26 November 2016

He's Dead

I ate corn flakes with sugar tonight. I did it to remember my abuelitos (grandparents). I don't think that they ever ate corn flakes with sugar, but whenever I was at their house, that was my standard breakfast. And because their home was the only place I ever ate it, it seemed fitting to do it tonight. I wonder how they would have felt today.

This blog exists because I love the Spanish language and culture. I love Spanish because it is part of my heritage, as the son of a Cuban exile. I started an email list to share Spanish phrases with friends in 2002. It has been a long time since I have done a Spanish phrase, but the cause of liberty for Cuba has never been far from my heart.

I woke up early this morning and noticed the headline that Castro had died. I tweeted the following:

I have been thinking about Castro a lot today. I think that this Miami Herald obituary does an excellent job of exploring Castro's life without pretending that he was a good person.

He was not.

Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made one of the worst comments on Castro's death that I have read:
It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.
To say that Castro "served his people" as "Cuba's longest serving president" is a mind-numbingly stupid comment. As the Herald explained (emphasis added):
Millions cheered Fidel Castro on the day he entered Havana. Millions more fled the communist dictator’s repressive police state, leaving behind their possessions, their families, the island they loved and often their very lives. It’s part of the paradox of Castro that many people belonged to both groups.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117186483.html#storylink=cpy
He was not an elected leader but:
He also was a ruthless dictator, the Maximum Leader who reneged on his promise of free elections, executed thousands of opponents, imprisoned tens of thousands, installed a Communist regime and made his island a pawn in the Cold War. His alliance with the Soviet Union brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117186483.html#storylink=cpy
Castro did not have "dedication and love for the Cuban people," unless they adhered to:
"...an undemocratic government that represses nearly all forms of political dissent,” the independent group Human Rights Watch observed in 2008. “Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, movement, and due process of law.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/fidel-castro-en/article117186483.html#storylink=cpy
I'll conclude with some thoughts from the Wall Street Journal:
Castro’s Cuba exists today as a reminder of the worst of the 20th-century when dictators invoked socialist ideals to hammer human beings into nails for the state. Too many Western fellow-travelers indulged its fantasies as long as they didn’t have to live there. Perhaps the influence of Cuba’s exiles will be able, over time, to reseed the message of liberty on the island. But freedom starts by seeing clearly the human suffering that Fidel Castro wrought.

3 comments:

Joseph Lowry said...

Excellent Joe!

Gladys Waters said...

Love! Thank you for writing Joe!!❤️

Ami McClay said...

It was one of those moments when you hear he has finally died that you let out the breath you didn't realize you were holding. im happy for the country, the refugees and most of all my family to be rid of that man.