2016 has been a year of significant deaths: Prince, David Bowie, Janet Reno, Dignified Political Discourse. But now, finally, there is a death worth celebrating. Fidel Castro — an iconic beard attached to the deteriorating head of a true son of a bitch, who until today had been stubbornly unwilling to relieve us of his presence — has at long last died.
Apologists will say that Castro’s failure to create a socialist paradise more than half a century ago left him impotent on the world stage, perpetuating the myth of a harmless old dictator sitting in the shade of a palm tree, wreaking of cigar smoke and rum. Indeed, Castro’s image has become almost endearing. But anyone who says so better look over both shoulders to make sure they are not speaking within earshot of a Cuban refugee — those who lived under the regime of this despicable old tyrant have every right not to stand for such talk.
An irony of modern liberalism is its hesitance to condemn oppressive regimes, under the guise of tolerance and multiculturalism. But some “cultures” (I’ll put the word in quotes to avoid cheapening it by association with Castro’s grim ethos) should not be tolerated. Castro ruled by murder and oppression. He opposed free speech, free press, free elections, and any sort of economic mobility. That he lived to the age of 90 and was never been held accountable for his human rights violations is its own sort of tragedy.
Will things now get better for Cuba? Maybe not, but we can be a little more hopeful that they might.