“Castro is Dead.”
Ty J. Young Editorial
Fidel Castro’s death is a reminder of the chilling and horrifying nature of socialism and dictatorships, more specifically, his ruinous rule over the island nation of Cuba. His authoritarian rule over Cuba was opposed by the United States because he was a communist dictator, and a client state of our Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union.
Castro survived 11 U.S. Presidents, multiple failed assassination attempts by the CIA and the botched Bay of Pigs invasion. Once the Cuban Missile Crisis reached its end, President Kennedy committed to not invading Cuba as a promise to the Soviets. The result was over 6 decades of misery for the Cuban people, hundreds of thousands fleeing by boat as refugees to South Florida, and for the Cuban nation to remain a backward bastion of the failures of socialism. We should learn from this, not celebrate it.
Castro was a bad guy, one of the worst of the 20th Century communist tyrants. While the good Cuban people are to be loved and sympathized with (What other population could keep ‘57 Chevy’s running with no spare parts?), there should be no sentiment for the death of such a brutal tyrant who committed decades of atrocities against his own people. The fact President Obama, and others on the left, have done so is a travesty of American leadership.
I. Castro was a Horrible Tyrant.
1. He committed atrocities against his own people. He tortured and killed political opponents, stole private property, executed over 50,000 political prisoners, jailed dissidents, and suppressed speech. The idea that there is some moral confusion by some elected leaders—starting with President Obama—regarding the horrid nature of the Castro regime is almost as galling as Castro himself. His imposition of socialist economics has resulted in decades of starvation, economic collapse, and widespread deprivation. No other country in the world has such a large collection of antique cars—it is as if time stopped when he came to power in 1959. The cars, buildings, and everything outside of a tourist hotel is literally from a by-gone era.
2. He committed acts of terror and supported socialist revolution. With money and training Castro supported terrorist groups, such as the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army in the U.S., and South West Africa People’s organization (SWAPO) in southern Africa. He helped fund multiple Middle East terror groups while pursuing an anti-American strategy, and helped found World Mathaba, an Arab terror group in the 1970s. He most famously funded the “Macheteros,” a Puerto Rican terror cell responsible for numerous murders and bank robberies in the United States. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) in Colombia, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) in Spain, and even for many years the Irish Republican Army (IRA) … there wasn’t a terror cell on the planet that could not find aid, comfort and support from the Castro regime. His support for revolution in Latin America was largely resisted, and defeated, by U.S. counter forces in Chile, Guatemala, and El Salvador throughout the 1960’s and ‘70’s. The Reagan Administration continued this fight by supporting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and invading and overthrowing the Castro-supported government on the island of Grenada. Sadly, those efforts have been reversed, starting with Venezuela becoming a Cuban client state in 1999 with the rise to power of Hugo Chavez, and the Sandinista return to power in Nicaragua in 2006. Venezuela—sadly for the people, but comically appropriate for the left-wing actors in America—is amid tribal collapse as people fight and murder amongst themselves daily for no food, no jobs, no electricity… and no hope. Socialism 101: the collapse of your civilization.
3. He was an enemy of America. While far left activists such as Sean Penn lionize evil, brutal men such as Castro—and our own President, along with other leftist leaders—cannot bring themselves to denounce, and in some cases, even romanticize, this criminal tyrant. There is the fundamental reason he should not be respected; he was an enemy of America. By constantly harassing our base on Guantanamo, joining the global communist crusade with the Soviets, imploring Nikita Khrushchev to launch a first strike against the United States, and actively fighting against American interests in Latin America and southern Africa … Castro was a direct threat, a “clear and present danger,” to the United States. It was simply the luck of history that we allowed him to remain in power. Cuba also still currently harbors convicted cop-killer Joanne Byron, aka Assata Shakur. Obama nicely forgot to require her extradition in exchange for his outreach to the Castro brothers last year.
II. Why We Should Exercise Caution in Dealing with Cuba.
1. Obama has already compromised America’s interests. President Obama’s outreach to Cuba represented his standard statecraft of the last 8 years: (A) find the most loathsome enemy and/or leftist enemy of America and say it is time to be friends; (B) require nothing in return for our money, resources and support; (C) not get political prisoners out of jail, or require some human rights improvements before going all in; (D) do not require some democratic and/or market reform as part of the engagement; and, (E) ignore existing U.S. citizen and refugee political groups and their interests that oppose his. Since Obama’s “deal” with Cuba, more political dissidents have been arrested, none have been released, and the economy has contracted further. If you had a textbook definition of hurting all parties including American interests, Obama’s strategy would be that very definition. His “muddling” of the relationship combined with Castro’s death leaves a great deal of “unknown” as to what will happen next in Cuba. The incoming Trump administration should proceed with caution.
2. Raul Castro is still in power. Whoa Nellie … slow down there. Analysts are split on what may happen next, but Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, remains in power. He is a Communist Party apparatchik, and he and his brother’s fortune and position comes from their dictatorial communist rule. Even more so, the military draws its power from communist control. Castro came to power because of a socialist revolutionary movement that was global and part of the Cold War. Communism collapsed because totalitarian rule with socialist economics means death, destruction and misery. There is no such global movement that is currently undergirding a revolutionary change. Unless it comes from the bottom up—from the people—it is unlikely things will change overnight in Cuba. America should proceed with caution.
3. Trump team needs to develop a strategic plan FIRST. First, dealing with Cuba requires a hemispheric strategy on trade and bi-lateral relations. What we do know from Trump is that all strategic policy will be designed from a position of American interests first. Given the debacle of the Obama years as it pertains to foreign policy, it may be best to have a wait and see approach, and develop a strategy for the region over time.
It may have seemed trendy for 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick to recently wear a Castro T-shirt and verbalize his support for the dictator. But for Cuban-Americans, it was downright disgusting. No greater degree of embarrassment can be described than to see President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Pierre James Trudeau, and other so-called leftist elites speak highly of such an evil, tyrannical despot, who is responsible for the death and suffering of millions throughout the world. The reason for many of America’s troubles is that people can see highly educated leaders in our country who have no common sense about the real world. The inability of our leaders to distinguish between the moral and immoral, to not recognize a truly evil man, represents exactly what commentator Mark Steyn described: “The election of Trump was the regular working folk striking back. They realize that their leaders were truly stupid people making terribly stupid decisions in an effort to enrich and empower their stupid, elite club at the expense of the people who make and build everything.”
Castro has been romanticized by the left. So was his sidekick, Che Guevara, who helped him overthrow the Cuban government in 1959. Guevara met his end in Bolivia when the CIA caught and executed him in 1965. Castro evaded those same CIA attempts to assassinate him … sadly, for the Cuban people. Now that he is gone, it is unknown how much will change. But we should not mourn his death. As you can see in the streets of Miami, it is a justifiable cause for celebration.
As Trump comes to D.C., and leftist leaders such as Castro fall by the wayside, now could be a time for renewed American leadership that properly identifies good and evil. The eight year era of coddling our enemies, and turning on our friends, is hopefully over. A powerful reminder of this are the words of Swedish author Johan Norberg, who remarked:
“When I die, I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like Fidel Castro, not screaming in terror, like his victims.”
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