Cas­tro was no saint; he was an evil despot

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION&COMMENTARY -

MY AT­TI­TUDE to­wards death is not gen­er­ally af­fected by the lit­eral ac­cep­tance of the old adage: “Do not speak ill of the dead.”

It does not sug­gest that noth­ing neg­a­tive should be said of a dead per­son, but more so, in my view, that no un­truths should be said of the de­ceased. In other words, do not tell lies, whether pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive, on the dead.

For most of us, it is so­cially ab­hor­rent, if not a car­di­nal sin, to crit­i­cise a dead per­son, how­ever truth­fully done.

The re­cent death of for­mer Cuban dic­ta­tor Fidel Cas­tro is a clas­sic case in point. There are seem­ingly too many apol­o­gists, in­clud­ing sev­eral in this coun­try, who have ren­dered glowing trib­utes with very lit­tle if any ref­er­ence to any of his most de­spi­ca­ble or un­for­tu­nate un­der­tak­ings.

Fidel Cas­tro was a bru­tal dic­ta­tor who mis­treated or op­pressed the Cuban peo­ple by deny­ing them fun­da­men­tal rights and free­doms that we Ja­maicans, for in­stance, often take for granted. He im­pris­oned, tor­tured and killed many who dared to op­pose him.

The man must be called out for who he re­ally was – a huge fraud who lived an op­u­lent life­style while en­sur­ing the av­er­age Cuban re­mained in ab­ject poverty and falsely giv­ing the im­pres­sion he was liv­ing in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances like his peo­ple. Cas­tro’s life­style was a clas­sic re­minder that the non­sen­si­cal po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic the­ory of so­cial­ism was noth­ing but or­gan­ised fraud – the very kind that Cas­tro’s com­rade in arms, Michael Man­ley, at­tempted to per­pe­trate on us – where the rulers lived quite dif­fer­ently from the ruled.


I was heart­ened to hear at least for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Ed­ward Seaga be­ing hon­est enough to re­mem­ber the per­son Cas­tro re­ally was – not the saint-like be­ing oth­ers would have us be­lieve.

Cas­tro’s pos­i­tive ef­forts, on es­pe­cially some so­cial ini­tia­tives, par­tic­u­larly in the fields of health and ed­u­ca­tion in Cuba, are wor­thy of some adu­la­tion. Like­wise, we in this coun­try should be ap­pre­cia­tive of his con­tri­bu­tions to­wards, es­pe­cially the ed­u­ca­tion and health sec­tors in Ja­maica.

To put it sim­ply, I do not find joy in the death of Cas­tro. How­ever, let us not con­ve­niently try to el­e­vate the man by seek­ing to ad­vance only such mem­o­ries that would prove ad­van­ta­geous, when his life in its to­tal­ity was filled with many neg­a­tives that should be equally high­lighted. KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER sang­

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