the 13th-lowest in the world, in fact. Today, Cuba’s infant-mortality rate – despite the hemisphere’s highest abortion rate, which skews this figure downward – is 24th from the top.
So, relative to the rest of the world, Cuba’s health care has worsened under Castro, and a nation with a formerly massive influx of European immigrants needs machine guns, water cannons and tiger sharks to keep its people from fleeing, while half-starved Haitians a short 60 miles away turn up their noses at any thought of emigrating to Cuba.
In 1958, 80 percent of Cubans were literate, and Cuba spent the most per capita on public education of any nation in Latin America.
Yet for many, this is a paradise that would be even better if not for the evil US, which, until the Obama administration, placed a trade embargo on Cuba. Yes, it’s all the fault of those nasty capitalists.
President Obama’s statement after Castro’s death said nothing about the suffering he inflicted. Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, outdid even Obama with his eulogy of the totalitarian tyrant.
Trudeau expressed “deep sorrow” at the world’s loss of a murderous thug. Castro was, in Trudeau’s fawning words, “a legendary revolutionary and orator” who made “significant improvements” to healthcare and education (never mind all those books Cubans weren’t allowed to read). Castro, opined Trudeau, had a “tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people”—except for those he killed, of course—and they, in turn, had “a deep and lasting affection” for their dear leader.
Trudeau’s eulogy was so gag-worthy that a bevy of phony Trudeau eulogies popped up on social media over the weekend. Here are a couple of my favorites:
“Mr. Stalin’s greatest achievement was his eradication of obesity in the Ukraine through innovative agricultural reforms.”
“A quiet loner with a quick wit, Osama Bin Laden inspired tremendous advances in air transportation security methodologies.”
I have my own parting thought on Castro’s demise: “No, Fidel Castro did not go to meet his Maker. He went elsewhere.”