Fidel Castro Was Evil
On the face of things, it seems surprising that the death of Fidel Castro garnered so much media attention. With the end of the Cold War and the fall of the USSR in the 90s, Cuba ceased to be a country of any real strategic significance. It’s a small island nation of no real geopolitical importance, not especially rich in natural resources, notable these days only as a destination for tourists. Fidel Castro wasn’t even Cuba’s President anymore, having ceded the position to his ever so slightly more youthful brother some years ago. When you consider the matter, however, the symbolic significance of the event becomes more obvious. Castro was the last of his breed, the sole surviving great communist dictator of the Cold War. All the rest, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh and all the nameless others, are gone. Some died of old age and others were consumed by the machinations of the revolutions they rode to power, but all had long since left the world stage. With his passing the very last chapter, a final wretched epilogue, of the better than half a decade when the spectre of international communism haunted the globe was come to a close.
The significance of this has certainly not been lost on many among the left. There has been no shortage of eulogies and odes in recent days lauding Castro as a revolutionary, an advocate of social justice, a champion of equality, and a hero of human progress (Canada’s own Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued a statement to so fawning and puckering that the hashtag #TrudeauEulogies shot to the top of the trending chart on Twitter with satirical goodbyes to villains as wide ranging as Emperor Nero and Hanniabl Lecter). The late Caudillo of Cuba was lauded for raising the levels of his people’s literacy, giving the island one of highest ratios of doctors to private citizens in the world, and being an agent of progress.
All of this was true, and also utterly irrelevant. Sure, Castro built a few hospitals and schools. He also was a brutal dictator who betrayed the promises of the revolution to build a liberal and democratic Cuba, instead he created a totalitarian autocracy that was firmly aligned with Warsaw Pact. Cuba soldiers would travel as far afield as Africa and the Middle East to fight in the name of international communism, and in his moment of greatest infamy Mr Castro would spark a standoff with the United States that took the world to the very edge of nuclear war.
The most charitable estimates of Castro’s reign of terror put the numbers killed by him in the thousands. Thousands more were imprisoned, tortured or simply disappeared over then course of his time as president. Hundreds of thousands more Cubans were driven into exile, never to see their homeland again. Yes, Castro taught a few people to read who otherwise might not have learned and opened a few health clinics. Was the price worth it in the end? No it was not.
I recently had a chance to visit Cuba myself. People often remark that travelling to the island nation is like stepping into the 1950s, but this is a charitable description. It would be more accurate to say that Cuba is a country where everything stopped in the 1950s. Step away from the resorts or tourist filled centres like Havanah and you see old houses, old roads, and old cars, crumbling and patched and on their last legs (more often than not I would see people travelling by horse drawn buggies, and long lines of people standing in the middle of nowhere waiting for the eventual arrival of some rundown old bus). At one point I was shocked to learn that many of the country’s sugar plantations and refineries are closing down because the machinery needed to operate them is falling apart and no one ca afford to purchase replacement parts.
It is for shame that far to many figures of the progressive left have overlooked all this in recent days as they have fallen over themselves to laud Castro’s meagre achievements while whitewashing his many evils. While there is an element of the thinking that “the end justifies the means” in all political philosophies, it is a unique feature of modern progressives that they feel the need to go beyond arguing that unpleasant people must sometimes be tolerated for the advancement of the greater good and instead ignore the unpleasantness altogether. This has been evident ever since the aftermath of the First World War, when leftish journalist deliberately hid the crimes and terrors of the emerging Sovet Union; the need to believe in the lie of socialism was greater than the moral imperative to tell the truth of its horrors.
Truth must be spoken, as uncomfortable as it may sometimes be. Socialism was a false God, and Fidel Castro was but the last of its mad prophets. Do not mourn him, only hope that he is shown greater mercy in the next world then he ever showed to others in this one.