Following the death of Comandante Fidel Castro, many articles have been
written about him. They relish in his death and generally give an unfair analysis of his life by putting him to a higher standard than that of other world leaders.
I am not one to pull punches on someone who has recently died. I believe that people have to earn post-mortem goodwill through their actions in life. That being said, media continues to spread lies and misinformation about Fidel Castro and his work in Cuba. I also would not be all that good of a Communist if I did not defend him.
“Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.”
– Fidel Castro
First, let me get the most silly stuff out of the way:
People are saying that any love he has/is receiving from Cuban people is “fake”. That any respects paid to him are just people from Cuba fearing the wrath of the government. This is absurd. As with any world leader, he had critics and fans among his people.
After the Cuban Revolution took down the U.S. backed dictator Fulgencio Batista, many people fled the nation. These people believed that the revolution would be quickly sorted out and they could return to their lives as normal. Some left with the plan to return and take the country over again with a new revolution. These people were also the sort of people who had the resources to just leave the nation. When they arrived to the United States, they had absolutely no problem setting up businesses and starting communities.
Was it then unfair for the Revolutionary Government to confiscate the property of those who left? The few people who prospered while many more suffered under Batista. I don’t think so. It’s not unfair to label them as traitors and take their property the same way it’s not unfair if the United States does the same to the few who left and decided to join ISIS.
If you don’t want to live in the country anymore, fine. Then leave. Don’t expect to still own a part of it if you decide to come back. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.
Firing Squad Executions
I don’t advocate the death penalty. I believe there is no humane way to kill a person. That being said, what makes a firing squad execution any more inhumane than, say, the electric chair? Lethal gas? Lethal injection? Lethal injection was once thought of as the most humane way to kill someone, but now it has turned out that it’s every bit as cruel (if not more) than any other form. But somehow, when you say that the executions were done via firing squad, it elicits a more negative reaction.
If you look at the history of the United States, I would say it has a similar history to Cuba. Immediately after the Cuban Revolution, executions were performed for members of the Batista government. Now, the United States loves to condemn these sorts of actions. To anyone in the United States, this could be seen as “killing their own people”. However, they were not their people. They were their enemies who were put to death because of “human rights abuses, war crimes, murder, and torture.”
In fact, according to deathpenaltyworldwide.org, a website run by Cornell Law School, the last person to be put to death in Cuba was back in 2003 and there are currently no prisoners on death row. The United States by comparison, has had 18 people executed just this year (At least 2,994 on death row).
Again, I don’t advocate imprisoning someone on the basis of their politics (unless they are a legitimate threat to other people). Even so, I believe that the United States’ record on political prisoners far outweighs that of Cuba’s. While the laws of the United States does not allow for direct imprisonment of political adversaries, politicians have found ways around the law, sometimes even adding laws.
Richard Nixon used his “War on Drugs” to imprison troublemakers such as anti-war protesters and black people:
“You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
– John Ehrlichman, White House Counsel and Chief Domestic Advisor under Richard Nixon.
What Has Cuba Accomplished Under Castro?
While, yes, the country has a long way to go to reach the status of being truly Communist, but they have quite a few achievements that the United States has yet to see:
- The percent of parliamentary seats held by women is 48.9%. (The United States has a petty 19.4%)
- Infant mortality rate of 4.5. (The United States has 5.8)
- A literacy rate of 99.8%.
- Provided for education from kindergarten to PHD level.
- First country to “meet sustainable development according to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s definition.”
- Universal Healthcare.
- 2.4% unemployment rate (United States 4.9%)
There are also a few recent videos that show that Cuba isn’t exactly the prison island that many people have been led to believe:
In any case, Fidel Castro was not an agent of ultimate evil. Likewise, he wasn’t a saint. He was a human being just like anybody else with faults. But he was also a great revolutionary who freed the Cuban people from the tyranny of Batista and against all odds (United States interference, embargo, and the collapse of the Soviet Union) brought prosperity to Cuba.
Rest in peace Comrade Comandante Fidel Castro. History will absolve you.