This isn’t a proper Christian sentiment, I know. We’re supposed to love our enemies and all that.
So we must. In that spirit, one hopes God will be merciful on Fidel Castro’s soul, provided he had one. But in this world, all decent people have prayed for half a century that this monster rot in hell.
In its fulsomely well-balanced obituary, The Guardian had the gall to quote Castro’s Cuban sycophant as saying that, for all the material deprivation Castro caused, at least he guided the country through the nightmare of the 1962 crisis.
Well, now we’re on the issue of balance, I’d be tempted to mention that the crisis Castro guided his grateful people through was largely of his own making. It’s by generously turning his island into a Soviet missile base at Khrushchev’s behest, that Castro took the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.
I remember 1962 in Moscow as if it were yesterday. As a child, I was taught to sing songs about heroic barbudos and shout “patria o muerte, venceremos” at public gatherings. Yet immediately pro-Cuban hysteria mandated by the Kremlin began to strike some cautionary notes.
The slogan rolled off the tongue quite easily when it was their patria and their muerte. Yet with SAC bombers expected over Moscow at any moment, my affection for the Castro-led barbudos, tepid at best, vanished in an instant.
Actually, I find it tedious to talk about the Kremlin’s blood-thirsty puppet who emulated the Soviet model of starving, torturing, imprisoning and murdering his people en masse, although not quite in the same numbers as his communist role models elsewhere.
People citing the number of those murdered or imprisoned by Castro praise the bearded monster for not having matched the Soviets or Chinese even in percentage terms.
But he certainly went the Soviets one better in the relative number of those who risked (and often lost) their lives fleeing from the cannibalistic barbudos and their loquacious chieftain (he’d orate for hours off the cuff, an impressive achievement to anyone who hasn’t actually read Castro’s incoherent rants).
All in all, 1.5 million Cubans have fled. Considering that Cuba’s population at the time Castro led his gang out of Sierra Maestra mountains was 6.9 million, that was quite good going.
Another praise for Castro that makes me see white (the colour of counter-revolution) is the effluvia over the universal literacy and ‘free’ medical care he bestowed upon Cubans in his munificence.
That people can read is a trivial datum compared to what they read. All communist dictators want people to be literate enough to peruse their speeches and other propaganda.
Literacy thus stops being a factor of learning and becomes one of brainwashing. With the Castrites (Castratos?) in power, the Cubans would have been better off in their former blissful state of illiteracy.
As to the canard of free medical care, it’s one oft-repeated even in countries that ought to know better. There’s no such thing. ‘Free’ in this context means provided by the state, largely for the same purpose as universal literacy – to exert control over the populace.
When the state, especially one that beggars the nation by practising communist economics, provides such services, it has to pinch elsewhere. Hence the average wage in Castro’s Cuba is under $20 a month. If it were even half that in the US ($4,300 a month), I’m sure Cubans would be happy to pay for their own blood tests and appendectomies.
Such wages accompanied by ‘free’ medicine and education don’t mean universal care. They mean universal slavery.
When I first arrived in the US from Russia (43 years ago – doesn’t tempus bloody well fugit?), I was amazed at seeing portraits of Fidel and Che Guevara everywhere, including the co-eds’ beautifully shaped T-shirts.
Chaps, these are mass murderers you’re glorifying, I wanted to scream, and at times did. Criminals who not only stamped their own people into the dirt but who also export their beastliness all over the world. Angola, Mozambique, other African countries, plus the odd ‘wet job’ carried out on behalf of their Soviet masters – don’t you know? Don’t you care?
They might have known. But they didn’t care. Castro and Che were kinda cool.
And it wasn’t just the US. I saw the same thing when coming to Britain 15 years later.
An old friend of mine married a comely English rose, and I was shocked to see a large portrait of Che Guevara adorning her wall.
When I took her to task, she explained that she had had to live through even a worse dictatorship, that of Margaret Thatcher. (Shortly thereafter my friend intercepted her e-mail thanking her boss for having let her perform on him an act that’s still illegal in some American states. I detected a causal relationship.)
Thousands of Cubans are dancing in the streets of Miami and other American cities (they’ve learned to keep such emotions in check in Cuba proper). They never thought Fidel was cool. They always knew what kind of evil was perpetrated on their country. One wishes all those mourning Castro’s death knew that too.