It has been almost two weeks since the monstrous life of Fidel Castro came to an end. I am usually not one to revel in the death of anyone, even political enemies, but on this occasion I admit my enthusiasm.
Naively, I assumed that the western world would join me in my glee. I soon found myself flat-footed when, before the murderous dictator’s corpse had finished rigor mortis, I began to see pundits and journalists openly, or tacitly, grieving his death. The most notable of these lamentations was from Justin Trudeau, prime minister to Canada, who wholly mortified himself and his country through an implacable force of ignorance and moral blindness. He extolled Castro as a “legendary, revolutionary and orator” and went on to claim (wrongly) that, “Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island.”
These obsequious comments would have been offensive enough to the thousands of refugees who still mourn the deaths of their slaughtered families and countrymen, but President Obama’s statement was only somewhat less horrifying. In his mealy-mouthed statement, the President managed to say absolutely nothing of consequence one way or the other about a despot who reigned with an iron fist over an entire island. It should not be controversial for the most powerful man on the face of the earth to denounce a tyrant. The President even has the temerity to send a top national security advisor, Ben Rhodes (a higher ranking member of the Obama administration than the one who attended the funeral of Margaret Thatcher), to Castro’s funeral.
Trudeau sang “Hosanna in the highest” in his statement on Castro. He was not alone. Many were quick to point to the “increased literacy rates” and “improved health care.” Not only is this a “but Mussolini made the trains run on time” argument, but it is patently false. It is so false that it only takes a few minutes of honest research to realize it is false. The Cuban health care system, as Michael Moore did his absolute best to obfuscate in his documentary, “Sicko,” is abysmal. The elites of the communist party are treated wonderfully while the populous at large are left to cope with a hospital system that often found itself with a dearth of aspirin. The citizenry was forced to bring their own towels and bedding to the hospital. In this single-payer system, they had nowhere else to go. Footage that was smuggled out of Havana shows decrepit building structures, dirty floors and roach-infested beds.
However, even if it were true that Cuba is a bastion of health services, the question must be asked: how high must the stack of corpses get before a despot is denounced? Castro was, as Politico called him, “a true revolutionary.” In a sense, this is true. He was a revolutionary in the French Robespierre tradition, not the American classical liberal tradition of negative liberty and rule of law. The man who world leaders — including the President of the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker — praised was responsible for the murder and summary execution of thousands. The only thing separating Castro and Joseph Stalin was scale. Castro was responsible for a higher percentage of the deaths of his own citizens than Stalin. What must a man do to be denounced (yes, yes Adolf Hitler was a bad guy and all but he did build the autobahn…)? It is obvious that, to many, the ends justify the means. The communist utopia must be worth a few thousand lives. This is a dangerous and disgusting attitude.
What leaves me the most downtrodden is the fact that the requiem held by many in the west leads to almost no social censure from most people. This has been a problem in the west for many years. It was common at the Occupy Wall Street movement to find people wearing the hammer and sickle of the USSR, a government that starved, tortured, mutilated and killed millions of people over the course of its 70-year existence. The worst part is, no one bats an eye. College students all over the United States and Europe proudly bear the face of Che Guevara, a man who once said, “Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail. When in doubt, execute,” on their T-shirts and memorabilia. Yet, if someone were to walk around with a swastika proudly plastered to their backpack, I have no doubt most people would be outraged. It might even be featured on the local news. Why the double standard? Guevara, Castro and the Soviet Union attempted to usher in the Marxist-Leninist utopia and felt no compunction in slaughtering millions of men, women and children in service of the cause. Hitler presided over the murder of millions upon millions of innocent people in service of Aryan Nationalism and National Socialism. The haunting question remains: What’s the difference?