On November 25, 2016, Fidel Castro died at the age of 90 and the reactions to his death have been tremendously significant.
The same people who are outraged and sometimes rightly so, by Trump’s words, are now rushing to kiss the feet of Castro, despite his actions.
It is facinating to see the general modern division between left and right-wing priorities. Ben Shapiro, nationally syndicated columnist and conservative icon, has coined the phrase “facts don’t care about your feelings.” In our society there is a current hyperemotionalism trending. People are more willing to do something if they feel good about themselves, not if it will legitimately do good. The support of socialist/communist ideas is immerging in millenials who have become obsessed with a false idea of equality and in people who are simply not aware, or choose not to be aware, of the reality of living under a communist regime. They compromise facts so that they can feel good.
The mainstream media has gone out of its ways to either whitewash Castro’s legacy or just bluntly present him as a positive figure in history. When I heard of Castro’s death and began to read articles that were being published, I was astonished by how they presented him. Most followed a common pattern when introducing him:Castro had critics who called him a dictator but others praise him because he was a “legendary revolutionary.” The public is being presented with the idea that Castro was good and this is being told as a fact.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement was by far the most inflammatory in my opinion as he called Castro a “larger than life leader” and “legendary revolutionary and orator.” Trudeau also stated that “Mr. Castro made significant improvements to education and healthcare of his island nation.”
Trudeau and others who praise Castro must have some truth to their statements right?
So what are the facts?
In the 1920s Cuba’s president was a man by the name of Gerardo Machado who had been a hero in the Cuban War of Independence in 1895-1898. He had initially been seen as a solution to Cuba’s economic troubles but he began to enrich himself at the publics expense and rule dictatorially he was forced into exile. He was overthrown by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes who rule provisionally until Fulgencio Batista become elected as president in 1940-1944. He too proved to be a dictator taking control of the press, Congress and enriching himself with Cuba’s booming economy.
As a result, a new rebellion arose promising to restore the 1940 constitution and political liberties. Castro’s forces won against Batista’s professional army and as a result he was able to work his way until he became head of state. In direct contradiction with what he had initially proposed, Castro too became dictatorial in his rule, continuing Cuba’s line of tyrannical leaders.
In what ways did Castro prove to be a dictator?
Castro replaced a dictatorship with his own brand. He promised to be for equality and a voice for the people yet the people of Cuba under Castro’s rule do not have basic human rights. They do not have economic, political or individual freedoms. All wealth and means of production are owned by the state and the workers are mindless robots bent toward his will. Dissidents are imprisoned. In Cuba one does not have the ability to get ahead economically, all are equal in their misery and lack of liberty. Trudeau stated that Castro made improvements in healthcare and in education. The education given in Cuba is a primary means of indoctrination! At a young age the Cuban people are being taught what to think and what they should believe. The people are pit against each other in case of thought crimes.
There are literal committees in neighbourhood whose only purpose is to spy on the people and report on those who have opinions that are “dangerous.” They keep files on individuals and know everything about people’s personal life. These committees are called “Committees for the Defense of the Revolution” or CDR and have been known to verbally and physically assault dissident individuals. And with regards to healthcare, all of the healthcare facilities are government-run and yet there is frequent lack of essential medications and poor state of equipment as well as other concerns.
Until just recently, practicing religion was completely prohibited in Cuba and churches had been shut down. Today churches are allowed to exist, but there is no freedom of assembly-at every gathering, police must be present, whether in disguise or as security.
In the sixties, homosexuals, the religious, and political enemies were put into forced labor camps where they were were to work an alternative civilian service to the military.In Cuba, it is illegal to kill a cow or to hunt lobster. There is no freedom of the press and in many cases journalists are repressed, mistreated and jailed. Censorship in Cuba is heavy, while anti-American sentiments are hammered into the people. There is limited internet use for the Cuban people, only a select amount of people who require the use of the internet are given special permits.
People have phones, but their lines are tapped; they are under constant surveilance.
And what about Castro? How did he and his family live? How do his connections get on? While the people starve and are repressed, those in the government get fat on the people’s labors.
Next time someone tries to tell you that Cuba is a free country or that Castro has done good, tell them to go to Cuba with the book Animal Farm in hand and shout ¡Para Abajo Fidel!