Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro Merges With the Infinite

Well, 2016, you finally got one I'm not going to shed a tear over.

I'm not going to eulogize Castro, but it would be disingenuous not to note the death of someone who had such a pivotal role in international politics for so many decades.  You guys have Wikipedia, so I'll leave you to look him up on your own.

We seem to inch towards a free Cuba, year by year.  Perhaps with Castro's passing, our neighbors are that much closer to a better tomorrow.


Jake Shore said...

Watching the reactions to Castro's death, I am truly dumbstruck why so much of the political left in America and worldwide romanticize this guy. Canada's PM, Justine Trudeau and British Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn actually praised Castro. Even President Obama couldn't find it in himself to condemn an evil, murderous dictator. These are the leaders of the world's great western democracies. Castro's legacy is tens of thousands of people jumping into the ocean to escape his communist hell.

Cuba has no free speech, no free elections, tolerates no political opposition, jails dissidents, journalists and gays. Even his much praised opposition to Apartheid in which he sent troops to Angola, was done in part, to rid his island of black Cubans. There is overwhelming evidence, documentation, even photos of his executions and other persecutions, and yet so many in Hollywood have swooned over the man, from Oliver Stone to Sean Penn to Steven Spielberg, who declared his meeting with Castro "was the eight most important hours of my life." The man is an anathema to everything one would presume they value, but if there is free healthcare and education, they apparently happy to excuse the other unpleasantness. But as Garry Kasparov recently said, "Many prisons have good health care and education, but they are still prisons."

This has been a peculiar phenomenon of the left over the last few decades, particularly toward socialist/communist regimes, but now, some on the right are jumping on the bandwagon, because why? Because their Comandante,Trump, says so:

Good job, America. In fairness, though, no one has actually proved Putin murdered a journalist who critical of him, with a radioactive isotope. Or poisoned the President of Ukraine with Dioxin.

The League said...

Blogger Ryan Steans said...
I have the convenience of not being a national leader at the time of death of a former national leader. No doubt some of our recent former presidents would have handled the death of Castro differently. My assumption is that things are now unfreezing with Cuba and the time of death is likely an ill-advised point at which to go back on the offensive, especially if Cuba is on the tipping point. History will take care of Castro's legacy, and in the meantime, the rest of the Western Hemisphere has to pretend a beloved grandpa just died if they want to keep this ball in motion.

The only real analogy I can draw from personal experience is: I know what it's like to be at the retirement party for someone you're absolutely not going to miss and can't wait to see them go. You can say nice things in the moment and then go back behind closed doors and breathe a sigh of relief that they're now gone. No matter what, I still have to work with that person's team, and I have to assume they liked that person, so I'd best just not make things awkward when I come asking them for favors later.

It will be fascinating to see how Cuba engages with the rest of the world in the coming years and if we're allowed to point out Castro's failings in the next couple of years or not. I can't account for the folks who met Castro and reveled in the experience. One assumes he's smart and charming or he wouldn't have held on so long. It's odd.

And I am similarly baffled by admiration of Putin, but if this year has taught me anything - a whole lotta people really like the idea of a take-no-prisoners strongman, and can bend their morals quite a bit if it feels like that puts them on the winning side.