You may think that 2016 was nothing but doom and gloom, but we awake this morning to news which proves that every cloud has a silver lining. The tyrant of Cuba, Fidel Castro, has finally died at the age of 90 and will be cremated in short order. (And if there’s any justice at all in the universe, this won’t be the only burning he experiences in the millennia to come.) Of course, each media outlet will have their own spin on this historic moment. (WaPo)
Fidel Castro, whose Cuban revolution turned his Caribbean island into a potent symbol of the world’s greatest ideological and economic divides of the 20th century, has died, Cuban state media announced late Friday. He was 90.
The death was announced on Cuban state TV by Castro’s younger brother, Raúl, who succeeded his sibling years ago as the country’s leader.
The son of a prosperous sugar planter, Mr. Castro took power in Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959 promising to share his nation’s wealth with its poorest citizens, who had suffered under the corrupt quarter-century dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
What’s truly disheartening is the disparity of views on display in American media. Despite the weight of a lengthy history of murder, oppression and cruel despotism which Fidel Castro leaves in his wake, those who lean heavily left still find some way to treat the monster’s passing as cause for a moment of reflection. One of the first examples I ran across today was at Talking Points Memo, where the tyrant is shown in a cheerful appearing track suit like someone’s harmless old uncle. Their paeans to this creature are something out of an alternate universe.
Former President Fidel Castro, who led a rebel army to improbable victory in Cuba, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U.S. presidents during his half century rule, has died at age 90…
Castro overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America. For decades, he served as an inspiration and source of support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa.
Simply incredible. TPM wasn’t alone, though. Check out the leading banner in one of the newsletters which the Washington Post sent out this morning.
The real tragedy here, assuming you must find something to mourn, is that Castro actually wound up winning when all is said and done. He lived to the age of 90 – a ripe, full life by anyone’s standards – and was never held to account for his crimes. We will never know exactly how many of his own people died during his bloody revolution or in the decades to follow, wasting away in cells as political prisoners. No fixed number will be assigned to the army of Cubans who drowned or were killed as they attempted to flee his reign of terror to find freedom elsewhere. The staggering human rights abuses which continue in his country to this day were never answered for. Castro himself ate well and had top flight medical care while the majority of his people who were not in favor with the ruling party suffered in poverty and fear. And Fidel Castro was never held accountable. He thumbed his nose at the world’s sole remaining superpower for decades and in the end he escaped justice.
You can refer to Cuba as a socialist or communist nation if you wish. Their socialist revolution was codified in 1976, describing the island as a socialist republic. The redefined constitution of 1992 described the government as being “guided by the ideas of José Martí and the political and social ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin.” But no matter what tags you apply to it, Castro’s Cuba was a regime of tyranny where those in power lived well while they oppressed the rest of the nation.
So what will change now that Fidel Castro is gone? Nothing, really. He turned over official power to his brother several years ago, and even when Raul passes on to his “reward” there will be someone else waiting in the wings. There will never be freedom in Cuba until the people choose to take it for themselves. And in the meantime, Castro will receive a hero’s burial and be commemorated as a revolutionary leader, with the island observing nine days of mourning. But you can at least take a bit of comfort in these images and interviews of Cuban Americans celebrating the death of the tyrant in the streets of Miami.
In closing, here’s what might be the ultimate irony. In the end, Castro died on Black Friday, arguably the biggest celebration of capitalism on the entire calendar.