In the climax of the classic musical film “The Wizard of Oz,” (spoilers!) Dorothy throws water on the Wicked Witch of the West, and “liquidates” her, inspiring the witch’s tough-looking servants and guards to sing, “Ding-Dong, The Witch Is Dead.”
There won’t be public songs of joy in Cuba about the death of Papa Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, aka Fidel Castro, who passed away on Friday night, November 25, at the age of 90. But the reason for the lack of honest vocal relief might be because, despite the dictator dying after six decades of brutal rule and crushing socialism, his brother, Raul, is the new “papa.”
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, as the Who once said.
Instead, we must turn outside the island nation for reaction – positive, negative, and in-between - which ought to tell U.S. “progressives” a little something about this island “paradise.”
On the “news” side, as Newsbusters’ Brent Baker has reported, a gaggle of sycophantic “reporters” have already lined up to wash the feet of the dead dictator:
On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell insisted in a stock bio that Castro “gave his people better health care and education.” Appearing live by phone, she soon trumpeted how Castro “will be revered” for “education and social services and medical care to all of his people.”
Along a similar theme, in an ABC Special Report during Nightline, Jim Avila maintained that, “even Castro’s critics praised his advances in health care and in education.”
And those advances would include...?
While we wait for Ms. Mitchell, Mr. Avila, and Castro’s pop news acolytes to deliver something other than warmed over Michael Moore-isms, and offer some real information, perhaps we can list some of Mr. Castro’s great achievements in health care:
- The abolition via statue of private health facilities,
- Lack of simple antiseptics and aspirin,
- Long waits for elective surgeries,
- Patients forced to bring their own linens to hospitals,
- Lower birth rates, and
- A life expectancy that, as even the US State Department reported in 2002, has not improved significantly since 1958
Perhaps reporters might want to report these facts, but, evidently, they are too caught up in the war for social justice. That’s just what UK Labor Leader Jeremy Corbin did, and goodness knows, he’s a real signal leader for redistribution of wealth as “justice.”
As The Independent reports:
Jeremy Corbyn has hailed Fidel Castro as a “champion of social justice”, following the announcement of the former Cuban leader’s death. The Labour leader admitted to “flaws” in the revolutionary leader’s long rule over the Caribbean island, but praised him as a “huge figure of modern history”.
That was all Mr. Corbin could muster to tie himself to planet Earth. That was the only reference Corbin could make to Castro’s murderous brutality and collectivism at the end of guns.
Since the great “revolution” in 1959, nearly 1.5 million Cubans have fled to the United States alone. Families have been split, lives ruined, and the economy of Cuba has been at a virtual standstill for half a century. But Mr. Corbin has the gall to continue heaping praise on the guy behind it, chirping:
From building a world-class health and education system, to Cuba’s record of international solidarity abroad, Castro’s achievements were many.
Mr. Castro’s achievements not only include the stagnation of the health system and economy (despite massive subsidies from the Soviet Union), prison labor camps, subsistence living and rationing of such simple things as soap and clean drinking water, not only the destruction of property, businesses, and families, but also the suppression of free speech by the Intelligence Directorate, mass arrests, murder, and the crushing of religious liberties.
For goodness sake, he banned Christmas for thirty years.
One of the most remarkable things about his death is how few of the media elites seem to grasp just how bad life was in Cuba because of Mr. Castro.
MSNBC’s heroic knight Brian Williams did note the “bad roads” and “prostitution” in the nation, but these seemed to him to be just quaint manifestations of the Cuban culture, not sad products of Castro’s collectivist ideology.
Sure, the cars are sixty years old, and there aren’t enough to go around, but…
It’s still one of those nations where you see donkey carts alongside cars, trucks, and busses in downtown Havana, because that’s exactly what they’d rather have for transportation.
Incredible. Nice of Brian to tell us what the Cuban people want… How about that the Cuban people are no longer robbed of their ability to retain the fruits of their labor, are allowed to engage in real commerce and competitive enterprise, are allowed to make profits beyond the $20 per month average wages they currently make, and they are allowed to decide with stronger buying power whether they want 21st Century automobiles or… donkeys and carts?
Williams has, once more, shown himself to have a keen ability to spout nonsense. But, his snobbish comments pale in comparison to those of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who issued a statement the day after Fidel’s death in which he called Castro, "a larger than life figure who served his people for almost half a century.”
Because, you know, being a dictator is “serving”.
Trudeau also blathered:
A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.
As noted before, Castro’s revolution in health care was to ruin it and offer equal misery to everyone except the politically connected. His concept of “education” for all was indoctrination for all, in state-run propaganda machines – much like those in Canada and the U.S. come to think of it.
And to talk of Castro as a great “orator” requires one to forget that Papa C was so “great” he had to post armed guards in places where he droned on for hours, guards there to make sure no one could leave.
But in this buffoonish statement, Mr. Trudeau was not done digging his own historical and intellectual hole. He had to make sure he added:
While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante.”
One cannot help but wonder if these people who had “deep and lasting affection” are represented by those 1.5 million people who risked their lives to flee to the U.S., the thousands Castro killed in extra-judicial “proceedings”, and the dissidents and offspring of dissidents living in the U.S. who have decried his bloodthirsty collectivism.
As opposed to the pop media and leftist politicians, these commentators deserve a great deal of credit. In fact, many Cuban celebrities and their friends have gone against the grain and spoken truth to collectivist power and insanity. While people like Robert Redford, Michael Moore, Harry Belafonte, Chevy Chase, Danny Glover, Edward Asner, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Kevin Costner, Oliver Stone, Jack Nicholson, and footballer Colin Kaepernick have either gushed about Castro or his system, or offered equivocation about them, others have related their own experiences, or the experiences of their families or friends, living under his thumb.
Actor Andy Garcia, who was born in Cuba, said, in part:
It is necessary for me to express the deep sorrow that I feel for all the Cuban people both inside and outside of Cuba that have suffered the atrocities and repression caused by Fidel Castro and his totalitarian regime. The promises of his so-called revolution of pluralism and democracy, were and continue to be a false promise and a betrayal of all basic human rights. The executions, persecution and imprisonment of political dissidents and the LGBT community, denial of free press, elections and religious freedoms, continue to be his legacy. He claimed that history would absolve him, but it can also condemn him.
On Twitter, Jose Canseco offered:
I was born in Cuba and Fidel Castro was our leader. Came to the USA because of him… Can't say I feel anything for his death. There is a reason many defected to USA
Even Cher had a handle on the dictator’s life and legacy:
Fidel Castro Was a Murderous Dictator. He’s Dead. Like ALL Strong-Man Despots, He Let His Ppl Suffer & Die Because Of His Insane Ego.
If Cher can sum it up in a tweet, why can’t Brian Williams and Mr. Trudeau show the semblance of a clue? After all, she is an entertainer. She’s not paid to tell people “the news”, or “run” a country, as the canard about heads of state so often goes.
While the death of Fidel Castro might not bring about substantive reform in that impoverished nation, it appears to present an opportunity of a different sort. Much like the American public recognized the incredibly biased coverage of the 2016 US Presidential campaign, this is another chance for discerning media consumers to compare the facts with the fables and see that the popular narrative spun by vocal members of leftist news media and entertainment is not always to be trusted. Certainly, meddling by U.S. spies and politicians in the affairs of Cuba since the days of Batista was unwarranted, but so is heaping praise on a man who crushed dissent, stole property, killed people, and caused a nation to stagnate while the world around it progressed.
Now that their hero is gone, progressives in the news, entertainment media, and politics might want to find out what progress really is. They won’t find it in Castro’s legacy.