You know that saying “You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead”?
Three months after his 90th birthday, the man that many call “Mr Castro”, and I call a “murderous communist c***”, is finally dead.
Give him that – he certainly lived longer than the 73,000 people estimated to have been murdered by his regime. Politically, has has outlasted Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr., and almost Obama. He has also survived countless assassination attempts (some say over 600), an attempted invasion (albeit a pissweak one), the Missile Crisis and all the other flashpoints of the Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the turning off of the Moscow money tap. Perhaps in the end he simply couldn’t deal with 2016. Donald Trump hasn’t been sworn in yet but he has already made America (in the broader sense) greater again. It is certainly somewhat ironic that Fidel croaked it on the day of the greatest capitalist excess in the United States, the Black Friday. It is definitely poignant that it is also the the Holodomor Remembrance Day, when we remember one of the greatest crimes of Castro’s guiding political philosophy, the forced famine that killed several million Ukrainians in the early 1930s.
Like one of those elderly Japanese soldiers who were still coming out of the Asia-Pacific jungles well into the 1970s, Fidel made in nearly three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today Cuba, together with North Korea, remain the only two living museums of what communism does to a society. Venezuela, God bless her, is trying very hard to join in, but is not quite there yet; so far the Chavistas have been more successful at pauperising the country than turning it into one big prison. Perhaps they need a bit more time.
So. Ninety years, eh? Forty-nine of which – more than half of his life – as Cuba’s leader. Sure, the guy he unseated was corrupt and unsavoury, and sure, every time some misty-eyed leftist opens their mouth about Cuba (and Fidel has managed to bamboozle generations of them) we hear all about the free education and the number of doctors (prompting John Derbyshire some years ago to note that “Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy”). On the other hand, while the rest of the world has been getting ahead, Castro has kept his country stuck back decades ago, somewhere at the start of the “Mad Men” era (but without all the good things), so that all the “poverty porn” tourists from around the world can still enjoy the dilapidated beauty of the 1950s’ Havana – today.
There is no democracy and 11 million of his countrymen and women enjoy hardly any rights as we would understand them. He and his successors persecuted and imprisoned not only political dissidents and human rights activists but also artists, religious figures and homosexuals, proving once again that any crime can be forgiven by the Western left as long as you’re anti-American enough. Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of Cubans have risked their lives over the years to escape the tropical workers’ paradise. They are celebrating in Miami today.
The long-suffering people of Cuba deserve freedom, and they deserve to lead normal, decent lives, free from fear, and full of opportunities others around the world enjoy, as opposed to being mere statistics the history of a failed theory of a 19th century German journalist bum. The world that Castro dreamed of is no more; soon, let’s hope, his own communist fantasy fiefdom will rot and disintegrate. Rest in hell.