Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Good News

The world is a little bit better place today.  Fidel Castro is dead.
(Prisoner executed by Castro)

After almost 58 years of rule by Fidel, his brother, and their accomplices, a once-thriving country has been demolished.  As PBS summed it up:
On the eve of Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, Cuba was neither the paradise that would later be conjured by the nostalgic imaginations of Cuba’s many exiles, nor the hellhole painted by many supporters of the revolution, who recall Cuba as “the brothel of the Western hemisphere” — an island inhabited by a people degraded and hungry, whose main occupation was to cater to American tourists at Havana’s luxurious hotels, beaches and casinos. Rather, Cuba was one of the most advanced and successful countries in Latin America.
Cuba’s capital, Havana, was a glittering and dynamic city. In the early part of the century the country’s economy, fueled by the sale of sugar to the United States, had grown dynamically. Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, first in the number of television sets per inhabitant. The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America. Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita. Many private clinics and hospitals provided services for the poor. Cuba’s income distribution compared favorably with that of other Latin American societies. A thriving middle class held the promise of prosperity and social mobility. 
Or, as Michael Totten put it more succinctly: 
Cuba isn't a developing country; it's a once-developed country destroyed by its own government.
The extent of the adulation afforded Fidel (and we will, no doubt, see some nauseating examples in reaction to his death*), and to his gay and black-hating, Stalinist thug lieutenant, Che Guevara, is disgusting for anyone who values human rights and liberty. We can only hope that his death hastens the day when the entire regime will be swept away, though unfortunately the Obama administration's recent opening has only triggered another wave of repression against Castro opponents.
Rather than spend any more time on Castro, let's remember the millions exiled from Cuba, the tens of thousands who perished in the Florida Straits over the decades, attempting to escape a regime that regarded them as human chattel, and the uncounted thousands executed and imprisoned by the dictator.  Here is one of those dissidents who survived two decades in Castro's prisons - Armando Valladares:
The next morning, they welded the doors shut. Lieutenant Cruz, head of the Political Police, told us Castro had personally ordered it done. We were told we’d stay in those cells not for months, but for years. 
You can find more THC posts on Cuba here.


Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, takes the early lead in the most morally repulsive statement.  You can read the whole thing here, but look at this excerpt:
“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”.
Meanwhile, kudos to Democratic House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi:
“The death of Fidel Castro marks the end of an era for Cuba and the Cuban people.  After decades under Fidel’s doctrine of oppression and antagonism, there is hope that a new path for Cuba is opening. . . Generations of Cuban political prisoners, democracy activists and families suffered under Fidel Castro’s rule.”

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