By John F. Di Leo -
Watching footage of Barack H. Obama’s trip to Cuba, which the sycophant press never fails to call “historic,” one cannot help but ask some questions.
- Why are the celebratory crowds so much smaller than in Obama’s past tours, such as his triumphal visits to Europe and the Middle East in 2008? Where are the throngs brimming with adulation?
- How did Obama choose what places to visit (past presidents have typically visited churches, museums, manufacturing centers, theaters, and similar shining tributes to the culture of the host country)? Or perhaps did he not choose them; were they chosen for him - and for the American audience - by a ministry of propaganda, as in the longstanding Russian model?
- And what might be running through the minds of the audiences, as they witness the first American president since the revolution to not only visit them, but seem to be friendly with the Castro brothers? Might they question America? Might they question their very eyes and ears?
There are many answers, but to find them, we must travel back in time a bit, and consider the history of that little island, and of the world, in days long gone by.
The Bloodiest Century in Human History
The brothers Fidel and Raul Castro were born, respectively, in 1926 and 1931… so they missed the carnage of World War I, the international influenza epidemic of 1918, the terrors of the Russian Revolution in the 1920s. They were children during Stalin’s dekulakization program in the 1930s, teenagers during the days of Hitler’s gas chambers during World War II. And they spent those years on the tropical Caribbean island of Cuba, far from the action, far from the slaughter.
But the brothers Castro made up for everything they missed. In the era known as “the Bloodiest Century,” they appear to have set a goal of bringing the bloodshed of the first half of the century into the second, as soon as they came of age in the early 1950s.
They joined, and soon took over, a Marxist revolutionary group called The Movement (never listen to the fools who claim that they only became Marxist later in life; they were Stalinist from the day they began), and their revolution was a bloody one. Yes, of course, most revolutions are bloody, but theirs was unusual in that it was headed by people who clearly took great delight in the butchering their fellow human beings.
While the American Revolution is famous for how unified our Founders were in keeping violence limited to the battlefields, the Castro brothers, along with their comrade Che Guevara, enjoyed murder most when people weren’t shooting back, usually in forests, or behind buildings, or against the backdrop of a ditch or hill, chained and bound, unable to escape the aim of the firing squad or the executioner.
- On January 7, 1959, the day that the United States inexplicably recognized the new government under Fidel Castro, that government executed ten officials of the former (Batista) government.
- A few days later, on January 11, Castro allies all over the island held kangaroo courts to try, convict, and murder countless people whom they claimed were associated with the old government.
- Then on January 12, they gathered another 75 or so in a pit, and executed them all in a seven-hour span, burying them together in a mass grave, the sheer numbers making this one of the most horrific of their many atrocities.
- By March 19, it was reported that 483 former government officials had been executed in the ten weeks since the takeover, and even fellow communists were calling for an end to the murders.
But that’s just in the well publicized moments at and after the government was overthrown. The prior years are full of such incidents, with Raul Castro usually claiming the honors for himself. As minister of the armed forces before the revolution was won, brother Raul did the killings as Fidel did the speechmaking. Conservative estimates of the Cubans who died directly at the hands of a Castro, or directly on their orders, from the start of The Movement to the present, number about 30,000.
But even that is a fraction of the deaths of which the Castros can boast. Once their power was consolidated, they began to work closely with the Soviet Union. As Leonid Brezhnev plotted the spread of Soviet communism across the third world, the Castros served as the source of agitators, military advisors, terrorists and even invasion forces for that creeping menace.
This Soviet-Cuban relationship began in the 1950s, and as soon as Cuba was firmly in the Castros’ hands, 1500 Cubans were sent to Russia for careful tutelage, in preparation for the years to come. The Castros’ troops supported the Stalinist uprising in Congo in 1964, the Ethiopian Stalinist dictator Mengistu Haile Miriam in 1978, the Marxist MPLA and its successors in Angola throughout the 1960s and 70s… and many more besides.
They undermined government after government, sometimes by joining and strengthening existing indigenous rebel movements, often by starting the trouble themselves and only pretending to be homegrown. Of all the continents, only Antarctica has been free of the Cuban effort to foment rebellion.
The Castros’ forces were ubiquitous in the spread of world communism of the Cold War. And then, when that Cold War ended at last – the USSR in fragments, Marxist theory in tatters – Cuba resisted the trend. The tens of thousands of innocents killed by Cuba’s soldiers and “advisors” all over the world, are remembered only by family members left behind, and by mass graves, marked and unmarked, a quiet, haunting reminder of those evil days when the Castro brothers thought they might rule the world.
The American Effort
And where was the United States all this time, besides being, geographically, just ninety miles away?
The United States spent the Cold War conflicted. Weary from two world wars, and too beaten down by two painful efforts in Asia, the United States wavered between actively opposing the global spread of the cancer of communism, and pleading non-interventionism as it continued unabated. Only finally in the 1980s, under the presidency of Ronald Reagan, was Détente replaced with Rollback as official US policy.
The US government often sent its own advisors to the same places the Cubans did, to support the resistance to that Marxist mockery of culture, that philosophy of slavery and death, but too often, it was too little, too late. Only under Reagan did the US government finally respond with an ideological weapon to confront the alluring claims of the communists.
Radio Marti was launched in 1983, when the Soviet-Cuban partnership was at its height, when they had spread their corrupt philosophy across the world almost without opposition for twenty years. Radio Marti succeeded in hitting back, first on radio and then on television, exposing the lies of Marxism for what they are.
The USA had a policy, unbroken for fifty years, that we would not allow commerce with Cuba as long as the Castros continued to rule. Nothing against the Cuban people; this policy is in solidarity with them against their vicious rulers. By some counts, a million people have fled Cuba since the revolution, many in full knowledge that they wouldn’t survive the trip, because even death at sea is preferable to a life in thrall to the masters of the secret police and the death squads.
The USA should have overthrown them long ago, but at least our stand on principle – to never do business with Cuba while the Castros remain in power – was consistent and honorable. The Castros killed hundreds of Americans, and confiscated billions of dollars of US-owned land and assets, when they nationalized everything in sight in the heat of their greed. Such crimes cannot be forgiven.
The Cuban Problem Today
The Castros are now old, the last remaining representatives on earth of the Stalinist era. Russia and its Warsaw Pact satellites all overthrew their shackles 25 years ago; Mao and Pol Pot have long since gone to their well-deserved torment in the beyond… but still the Castros hang on, now well into their 80s. They cannot possibly be long for this world; prudence would require patience on our part. We can start from scratch when these criminals are off the scene; we cannot start from scratch (“hitting a reset button”) while the same villains remain in power.
Russia killed millions of its own citizens and others’ in the 20th century; so did China, so did Germany… but the leaders who gave those orders are long since dead.
New leaders are in charge of those countries, leaders without the blood of millions dripping from their hands. An American president – or an American Secretary of State – can meet with them without picking up the contagion of having legitimized a serial killer’s regime.
Not so with Cuba. Cuba remains the home of death squads, of secret police on every corner, of summary executions and shallow graves. And the very same people are in charge today as fifty years ago.
We cannot build euphemisms around a relationship with Cuba – “they’re different people now, it’s a different government, times have changed” – because we know all too well that such euphemisms are untrue. In fact, they ARE the same people; it’s still Fidel and Raul Castro, the aging serial killers themselves, never replaced, never overthrown by their own people like Honecker and Jaruzelski were, or tried and executed like Nicolae and Elena Ceaucescu.
America cannot shake hands with the Castros and retain our moral high ground. These are the very men who stole our land and businesses in Cuba, who sent terrorists to fight against our men on a dozen battlefields across the globe. These are the two villains who pulled the trigger in hundreds of summary executions that we know of; and the logical mind knows they must be guilty of many more as well.
At first glance, Raul Castro looks like a sweet old man, a kindly old gent from an American nursing home, but that is only because of our own cultural bias. We assume decency and goodness in the aged, because it is what we know; it is what we see all around us here at home.
But when we study our history – and to discuss politics, we must study our history, or we are doomed to repeat the errors of the past – then we must acknowledge reality: that when we shake hands with Raul Castro, we are forgiving and forgetting countless crimes, countless mortal sins, massive destruction on a global scale, over fifty years of bloodthirsty acts from a man who has not even requested forgiveness. And this means that our handshake constitutes our endorsement of those crimes.
No. Not in our name.
Barack Obama is an individual, a man with a hand to shake and a head to bow if he chooses, but he does not make this trip to Cuba in our name.
When he shakes hands with Raul Castro, that’s just little Barry, son of hippie communists, private citizen, lowering himself to their level. It is not America.
America is the nation that spent fifty years training pilots, soldiers, sailors, and marines, flying countless missions of bombers and fighters all over the world, building a powerful combined nuclear and conventional arsenal, to defend the free world from aggressive, invasive communism. And this nation does not shake hands with Castro brothers.
Barack Obama may travel on Air Force One and claim the title once worn by giants like Washington, Coolidge, and Reagan, but his actions this week are not the actions of an American president, and they do not mean that America has lost its sense of right and wrong.
Obama could easily have waited until the Castros died; America has no pressing need to build a trading partnership with this tiny poverty-stricken island. There was no reason not to wait, except for Obama’s personal reason:
Knowing that it would be wrong to do so, knowing that it would be anti-American to do so, Obama could not resist; he had to do it before he was out of office, and while the Castros still live. Barack Obama could not miss this last opportunity to shame America.
Obama acts on his own… while real America, back here at home, remembers and mourns sixty years of the Castros’ tragic victims.
We can only pray that the poor, tyrannized subjects of the Castros’ rule understand that, whatever Barack Obama may say or do to seemingly endorse their slavemasters, he does not represent us.
Copyright 2016 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based writer and international trade expert. He was a very minor activist during the Cold War, one-time honored with the presidency of the Ethnic American Council, a freedom fighter support group, and he will never forget the valiant leaders of the Captive Nations movements and the heroic freedom fighters he met during those days… from Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique, Poland… and, yes, Cuba…, each of whom had to fight against the Castros’ Cuban advisors as they tried to free their countries from the infection of the Soviet-Cuban axis.
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