The peaceful death of the brutal Communist butcher and dictator at the ripe old age of 90 cannot help but trouble those of us who would like to believe in the hand of providence in history. Celebrated by the left, by the mainstream media (but then I repeat myself) and by fools all over the world, Castro was a truly evil tyrant. His death couldn’t come too soon. It came too late. Way, way too late. As will his brother’s.
What to say about Barack Obama’s opening to Castro’s Cuba? Jay Nordlinger says it in a National Review editorial and a companion Corner post. As for Obama, he’s with them. Jay puts it this way: “Chances are, Obama wanted to stick his thumb in the eye of Miami and the anti-Communists. He has. How proud they must be, the Obamites.” More here. Jay returned for more this year in “Obama in Cuba.”
Jay has made himself a persistent and therefore invaluable chronicler of Castro’s depredations. When Jay wrote the 2014 NR cover story (behind NR’s paywall) on Castro and his allies, for example, he turned it into a three part NRO series that is accessible here (part 1), here (part 2) and here (part 3). Castro’s allies survive him, at least the ones Jay noted in 2014.
Jay called his 2000 article on Castro’s black American supporters “In Castro’s corner.” Obama’s support for the Castros fits into this context as well, but Obama’s sympathies represent the old-time religion. As Jay put it earlier this year (in “Obama in Cuba,” linked above): “Since the ’60s, the Castros had dreamed of a rapprochement with the United States — on their terms. For just as long, the American Left had dreamed of the same thing. And now there was a president of the Left who could do it.” Exactly.
In his New York Sun editorial “Fidel Castro’s last cigar,” Seth Lipsky gives us Castro’s death imagined in Elliott Banfield’s famed cartoon. This says it all. Fidel Castro, RIH (rot in hell).
JOHN adds: I agree with all that Scott and Paul have said about Fidel Castro’s long-overdue demise. I would add this: Castro’s professed Communism and the reverence with which he was viewed by leftists around the world have obscured the fact that he was, at bottom, a warlord like any other.
Having seized control of Cuba by armed force, Castro proceeded to amass untold wealth: Forbes listed him among the richest people in the world, with unearned wealth. Castro enjoyed unheard-of luxury, while his oppressed people struggled to avoid starvation. Similarly, Castro considered the beautiful young women of Cuba to be his for the taking, and he took hundreds of them. It is ironic that the same liberals who profess horror at Donald Trump’s occasional crudeness will eulogize Fidel.
He seized power with an army and helped himself to vast riches and countless women: the corrupt Castro may or may not have been a sincere Communist, but any of history’s warlords, steeped in plunder, would recognize him as one of their own.
Back in the early 1980s, a young woman who worked in my law firm went to Florida to watch the Minnesota Twins in spring training. After she returned, she told me that she had met an elderly couple who had fled Cuba. Like many Cuban exiles, they were Twins fans. The Twins had a number of Cuban players, starting in the early 1960s. They told my friend that they were saving a bottle of champagne, and they would drink it when the earlier of two events occurred: either the Twins won the World Series, or the Tyrant died.
We shook our heads sadly. Castro was going strong, and the Twins were hopelessly bad. It seemed certain that the Cuban couple would not live long enough to celebrate either event. But it turned out that we were too pessimistic. When the Twins won the World Series in 1987, I remembered that Cuban couple and imagined their champagne cork popping. I don’t know whether there is champagne in Heaven, but I hope that same couple is enjoying a toast today, in honor of the Tyrant’s demise.