We’ll be the first to admit that it’s a bit morbid to revel in the death of another person, even if that person has repressed thousands of people for five decades, nearly started a world war, and kept alive a specter of a dead political institution long after it’s shelf life expired. However, we’ll take our lead from the thousands of Cubans in South Florida and elsewhere who are expressing unbridled joy at the death of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, a revolutionary-turned-dictator. In effect, Castro’s death may not be the end of the repression of the Cuban people on the tropical island, but it may be the catalyst for real change (not the type of whitewashed “let’s just be friends” that the Obama Administration has been pushing for the past year).
Rather than make this post a long biography of a man whose public life stretched across nearly seventy years, it’s appropriate to note that Castro was a repressive, brutal Communist dictator whose actions and alliance with the Soviet Union brought the world closer to nuclear war than it ever had been before. The bastion of America’s ideological opposition sitting spitting-distance off of the coast of Florida, not to mention the fact that they had nuclear weapons, was a constant and consistent thorn in the side of the United States and the free nations of the world.
The most telling argument against the Castro regime, in addition to its many human rights abuses, were the millions of Cubans who fled to the United States by risking, quite literally, life and limb, to make it to American shores. We won’t belabor the point. There will, obviously, be discussions about how Fidel Castro leaves a large legacy on the history of the late-20th century. There is no doubt about this. He was an consistent thorn in the side of the United States from Presidents Eisenhower up through Obama.
The legacy of Castro will, no doubt, be embellished by his admirers and limited by his detractors. The militant leftists will point to his anti-imperialism and desire to stand up to capitalists as a symbol of his solidarity with their movements which permeate our culture today. Those on the hard right will warn that we must seize the opportunity of Castro’s death to bring Cuba in to the 21st century by whatever means necessary (before whatever forces are waiting in the wings to consolidate power). Whatever the future holds, Fidel Castro will not be a part of it. Sic transit glodia mundi.