|Cuban-Americans celebrate the death of Fidel Castro - The Associated Press|
First off, the administration before him was no better. Fulgencio Batista was brutal in his own way after he led a successful coup that ended democracy in Cuba. Batista, however, did keep many private industries like casinos and tourism open in places like the capital of Havana because he was smart enough to know their benefit. His problem was that he failed to believe in popular sovereignty. That cost him his power. Castro and his rebels defeated Batista in 1959.
It is at this moment that Castro could have given power back to the people and continued to embrace the prosperity of western investments, but that wasn't to be. He loved to say that Cuba was a puppet of the United States, but he made his country a puppet of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Cuba became increasingly dependent on foreign aid from the big brother of the communist nations.
Castro also put the world on the brink of nuclear destruction by allowing the Soviets to ship missiles that could strike as far as Washington D.C. in order to threaten the American government. President John F. Kennedy wasn't going to stand for this, so he successfully blockaded the island and forced the Soviets to take the missiles out in exchange for removal of American missiles in Turkey.
Castro enacted all the typical policies that communists believed would work, but they failed in Cuba like they failed anywhere else. Collectivization of farms left many poor people starving in the country and food rationing had be to implemented while imports from the Soviet Union were needed to survive.
The healthcare system in the country was very deceptive. It was famously showcased by Michael Moore in his documentary Sicko, which was supposed to criticize the American healthcare system. It showed Americans getting wonderful and efficient treatment under Cuba's universal healthcare. The problem with the documentary was that it only showed a small portion of healthcare in the country. Castro, his fellow elites, and international tourists are given priority in order to advertise the system. Interviews with Cubans have proved that the rest of the population receives horrible service. There have been many shortages of medical items like bandages, soap, lightbulbs, and sheets.
|More pictures of celebration in Miami - The Associated Press|
During this period of economic strife, Castro made sure that all his rivals were either forced into exile or jailed. It didn't matter if some of these were political allies who served with him. Like Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union, Castro had his own purges. He waged war on religion by banning the Catholic education system and replacing it with communist propaganda. The LGBT movement saw no growth under Castro as he forced many homosexuals into labor and conversion camps. The gay rights movement is now enjoying more growth, but they have been struggling against the political establishment there. Thankfully, they have a powerful advocate in Mariela Castro Espin, the niece of the late dictator.
Unfortunately, improvements now doesn't change the suffering of millions. Thousands of innocent Cubans were murdered by Castro's troops. Some executions were even televised. Other lost their lives fleeing on small boats and rafts to Florida, either from storms or the Cuban navy. An evacuation effort in the 1960s known as Operation Peter Pan saved 14,000 children, but many of them never saw their parents ever again.
Yes, the death of Fidel Castro is worth celebrating, but at same time there is some pain. This pain doesn't just come from the Cubans who never made it to freedom, but also from the very politicians running free countries. Several left-wing leaders have decided to give praise to Castro rather than slander him for the devil he is. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada called him a "remarkable leader" and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of the United Kingdom mourned him as a "champion of social justice." In the United States, President Barack Obama posted that "history will record and judge the enormous impact" of Castro. It infuriates me to see that he doesn't recognize all of Castro's impact was devastating. Castro's leaves a bloody history in his country and it won't be healed anytime soon.