Ya’ll are so worked up over Fidel Castro’s death, but as someone who lived under his dictatorship, I’m over here mumbling, “Meh.” I admire that he was able to oust and combat American imperialism, but he’s still an example of what happens when a rich boy reads some Marx, builds a movement, and is so corrupted by power that he outlaws all dissent. Stop idolizing a dictator, and expect more from revolutionary leaders. In addition: It’s possible to support Cuba’s revolution (as I do), denounce Castro’s reign (as I do), and recognize the role America has played in oppressing Cuban people and others worldwide (as I do). I’ve seen a lot of non-Cuban people prioritizing their ideologies and attempting to exonerate Castro by arguing that America is a greater Evil. Despite that being true in many ways, it doesn’t erase the suffering of a nation’s population at his hands, or their despair to escape. And if your love for communism + hero worship clouds your ability to acknowledge oppression and human suffering, I don’t see how you’re really any better than capitalists. In fact, one of the biggest failures of Castro’s revolution is that it’s caused Cubans to mistake capitalism for freedom.
For everyone talking about Cuba after Fidel Castro’s long overdue death.
For every white American news outlet and reporter (Buzzfeed, Michael Moore and even Anthony Bourdain) who wanted to paint Cuba as a Communist utopia with free school, free healthcare and therefore trivialize the countless hardships faced by real Cubans who can’t leave the island.
I’ve heard stories of my fiance’s grandfather whose legs rotted after being tortured for months in a pit of raw sewage for being a loan shark, my own grandfather who was a prisoner of war and was a Cuban refugee in the 80s who brought his two little kids and wife to America on a boat full of violent prisoners and the mentally ill, Castro’s own advisor of 17 years who was thrown into a pit of cockroaches for asking to resign (because he knew he’d be killed when his term was over). Castro and Che Guevara weren’t socialist pioneers, they were serial killers. Che isn’t a public figure who’s okay to wear on a fucking t-shirt because communism is a good idea to you, but this is the reason why so many Cuban-Americans are terrified of socialism and there isn’t a single American who should blame them.
Fidel was a twisted, almost king-like dictator who didn’t give a shit about his people, and his death doesn’t mean much when his legacy is still in place and our country is so much worse than it was just twenty years ago. Don’t say shit if you don’t know, if you haven’t been there. Please.
friendly reminder that Fidel Castro was a dictator who was responsible for jailing and killing off people who didn’t agree with him, created concentration camps, separated Cuban families and ruined the Cuban economy. so no, I will not be mourning his death
As a Cuban refugee I rejoice that the symbol is dead. But I still know that the ideology is very much alive.
Fidel Castro has terrorized us for years. And now the day has come, he is dead. But nothing has changed my fellow Cubans who have remained will continue to endure the regime and swallow the renewed hope that has come with these news.
And here I sit, watching people (Read: Non Cubans) mourn the death of a “monster” as stated by his own sister, Cuban exile Juana Castro. Castro was not a good man.
He ripped families apart. He took our liberties. He silenced our people. Do not let the media fool you into thinking he was a President or cared for anything but the success of his regime.
Here is just a small list of what Castro has done: Mass executions of counter-revolutionaries by Castro’s firing squads. An estimated 30,000 deaths solely from this since he came to power.
He shut down all independent newspapers upon his rise to power.
He held over 15,000 political prisoners.
He created re-education camps for LGBT to correct ‘deviations’. Effeminate males were heavily prosecuted without trial or charge. as well as forced incarceration for anyone that tested HIV positive.
One July morning in 1994 a group of 72 Cubans boarded a state-owned tugboat (named 13 de Marzo) with the intent to navigate it to freedom. Within minutes the vessel was under attack by other state-owned tugboats. By the time the incident was over 41 Cubans were dead. 10 of them were children.
Denied the right to vote against Castro and his party in ‘free elections’
Castro formed Committees for the Defense of the Revolution(CDR) whichoperate on almost every block in Cuba. Spying on neighbors and reporting back to the regime. Negative reports can land one in jail.
School children ‘pray’ to Castro.
Ordered doctors to inject mercury into patients who criticized the poor quality of Cuba’s free medical services
All media is heavily censored and the spreading of “unauthorized news” a criminal offence, with internet access heavily limited by cost and restrictions. (To give you an idea my family members in Cuba could be sent to jail if they were caught corresponding with me via e-mail)
Prior to January 13, 2013, Cuban citizens could not travel abroad, leave or return to Cuba without first obtaining official permission along with applying for a government issued passport and travel visa, which was often denied.
Following the Cuban Revolution all activities of the catholic church were severely limited and in 1961 all property held by religious organizations was confiscated without compensation.
Castro’s regime violates almost every single article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
His regime has led to an estimated 3 million Cuban’s (more than 25% of the current population) fleeing the country due to persecution since taking power.
But enough of this.
Today I am grateful for the strength and bravery of my mimi and papi who refused to conform to living under a communist and totalitarian nation. I am thankful that though fear clung to their bones they left everything they had in the hopes of freedom, in the hopes of a better life for me. Today, I am thankful to hear my mom’s voice break with the strengths of her sobs. Today, I am thankful to see videos of my fellow Cubans embracing each other, crying, waving our flag, dancing, and singing (Our beautiful La Bayamesa).
There is still much work to be done. But today, I leave you with the words of Willy Chirino:
“Hoy que mi pueblo vive ilusionado yo me siento inspirado y un son estoy cantando anunciándole a todos mis hermanos que nuestro día ya viene llegando…”