How should we memorialize Castro? By freeing Cuba.
He was a tyrant whose death should be welcomed by anyone who loves liberty.
By Daniel Morcate December 3 at 6:00 AM
Daniel Morcate is a reporter for Univision News.
The death of a dictator, not his final memorial, is — and should be — a
happy occasion for the people who have suffered his rule. It’s why no
one should celebrate the life of Fidel Castro when he is finally laid to
Instead, we should mark the day reminding ourselves how Castro got the
better of us, freedom-loving Cubans, and understanding that his death
didn’t end his reign of terror.
Because we shouldn’t kid ourselves: Castro’s departure — long awaited by
those of us in the Cuban diaspora, as well as those who still live in
our island homeland, even if they’re not free to express it — won’t
immediately bring the liberty, democracy and respect for basic human
rights that all Cubans long for. Castro’s long convalescence, along with
the political indifference of several key nations to his years of brutal
tyranny, have, in part, allowed his despotic regime to exist for
decades. Long before his death, Castro was afforded the resources he
needed to assemble a form of institutionalized self-preservation, his
family dynasty, which has existed by exercising its malevolent grip over
Cubans in a way that rivals the power of any autocracy known throughout
[Reagan’s Russia trip should be Obama’s roadmap in Cuba]
Castro got the better of Cubans and, even in death, is a painful
reminder to us that we haven’t found a way to break free of his rule. He
knew how to cunningly enlist countrymen against each other as a way of
holding on to power. And he never could have succeeded without the
complicity of thousands of Cubans who spied on, accused, imprisoned,
tortured and killed other Cubans. To wit, as the Miami Herald reported
this week, Danielo “El Sexto” Maldonado, a “detained Cuban artist who
mocked Castro’s death, ‘was badly beaten’ ” by Cuban government
agents, according to his family. That kind of terror is Castro’s real
Throughout his cruel reign, Castro benefited from the tacit approval of
democracies: He consistently enjoyed a parade of world leaders willing
to visit Havana, including three papal visits. Starting in 1991, his
regime was welcomed at the Ibero-American Summit. All reminders that the
world community has not learned how to defend — with firmness and
effectiveness — the values it espouses and represents.
All this, despite the fact that Castro backed numerous insurgencies
designed to subvert governments that he deemed representative of
spurious bourgeois interests. The democrats who went only as far as
timidly suggesting a free market, a multiparty approach to governance,
and a free press for Cuba? Castro simply saw them as weak.
And never having been effectively held accountable for his innumerable
crimes, Castro’s long tenure sent a dangerous message to other aspiring
dictators, particularly within our hemisphere. He had no shortage of
disciples in Latin America, among them Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez,
whose design on clinging to power was cut short only by his own death.
Others imitated Castro, with different degrees of fealty to his
model: Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s
Rafael Correa were who they were, at least in part, because of Castro’s
influence. Each sliver of recognition he got from legitimate democratic
and religious leaders was a symbolic slap in the face of oppressed
Cubans, further encouraging imitators and propagating Castro-style
oppression throughout the Caribbean and South and Central America.
[Castro’s death won’t reshape Cuba. Trump might.]
If Fidel Castro’s death does not soon lead to a global campaign in favor
of liberty and democracy for Cuba, the old tyrant will have scored his
first posthumous victory. The United States should lead this effort,
even during the last days of Barack Obama’s presidency. Western leaders,
including Obama, can and should use their leverage to demand specific
concessions — freeing all political prisoners, legalizing opposition
parties, allowing freedom of the press — from Castro’s brother,
President Raúl Castro, in return for the benefits Cuba’s regime now
reaps from diplomatic engagement.
The moment is appropriate and critical because it is the only way to
open a door for free expression, and to demand meaningful changes on the
island that improve the lives of all Cubans, regardless of race, gender,
sexual orientation or ideology. In other words, Fidel Castro’s death is
not an occasion to mourn. It’s an occasion to free Cuba.
Source: How should we memorialize Castro? By freeing Cuba. – The
Washington Post –