November 28, 2016
At 1AM on Saturday November 26 Cuban dictator Raul Castro announced the death of his brother Fidel on Cuban television. Within 30 minutes the streets of “Little Havana” in Miami were filled with dancing, celebrating Cuban-Americans. And five hours later an artist who apparently works quickly had painted and displayed a sign with graphics of satan and flames, along with text in both English and Spanish that read, “SATAN: Fidel is now yours. Give him what he deserves. Don’t let him rest in peace.”
Another handmade sign read, “Che. Fidel. Raul. Falta Uno!” Che, of course, is a reference to the murderous, racist Communist “revolutionary” Che Guevara. Fidel and Raul Castro were his friends. “Falta uno”, roughly translated, means only one of these dirt bags is left.
Strong feelings can be seen among Cuban expats and their children. Many of these had been waiting for many years for Fidel’s death. It might seem unseemly to celebrate the death of anyone, however terrible they had been in life. But so many of these people had fled Cuba to escape oppression. The penalty for disagreeing with Castro was death or imprisonment and torture in one of the hellholes reserved for the political opponents of Fidel.
When I asked my wife Ana, who was born in Havana, about this anger that has survived for decades, she said, “He took a peaceful and prosperous country and ruined it.” She went on to share her family’s story. They left Cuba because she was almost at the age where she would have been forced to “volunteer” to do hard labor in the fields. She would have been housed in a barracks where the children were abused and often raped by their “teachers”. In fact, one of our friends, Marena, broke her own arm with a hammer to avoid being sent to these camps. Another reason Ana’s family left when they did was that in another few years her brother would have been forced to “volunteer” for the army.
But, like most of the millions of Cubans who came to the U.S., they always planned to return. Cuba was their home. Ana’s father, Guillermo Ramos, had a prosperous business prior to Castro’s “revolution”. He was well-connected with both local government officials and businessmen. But when he came here, he was not allowed to bring anything of value. He had to start over, doing manual labor for others until he could start his business. And as much as he appreciated America for allowing his family to come here, Cuba was still his home. Until the day he died, he dreamed of the day when he could return.
So it’s natural that Cubans should celebrate the passing of this monster. They are not celebrating his death as much as they are celebrating the end of his dictatorship, and the hope that Cuba can be Cuba again. (See my article, “When Cuba Was Cuba.). Unfortunately, though Fidel Castro is dead, the dictatorship endures through his equally evil brother, Raul.
The Liberal media is falling all over itself praising Fidel as a “great revolutionary”, as are Obama, Jimmy Carter and the Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. They say that even though the Cuban Americans hate him, the people of Cuba love him for all the good he did – after he murdered hundreds of thousands of Cubans. Let’s look at how much Cubans trapped on the island love the dictatorship.
20% of Cuban citizens have fled Cuba since Castro took over. Today, even though conditions are somewhat better, there is still no freedom. So thousands of people risk their lives every year to sneak out of the prison nation on small boats, inner tubes, or makeshift rafts. Estimates are that more than half die while escaping. Cuba is like North Korea or the old East Germany. No one tries to sneak into these prison nations, but thousands have died fleeing them. In 1996 Cuban jets shot down two unarmed private planes from the group “Brothers to the Rescue”, killing their pilots. They were flying off the coast of Cuba trying to help rafters in international waters escape Cuba.
Fidel Castro bragged that there had been over 600 assassination attempts against him. I’m sure he inflated that number to show how brave and tough he was. But if even 200 of his countrymen tried to kill him, it says a lot about the hatred and contempt Cubans had for the murderous dictator. He had more political prisoners incarcerated than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. During his reign he had over 73,000 dissidents out of a nation of 11 million rounded up and killed. That would be the equivalent of the U.S. murdering 2 million of its own citizens.
The US Liberal press makes much of the wonderful free education, health care and the great sports teams of Cuba. The last is true. They have great baseball teams. But the educational system is an indoctrination system. Out of the few books are allowed, none say anything negative about Castro and his “Great Revolution.” Ana and others who have experienced the schools and the medical facilities tell horror stories. If you enter a Cuban hospital today, your family has to bring sheets, blankets, food, and even your own medicine.
At one point after Castro took power both the schools and the hospitals were in good shape, because of the prosperity Cuba experienced under Batista. Batista was a benevolent dictator who took care of the people. Castro was a malevolent dictator, who lied to the people about being a Communist until after he stole power. Today, after almost six decades of the Castro brothers running things, everything is falling apart, including the schools and hospitals.
One of the saddest facts is that the economy of pre-Castro Cuba was larger and stronger than the economies of Spain, Italy and Portugal. Today almost all Cubans still live in poverty. And the two million Cubans living in Miami have created an economy greater than the entire economy of the 11 million Cubans living under Castro’s oppression.
The Liberals praise Castro for being a great revolutionary “hero” who “liberated” Cuba. The fact is that Che, Fidel and Raul were involved in some minor skirmishes. But they never fought a battle. Castro did a great job of lying to the people about all the wonderful free stuff he would give them. Batista knew he had lost the people, so he fled the Island. Castro’s “army” marched down from the mountains and faced virtually no opposition. It wasn’t very long before the people were wishing they had Batista back.
With all the indisputable facts about the horrors Che Guevara and the Castro brothers visited upon Cuban citizens and the Cuban church, businesses and economy, one would think that U.S. leaders would take this opportunity to address the truth about Fidel, and give the Cuban people hope that America will help bring Cuba into its own in terms of freedom and prosperity. But I guess that’s too much to expect from Democrats.
You may remember that after he was defeated by Ronald Reagan in his bid for a second term, Carter stopped hiding his Socialist tendencies. He went to Cuba, put his arm around Fidel, and praised him as a great leader and hero. After hearing of Castro’s death, this was his message: “Rosalynn and I share our sympathies with the Castro family and the Cuban people on the death of Fidel Castro. We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country. We wish the Cuban citizens peace and prosperity in the years ahead.” I’ve got news for Mr. Peanut: Most Cubans don’t want your sympathy. They’re as happy as the Cubans in Miami. They just can’t dance in the streets because they would be shot.
Our fearless leader Obama delivered this mealy-mouthed statement: “At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans - in Cuba and in the United States - with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.” History will judge him? The facts have already judged him. But Obama just cannot bring himself to say anything negative about his fellow Socialist.
Senator Marco Rubio, a second-generation Cuban-American, was incensed: “President Obama issued a pathetic statement on the death of Dictator Fidel Castro with no mention of thousands he killed & imprisoned.” Actually, it was hundreds of thousands, Senator Rubio. But we take your point. Obama is indeed pathetic. He stated that the US should not send an official representative from the State Department, because Castro also murdered many American citizens. I disagree. I think we should send a janitor or perhaps someone from the State Department’s data entry department.
Rubio continued: “Fidel Castro seized power promising to bring freedom and prosperity to Cuba, but his communist regime turned it into an impoverished island prison. Over six decades, millions of Cubans were forced to flee their own country, and those accused of opposing the regime were routinely jailed and even killed.
“Sadly, Fidel Castro’s death does not mean freedom for the Cuban people or justice for the democratic activists, religious leaders, and political opponents he and his brother have jailed and persecuted. The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not. And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people.”
Of course, Trump’s statement was – well, classic Trump: His first Tweet was short and to the point: “Fidel Castro is dead!” A couple of hours later he Tweeted, “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.
"Fidel Castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
"Though the tragedies, deaths, and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban-Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba."
His last paragraph is interesting. Cuban-Americans did indeed vote for Trump in huge numbers. “But Hillary said she had all the Hispanic/Latino voters.” I wish people would take the time to understand that the Spanish-speaking community is not monolithic. While most Mexicans do indeed feel obligated to vote Democrat because of all the “stuff” the Dems promise, most Cuban-Americans vote Republican. So it was no surprise to me to see the dancing, cheering Cubans waving both American and Cuban flags – but also holding up hundreds of “Trump-Pence” campaign signs.
My wife Ana lived in Miami during the time the Mariel boatlift brought 125,000 Cubans to Florida. Private U.S. citizens sailed almost two thousand boats to the harbor at Mariel. Many had made arrangements with Cuba to pick up specific family members. But often the soldiers would order them to take other people or be shot.
You see, Castro had decided to empty his prisons of murderers and rapists, and his mental institutions of violent patients. There were good, honest Cubans seeking asylum on the boats, but up to 75% were Castro’s “deplorables”.
Dwayne Peterson, deputy district director for the U.S. immigration service, stated, “The first couple of days, they were basically good, solid citizens who were coming here to be with relatives. Toward the end of April, we started seeing people right out of prison and a lot of mental patients. We saw fewer and fewer relatives until, at the end, about 75 percent of the people were chosen by Castro.”
Castro had promised to release his political prisoners, but not one political prisoner was on the boats. Castro must have been afraid to release them because then the world would know about the atrocities he committed in the political prisons. Prisoners were routinely tortured – not to get information, but for the amusement of the sadistic guards. Many had hands and other body parts chopped off with machetes.
Ana volunteered to help process the people brought from Mariel in 1980 by what became known as the Freedom Flotilla. Since she is fluent in Spanish, she helped them fill out their applications and answered their questions. One was a grandmother who admitted to being a saboteur in the Cuban underground. There were many who tried to disrupt Castro’s regime, but if they were caught their punishment was hours of torture followed by a firing squad.
But most dissidents confined their activities to escaping the brutal regime. A friend of mine, Pedro, was born in Havana like my wife. He told me about his cousin and some friends who built a good-sized raft inside a garage. It was too heavy to get down to the water, so they went in the middle of the night to the house of a friend who had a truck.
He answered the door in a blood-stained apron. It turned out that he had been slaughtering a cow inside his house in secret because it was illegal for citizens to have meat. He agreed to help in return for being allowed to go with them. Fortunately, they were one of the less than 50% of boats and rafts to make it to the U.S. The rest were machine-gunned by Cuban boats and jets, or perished in rough seas.
As we close we should discover a little about the three villains that Cubans wish were all dead: Che Guevara, Fidel Castro and Raul Castro.
Che was an Argentine Marxist who met Fidel and Raul in Mexico. After the unopposed “revolution” he served in a number of high government posts. He personally ordered the executions of tens of thousands of Cubans who would not swear loyalty to the new regime. He was a major player in the negotiations that brought Russian nuclear missiles to Cuba and almost started World War III. He exported Cuba’s Communist doctrine to numerous South American nations. He was caught in Bolivia while trying to overthrow its government. Although he begged for his life, the Bolivians executed him the next day.
We have spoken much about Fidel. But one noteworthy story is that if the Cuban Missile Crisis. Russia was smart enough not to give him the launch codes. When American spy planes discovered the missiles pointed at the U.S., we blockaded the nation and JFK had a little heart-to-heart chat with Nikita Khrushchev, the Russian leader. While Fidel was begging Khrushchev to “Fire the missiles!” the Russian backed down to avoid having his country annihilated. He reportedly told Kennedy that Fidel was “crazy.”
Raul Castro, the current dictator is also called “Presidente” like his brother before him. But the only one who elected Raul was Fidel. Raul is seen by many as less radical than Fidel, but the plight of Cuban citizens has changed little since he took over. He has announced that he will step down in 2018, but don’t hold your breath waiting for an election. The election has already been held in Raul’s head, and he has named his vice-president as the next dictator of Cuba. Occasionally the Castro’s have held “elections” but since the only people allowed on the ballots are the Castro’s and their stooges, only the Communists consider them legitimate.
Fidel and his brother are billionaires many times over. They have at least twenty huge estates scattered over the island. They have seized properties owned by Cubans as well as US. Citizens and companies. They regularly raid the treasury, and have stashed money in several nations. They live lavish lifestyles while their people starve.
All three have various distinctive vicious and brutal characteristics that set them apart from one another. But they have some beliefs and prejudices that unite them.
For instance, both the Castro’s and Che have many times criticized the U.S. for the supposed rampant racism in our nation. But racism is widespread, brutal and government-sponsored in Cuba. Che Guevara once said, “The Negro is indolent and lazy and spends his money on frivolities, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent.” (See the article below by a black journalist.)
They no longer throw homosexuals in prison just because of their sexual orientation. But don’t expect to see a “gay pride” parade in Havana any time soon. And don’t expect free speech of any kind. You can say anything in public you wish – unless someone considers your words to be anti-Castro, anti-government, or anti-anything the government likes. If you say the wrong thing publicly, expect a short kangaroo trial and an all-expense paid trip to one of the island’s luxurious prisons.
So here’s a question for all my Liberal friends, especially blacks. Why do Liberals. Democrats and Socialists (but I repeat myself) almost universally defend Castro?
I will close with a summary of Castro’s “Worker’s Paradise”: Most cars are old American automobiles from the 1950’s, held together with chewing gum and wire. The Castro’s and their government discriminate against blacks, homosexuals, women, and just about anyone who is not a member of the Communist Party. There is no free speech, and no liberty of any kind. You can’t leave the country without permission. Food is strictly rationed; only the Communist Party members eat nutritiously. The average family barely survives on the equivalent of $24 a month – about what a US family of four would spend for one meal at MacDonald’s. Most important, Cubans have no hope – despite the Hope and Change that Castro promised them so long ago.
Castro’s Reign of Terror
Systemic Government Racism in Cuba
Fidel Castro’s Greatest Atrocities and Crimes
When Cuba Was Cuba
A Young Cuban Man Who Almost Escaped in 2012
The Grand, Eerie, Ruins of Cuba’s National Art Schools
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