Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel está muerto

So there is a reason to cheer, the death of Fidel Castro, should be a cause of celebration and reflection for everyone who believes in individual freedom, world peace, human rights and has both liberal and conservative values.  For the regime he founded continues to be one marked by violence, intimidation, intolerance and denial.

Castro interrogating a farmer as private property rights get abolished

Castro was a thug, a murderer and a warmongerer.  He urged Khrushchev to attack the US with nuclear weapons, which would have triggered World War Three.  

He incarcerated political opponents, labelling anyone who opposed the regime as "mentally ill" so they could be locked up indefinitely for not realising how lucky they are to be under socialism.  

He imprisoned Cubans who had HIV, he ran a prison state that saw Cubans flee at their own risk by boat to the United States.  Americans didn't flee to Cuba to embrace socialism.

Cuba under Castro was propped up by the USSR, in effect, poor Russians helped keep Castro's revolution alive.  A policy that ended with the collapse of the USSR, but from then on Cuba's rhetoric was that it was poor because the US embargo hindered it.  How a socialist state can claim that its prosperity is dependent on trading with a capitalist liberal democracy remains a mystery.

Cuba's joke is the large numbers of vintage American cars roaming the streets, only recently supplemented by Chinese vehicles.  This is seen as quaint, but is reflects poverty. 

One of the great claims about Cuba's "successes" is statistics around education and healthcare, because it claims low levels of child poverty and life expectancy that is high compared to other Latin American countries.  Yet the source of these statistics is entirely the Cuban one-party state, which imprisons its critics, so has to be at least treated with a high degree of scepticism.   Whenever foreigners inspect the Cuban healthcare system, they get to see what the regime wants them to see.   The UN may take the reported statistics from all member states on face value, but that's naive and absurd.  Only once Cuba is free will the veracity of these claims be clear, for now it is at best opaque. 

Of course, the usual suspects have come out singing paeans over Cuba.  Red Ken Livingstone couldn't help himself on BBC Radio 4 today saying that Cuba was "open and relaxed", even though it is a criminal offence for anyone other than the state to publish or broadcast, and when confronted with the regime's intolerance he said that in the UK anyone supporting Hitler was imprisoned. Odious little worm.

Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn said he was a "champion of social justice" and dismissed imprisonment of dissenters and continued authoritarianism as saying "there are problems of excesses by all regimes",  confirming the man is a moral relativistic sympathiser with dictatorship.

Vladimir Putin said he made his country free, well maybe by his standards..

President of the EU, Jean Claude Juncker said Castro was a "hero to many", which indicates the quisling relativist tolerance of a man and an organisation that ought to be celebrating the end of a man, whose regime provided support and succour for brutal regimes that impoverished and denied the human rights of citizens of 12 current EU Member States.  

Canadian Prime Minister, the illiberal Justin Trudeau lionised him as having "deep and lasting affection" for the Cuban people, including those he killed for opposing him.

Sinn Fein, which until recently lionised terrorism as a legitimate technique to change minds and power, is commemorating him as a hero.

The position people take on Castro should be your litmus test for their morality.

Castro used violence against those who opposed him.  He criminalise anyone who published or broadcast any criticism of his regime, so he was intolerant and authoritarian.   Dismissing any politicians whose core strategy is to do violence to his opponents is appeasement of dictatorship, rejection of any liberal values whatsoever, and places his supporters in the same mould as fascist apologists.  

To claim that "well he gave them education and healthcare" justifies a system of terror for anyone criticising the government or any of its policies or any of those with the privileges and trappings of power, is the justification of a fascist.   For "he" gave them nothing.  He ran a prison slave state which forced teachers and doctors to do the bidding of the party, he used his comrades of another slave state - the USSR- to supply the equipment, technology and training - to deliver a system that could have been delivered under liberal democracy.   Indeed, Chile's post-Pinochet success demonstrates that a liberal free-market democratic government can deliver the prosperity, including high standards of education and healthcare, without pointing guns at its citizens for criticising the regime.  

The best that can be said of Castro is he replaced another vile dictatorship - the Batista regime - and that he could have been worse.  However, pardon me if I don't think reaching the abominable barbarities of Kim Il Sung, Enver Hoxha or Nicolae Ceaucescu is an "achievement".

So to hell with Castro.  Some of the people who claimed with Donald Trump being elected, he is the "new Hitler" are mourning the loss of a man who was much closer to Hitler than Trump is ever likely to be.  

If someone is an apologist for Castro, or says he "made mistakes" or " his human rights were dreadful but", then they are excusing the blood spilt, the poverty, the propaganda, the utter denial of human liberty, and the politics of fear, terror and the jackboot, over the politics of debate, diversity and tolerance.

Treat the apologists of Castro accordingly.  The people in Miami celebrating his death lived under him, or have relatives who do.  The people elsewhere mourning are exercising the freedoms that Castro never tolerated and Cuba doesn't tolerate today.

Let's hope Mugabe doesn't see out the year as well.

Let's hope Cubans in the New Year gain the freedom to speak openly and honestly about the past 55 years of their country, even though thousands of so-called "liberals" in the West couldn't really care less.

UPDATE:  In 2008 I wrote the Top Ten Reasons Castro should be hated.

In 2010 I wrote on how the Green Party of NZ appeased the Cuban dictatorship

Read Katherine Hirschfeld's critical review of Cuba's healthcare system, including how much of it is "informal" and how it is illegal to refuse any healthcare including abortions. 

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