from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Thinking About Fidel

December 2, 2016

Blog Post
Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

What are we to make of the death of Fidel Castro, and the eulogies that flowed from all too many places? I’ve explored that subject in a podcast--an interview of me by Bill Kristol--and in an article in The Weekly Standard entitled "History Will Not Absolve Him." Here is a short extract:

 

What in fact did Castro do for Cuba? The great social and economic gains are delusions. The grand international adventures resulted in many deaths—of Cubans, to be sure, but as well of Latins and Africans in wars he fed. He created a system of neighborhood spies, political tribunals and political prisons, viciously harsh sentences and chronic maltreatment of prisoners, that was a miniature version of the nastiest Communist regimes anywhere. It is impossible to believe that Cuba—whose Leninist system was always unique in the Caribbean and indeed in the hemisphere—will not some day be free of all this, just as Germany is free of the Stasi system.

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What will then remain? Two things. The first is, again, Miami—and more broadly a Cuban diaspora in the United States, Spain, and elsewhere that enriches every country to which Cubans fled to escape the clutches of Fidel Castro. And the second is heroes....

In Cuba, the truth about Fidel Castro is lived each day as it has been since January 1, 1959, and the truth will emerge when the regime falls—however long that takes. Then the statues will all be brought down and the murals will be painted over, and the story of Fidel Castro will be told by those who suffered most from his brutality, his hatreds, and his megalomania: the people of Cuba. Today’s obituaries cannot reflect their views, but in due time they will have their say. And they, like history, will not absolve him.

 

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