Fidel Castro was a murderous tyrant and should be nobody’s icon

Fidel Castro was an icon of the Left. Today numerous Left wing politicians and commentators will talk about the “good that he did” before they acknowledge the down side. They are blinkered; nothing excuses his tyranny and record of human rights abuses

The death of Fidel Castro has immediately exposed the inherent hypocrisies and moral confusion the Leftist ideologues who made him an icon when he should be universally reviled.  Yes, he was a tyrant and a murderer who oppressed his people, but think of the healthcare! Did you not see that Michael Moore film!? Okay, he was an abuser of human rights and Cuba is a profoundly unfree country, but at least he’s a socialist!

The absurd moral leaps are cringeworthy.

There is an admirable tradition on the Left of supporting human rights; but why is there a significant contingent of the Left that have so many blind spots? Nobody who believes in free speech, a free press, an independent judiciary and the right to a fair trial should be an admirer of Castro or the society he ruled over. No amount of half decent healthcare can make up for the murders, the arbitrary arrests, routine detention without trial, treating his citizens like prisoners and oppressing freedom of speech. Nothing.

The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented more than 8,600 politically motivated detentions of government opponents and activists during the year.

– Amnesty International

To many of the Left he was a champion of the poor and an icon of liberation. The fact that he defied the United States, the target of so much of their ire, made him a hero to many. Castro is no hero. He built a brutal Communist dictatorship and crushed dissent. He was totally intolerant of anyone who thought differently and was brave enough to speak their mind. One only has to see and hear the celebrations of Cuban exiles in Miami’s “Little Havana” to understand the legacy of the evil old autocrat who destroyed Cuba’s chance of freedom and democracy and suppressed freedom and utterly decimated the economy.

They shouted “Cuba Libre! (Cuba is free) and “el viejo murió” (the old man is dead), while others chanted: “Fidel! Tirano! Llevate tu hermano!” (Fidel! Tyrant Take your brother with you!)

It’s childish and morally wrong to think well of Castro because he was a revolutionary, it can be forgiven in an ignorant teenager instinctively pulling to the extremes in politics seeking for moral certainties in ideology and finding only confusion. Eventually however, we all should grow up and wake up.

Castro installed a one-party system of government and proceeded to murder or imprison his political enemies. Independent newspapers were closed down, priests, homosexuals, dissenters and anyone else perceived to be a threat to his power and dogma were rounded up like animals and imprisoned in concentration camps for hard labour and re-education.

Communist Cuba had a culture of repression, censorship and fear. Freedom of expression, religion, assembly, movement, press and association were shut down.

The justification for this can be summed in one Castro quote:

“Revolutionary justice is not based on legal precepts, but on moral conviction”.

That says it all about the danger of political dogma and revolutionary zeal. That says it all about Castro; he was evil megalomaniac.

There is no debate over his legacy. It is settled. To understand his legacy, read the following from Human Rights Watch:

The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. While in recent years it has relied less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and other critics have increased dramatically.

Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

No one should mourn him. Those on the Left who today make excuses for him for him or tell us to focus on his good side should hang their heads in shame.


Ben is the Conservatives for Liberty Director of Online Communications.  Follow him on Twitter: @TheScepticIsle

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The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty