Fidel Castro, Dead at Last
Fidel Castro is dead, and USA’s official media are are beside themselves with grief over their fallen leader. I hate to point out the obvious, but there is virtually nothing good to say about this thug, except he was lucky enough to take over Cuba during an American power vacuum, first when an exhausted and ailing Eisenhower was losing control and, then, when he easily fought off a challenge from a feeble-minded womanizing President who could not find the will to squelch this pustulent sore 90 miles off our coastline.
Pre-Castro Cuba was no paradise, but there were economic opportunities. People could get actual jobs, producing and selling goods and services people wanted to buy: rum and sugar, cigars, tourist vacations. The system was as corrupt as Chicago, but corruption is a source of opportunity for those willing to take it. The Castro system monopolized wealth and power in the hands of a tiny minority consisting of Fidel and his flunkies. Sure, he gave them free education—or rather Marxist indoctrination—and free healthcare on par with America in the 1950’s. Of course, in a country where many people earn only $2 per day, the major health problems are starvation and malnutrition.
The Castro brothers never tired of proclaiming their love for the Cuban people, whom they never trusted to rear their own children, run their own businesses, or speak their own minds. Here in USA we complain about the abuses at Guantanamo. What is Cuba but a gigantic Guantanamo, where waterboarding is the gentlest treatment imaginable for dissidents?
Yes, USA has a lot to answer for. The embargo on Cuba was not only stupid: It was evil. And yes, with all the money imaginable, the quality of American life has been in decline at least since Castro took power. Yes, we live only to eat, fornicate, and entertain ourselves—and do all of them so badly it is as if we did not know the basic facts of human life. It’s a miserable life here, if all you do is eat fast food and watch Hollywood movies.
On the other hand, we don’t have to do any of those things. We have plenty to eat, roofs over our heads, and, if we choose, we can eat well, marry well, and entertain ourselves like civilized human beings. Cubans may have had better music, but most of them cannot even afford to buy an 8-track tape recording of Perez Prado to play on the old car stereo they jacked decades ago.
As “capitalism” returns to Cuba, it will probably corrupt the Cubans as it has corrupted us, but the career of the Castros—like the careers of Lenin and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot—make the decadence of bourgeois capitalism seem positively enticing.