The now deceased tyrant Fidel Castro executed thousands while exiling and oppressing millions more.
But according to some, he was “a remarkable leader” (Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau), “a giant among global leaders” (Irish president Michael Higgins), and “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th Century … and great friend” (Indian PM Narendra Modi).
Before the Soviet Union crumbled under its own immoral weight, critics of the economically moribund and politically repressive regime called its cheerleaders and supporters “fellow travelers” and “useful idiots.”
In our politically correct age, a more apt phrase for these eulogists for tyrants may be “reality-challenged individuals.”
Sadly, the many of the panegyrists lead whole countries, ostensibly allies of the United States.
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, issued a jaw-dropping statement on Castro’s death.
He said, “On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”
Castro’s family includes the current dictator of Cuba, Raul Castro, and his “many, many supporters” include the repressive arms of that totalitarian island state.
Ireland’s president, Michael Higgins, won the prize for sheer Orwellian linguistic disfigurement: “Fidel Castro will be remembered as a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet.”
Castro’s regime was famous for its oppression, periodic purges, harboring of foreign terrorists and cop-killers, and collaboration with the world’s worst tyrants including but not limited to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, North Korea’s Kim family, and of course the Soviet’s evil empire to which Castro was an obedient vassal.
The head of the world’s largest democracy, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called the demise of the 90-year old dictator “sad” and offered his government’s fraternal support for the “Cuban Government and people in this tragic hour.”
In America, a sitting member of the US Congress, Representative Barbara Lee, suggested a period of mourning for the dead oppressor, saying “We need to stop and pause and mourn his loss… I was very sad for the Cuban people.”
Former President Jimmy Carter, who made pilgrimage to Castro’s communist dystopia, waxed nostalgic for his vacations with the dead dictator and praised his (murderous?) patriotism, “We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.”
Outgoing President Barack Obama offered condolences to the Castro family too, striking a tone of ironic understatement and detachment without any explicit criticism of his brutal reign, stating that “Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”
The anti-communist Polish Solidarity Movement encouraged opponents of that communist regime to resist in plain sight in an understated but powerful way.
Homes and shops simply put up a sign with a math equation: 2+2=4. The take-away was clear: the self-evident truth cannot be denied, distorted, and defined away no matter what oppressors and their allies say or do.
The so-called leaders who deny, distort, or downplay Castro’s crimes are deluding only themselves. History will remember the lives lost, the families destroyed, the voices silenced.
To crib Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony, “we come to bury Castro, not to praise him; the evil that men do lives after them.”
For that reason, no representative from the world’s beacon of freedom, these United States, should attend and mourn the loss of a man who brought misery and oppression to his people.
Attending that funeral will momentarily dim the bright light of this Shining City on a Hill. It is beneath the legacy of our founders and act of betrayal to those who fought for liberty and self-evident truth for generations.
Let us shout here in the free world for those elsewhere must only whisper: viva la Cuba libre!
Sean Kennedy is a visiting fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute.