Fidel Castro outlasted 11 American presidents, outliving most of them. Queen Elizabeth is the only world leader to have reigned longer.
Castro also lived through seven James Bonds and three Mrs. Donald Trumps.
Fidel Castro was a brutal dictator whose corrupt government maintained control over their countrymen with military force. Many of us are hard pressed to understand the grief so many Cubans feel over the tyrant’s death.
Cubans enjoy universal health care and the literacy rate in Cuba is near 100%. Maybe that’s enough for some people.
From April to October of 1980 some 125,000 Cubans fled their homeland for the United States in what became known as the “Mariel Boatlift.”
For the past ten years Cuba has been ruled by the ailing dictator’s brother, Raul, who has promised to hold free elections in 2018. Elections notwithstanding, it’s likely that Cuba will remain under military control for the foreseeable future.
Before Castro died last month, he witnessed an unprecedented visit to his country by the President of the United States. Obama’s visit seemed to signal a new era for the people of Cuba.
The Rolling Stones played a free concert to 500,000 Cubans on March 26, 2016.
Our fifty-eight year embargo of the island nation has done nothing to bring about social reform. It’s done nothing but help the Castros, their families and top military leaders enrich themselves at the expense of the general population, which lives with unemployment, privation and limited access to the outside world.
America elected Donald Trump just 18 days before Castro’s death. One might wonder what Castro’s final thoughts were, knowing that his successors would be dealing with a Donald Trump America.
Within hours of Castro’s death, Trump tweeted, “Fidel Castro is dead!”
I know, right? It’s weird talking about the president-elect and his tweets, like he’s a girl in high school. Maybe that’s his alter ego. It’s even weird reading his tweets because Trump uses exclamation points like smart people use periods. Really!
Two days later Trump tweeted, “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal”
This tweet is more troubling on many levels. First, we’re starting to read these inane tweets from someone who will soon be the Commander-in-Chief as if they’re a normal form of communication from someone in that position. They are not.
Second is the fact that the President of the United States should not be negotiating foreign policy on Twitter PERIOD
Last but not least is the fact that thawing relations with Cuba can only help the Cuban people. Isolating them for the past 58 years has done nothing to advance the cause of democracy or human rights. Exposing them to our values and our freedoms will do just that.
During his campaign Trump promised to roll back President Obama’s Cuban initiatives, a promise that obviously resonated with Cuban-American voters in Florida.
What Trump and those Cuban-Americans forget is that normalizing relations with Cuba may be the only way to stimulate a yearning in Cuba for the freedoms enjoyed by the Cuban community here in America.
If there is an “up there,” then Fidel Castro is up there laughing his ass off. With a tweeter in the White House, Castro is definitely getting the last laugh.