Fidel Castro has died. He was 90 years old.
It will be fascinating to read and view the mainstream media’s treatment of the dead dictator. I wonder to what extent the MSM, which wants to resist “normalizing” Donald Trump, will normalize the Cuban tyrant and his regime, as President Obama has done to some extent. I expect we will see at least a few stories in the “he did some good things; he did some bad things, but what a giant he was” mode.
Washington Post reporters Kevin Sullivan and J.Y. Smith don’t go that far. They write:
To his legion of followers, Mr. Castro was a hero who demanded a fair deal for the world’s poor and wasn’t afraid to point his pistol at the powerful to get it. His admirers said he educated, fed and provided health care to his own people, as well as to the poor in other countries, more fairly and generously than the world’s wealthy nations, most notably what he called the “Colossus to the North.”
But one of the world’s longest-serving heads of state was as loathed as he was loved. He was among the world’s most repressive leaders, a self-appointed president-for-life who banned free speech, freedom of assembly and a free press and executed or jailed thousands of political opponents.
This is clever. The dubious positives are presented as assertions by his admirers; the undeniable negatives are presented as facts. Even the suggestion that Castro was a humanitarian is offensive, but the Post’s treatment is probably the best we can expect from the mainstream media.
It’s better, for example, than the New York Times’ account by Anthony DePalma. He writes:
[Castro] had both admirers and detractors in Cuba and around the world. Some saw him as a ruthless despot who trampled rights and freedoms; many others hailed him as the crowds did that first night, as a revolutionary hero for the ages.
Some might call this account balanced. I call it sickening.
The truth is that Fidel Castro was a monster. That his crimes didn’t rise to the level of Stalin’s or Mao’s is in large part due to the small size of the country he lorded over and the failure of his efforts at conquest in South America and Africa.
The Times does at least remind us of Castro’s role in the Cuban missile crisis, which almost sparked a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. It has never been clear to me whether Castro asked the Soviets for missiles or whether the Soviets initiated the idea and Castro agreed (as the Times says). Either way, Castro’s conduct was instrumental in creating a near-catastrophic chain of events, one that might have produced death on a Hitleresque scale.
It would be nice to report that Fidel Castro’s death will end Cuba’s nightmare of nearly 60 years. Unfortunately, power passed some years ago to his dictatorial brother. With the help of the Obama administration, which normalized relations with Castroite Cuba, the nightmare will continue.
But at least the man who imposed it on Cuba has finally passed on.