January 18, 2017

Goodbye Fidel, Hello Donald

Did you ever think he would die? Did you think he would turn 90?
Can you grasp what it means that the most sought-after assassination target of modern times (barring Osama Bin Ladden) died peacefully in his bed after a world-wide celebration of his 90th birthday?
Now that he’s dead, is he not immortal? Is he not more dangerous as a myth? Is he not now and forever the man the empire couldn’t kill? But wouldn’t it be worse if we had killed him?
And, more directly, is there a connection between the many harsh lies told to excuse our actions against Cuba and the rhetoric and lack of facts in Trump’s presidential campaign and post-election rhetoric?
As an immigrant, I’ve never hated Castro as much as my indoctrination demanded. Though I’ve never exactly liked him, as I tend to dislike overt, type-A personalities and authoritarian types… especially in uniform. But I still believe that Cuba’s leader should be up to the Cubans in Cuba, not the ones that left.  Just like I’m certain that our Presidential race should be up to Americans, not Russian President Putin.
The constant barrage of antagonism in describing Castro (tyrant, despot, killer, brutal dictator, etc.) resembles Trump’s “crooked” Hillary and “little” Marco and “low energy” Jeb and “crazy” Bernie and “goofy” Elizabeth and “dishonest” media… they speak to the same audience.  
Why push the truth to such extremes? Why embrace such outlandish exaggerations? Are they convinced that “the truth” would not help their case? Boogyfying Castro only served to hide the true suffering caused by the Cuban Revolution, as the separation of families was ignored altogether. Cuban families like mine paid the highest price.
The anti-Castro rhetoric never looked at the whole picture, faithful only to the points conceived by the CIA prior to the JFK assassination.
What about the improved education and healthcare? What about the many Cuban doctors all over the world? And the free vaccines to third world countries?
What about the fact of Cuba helping defeat Apartheid in South Africa and supporting Mandela? (Remember, we were pro-Apartheid.)
Can we honestly blame the failures of the Cuban system on Castro while ignoring our constant efforts to sabotage and unbalance the island?  Can we also pretend Cuban successes do not exist? That’s exactly what we’ve Trump-ishly done for decades.  
We can choose to ignore the truth and replace it with lies and exaggerations, but we’re the only ones fooled… like members of a cult that can only speak with each other and everything said to outsiders is hype.
The world turned out to celebrate Castro’s 90th birthday with exhibitions and concerts and lectures and books… and they turned out to mourn his death.  Now they’re visiting his grave in record numbers.
We may not have noticed all this, as our media has been busy with Trump almost exclusively, and later with the Miami death parties.  
And then there are our methods of opposing Castro. He must be the devil and nothing less, otherwise our actions can be recognized as over-the-top.
The fact that in opposing Castro we’ve embraced and forgiven acts of terrorism by men like Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles and others, only brings up the fact that Cuba’s leaders should be up to Cubans in Cuba.  The argument over “human rights” was never an issue under Batista, a truly brutal dictator whose police executed people on the streets.  Am I to believe that those that let George Zimmerman walk away from a murder charge in Florida care about human rights in Cuba?
More recently, in South Carolina, a white policeman that shot an unarmed black man (Walter Scott) in the back as he ran away, said in court that he feared for his life. Despite a phone video that clearly shows this as murder, the case ended in mistrial. Scott had been pulled over for a broken tail light.
Can our continuing war against black skin, now chronicled by phone videos and “not-guilty” verdicts, compare to anything going on in Cuba?
Think about how distasteful it is to recognize Russia’s interference in support of Presidential candidate Trump… by what right do they make that choice for us?  That’s how distasteful it is for us to try to control Cuba.  
Had we “accepted” Castro without the harsh anti-movement, maybe there would have been less suffering in Cuba, which should have been our goal all along.
Our hardliners, it would seem, have made their hardliners relevant.
Will anti-Castro hardliners join hands with alt-right activists? The dust that may remain from Martí’s bones rattles with disgust at the mere possibility.
It seems obvious that the anti-Castro movement helped bring out the Trump factor in American politics with over 50 years of heavy-handed lying.
 So be it.
Now that our great country is to be run with the same ideology and lack of truthfulness, my heart goes out to young Americans.
May the force be with us all.


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