The Death of Castro…..
“A revolution is not a bed of roses” a line taken from one of many Castro passages during a long and remarkable life. His passing marks the end of an era in twentieth century revolutionary figures, a man, like Che, who served under him, blessed with a legacy doused in romantic sentiment by those who should have known better.
To champion Castro simply as someone who dodged a multitude of assassination attempts, stood up to the US and created an enviable health service is not good enough. Yes, the literacy rate of the people is remarkable but at what price? Those who berate the incoming American president and his allies as racist homophobes ignore Castro’s persecution of liberals, Christians and homosexuals with eye watering convenience to their own cause, hammering yet another nail in the coffin of objectivity in 2016.
Like all successful revolutions, Castro replaced a dictatorship with his own brand of state control, he was given unprecedented attention by both East and West due to the island’s geographical location, to assume otherwise one must review Guevara’s disaster in Bolivia for an insight into how funding works for the few and the well positioned. There can be no denying the impact the US embargoes had on the country but to blame the neighbour’s for the poverty of the Cuban people is to ignore Castro’s idiotic Sino-Soviet inspired schemes which brought years of rationing and a peasant life for many. The demise of the Soviet Union and subsequent cessation of subsidies brought about a collapse in the economy with the exodus to Miami increasing along with those dissidents banished for expressing an opposing political view. To this day those Cubans living and working on the land do so with machinery and methods dating back decades.
In death he has split public opinion as broadly as he did during his active political life. Those on the left who see him as a revolutionary great ignore the cries of those who suffered the punishment beatings, false imprisonment, torture and execution yet chastise their equivalent on the right. He was undoubtedly a huge figure in twentieth century politics but some context should be applied. Few, if any, leaders have or ever could be, truly ‘great’ but surely a prerequisite for any such adulation must be those who govern within the framework of democracy, freedom of speech and basic human rights. Castro denied his people these fundamentals for decades and that should not be erased to ease the conscience of a few unread idealists unwilling to accept the reality of the communist ideology.