The world is a better place following the death Friday night of the world’s longest tenured tyrant. Cuba’s Fidel Castro left this Earth at age 90, his brother Raul announced on state-run television.
Castro ruled the island nation just 90 miles off Florida for almost five decades before turning over the reins of persecution to Raul in 2008.
It is fashionable in many quarters to romanticize the Marxist revolutionary, but that willfully ignores his systemic repression of the Cuban people. The Castro government, one of the world’s last communist holdouts, denied its citizens basic freedoms and persecuted dissenters. Havana henchmen blocked and limited access to the internet and censored online criticism of the state.
Amnesty International’s most recent report on the country highlighted many instances of “government critics, including journalists and human-rights activists, being routinely subjected to arbitrary arrests and short-term detention for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement.” In addition, the group reported, “laws covering ‘public disorder,’ ‘contempt,’ ‘disrespect,’ ‘dangerousness’ and ‘aggression’ were used in politically motivated prosecutions … against government opponents.”
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas director, told The Economic Times over the weekend that, “The state of freedom of expression in Cuba, where activists continue to face arrest and harassment for speaking out against the government, is Fidel Castro’s darkest legacy.”
Others might argue the despot’s “darkest legacy” is the 5,600 Cubans he had lined up and shot, according to Cuba Archive, which documents atrocities in the prison state. The group also credits Castro with another 1,200 “extrajudicial assassinations,” reported the Wall Street Journal’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady in a 2005 column.
Many of those who had the means to get off the island did precisely that. The socialist “paradise” saw massive flight, an embarrassment to the fools who insisted against all evidence that the Cuban experience was a noble undertaking designed to empower the masses. Witness the jubilation in Miami in the wake of Castro’s demise.
President Barack Obama, who recently liberalized U.S. relations with Cuba, issued an embarrassingly soft statement in response to Castro’s death, saying that history “will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”
Indeed it will. And as such, Fidel Castro will take his place among other discredited leftist ideologues — Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and others — who used the siren song of socialism as an excuse to terrorize, repress and kill.