Fidel Castro was a Despot

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Shortly after the death of the former dictator of Cuba Fidel Castro we have had several statements from key political figures which seem to be very overlooking of Castro’s actions in the past.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau came out with a statement, saying “It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.” and went on to say “Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognised his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people”, continuing with him saying how his father was “very proud to call him a friend”.

On the other side of the Atlantic we’ve had the opposition party leader Jeremy Corbyn sing praise of the Cuban leader talking about his “heroism” and stated that he thought history would “show that Castro was such a key figure, it seems he has been with us forever”.

This type of sentiment has been repeated by many different different politicians but these statements don’t seem to match up with reality in Cuba.

After consolidating power and establishing a government in 1959 Castro put several members of the previous government on trial with these trials leading to the execution of hundreds. This could be considered as a removal of political opponents.

The Cuban government itself has a monopoly on media and prevents opposing opinions. Amnesty International described an activist who was barred from entering the building they worked at and how they weren’t able to cover a protest. There is also heavy censorship of books, radio , newspapers, music , movies and television. There are even laws allowing for the imprisonment of people who show contempt for the government and for those who defame any institutions of the government.

Information from the Cuba Archive found 3116 executions by firing squad attributable to the Cuban state between January 1 1959 and December 31 2014. This kind of systematic killing is not one one would attribute to a ‘hero’.

As well as these human rights issues, the communist ideology of Cuba has led to the impoverishment of it’s citizens. The average wage of someone in Cuba in 2013 was only $20 a month whilst Fidel Castro maintained a net worth of many millions of dollars. There have also been many food shortages as well with Fidel Castro albeit some may blame this on the US embargo of Cuba.

This is no surprise under a communist regime though, they often require big government and prevent innovation which provide large riches. Also the big government required to maintain a communist system leads to a concentration of power in the state which is almost always abused.

What’s most surprising is the way in which these prominent politicians choose to discount this long and despicable history and instead sing praises of the despot that was Fidel Castro.

 

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