After duly acknowledging the horror of the deceased Cuban Communist dictator—although it shockingly saw fit to praise Castro for bringing “medical care and education to the country's poor”—the New Jersey Star-Ledger saw fit to spend most of its editorial criticizing America’s foreign policy as it relates to Cuba since 1959. The Star-Ledger opens Castro's mortal sins, and our own imperial arrogance with;
Fidel Castro had a knack for driving Americans nuts.
No doubt, he was a tyrant and a liar, a man who tortured people for the crime of speaking their minds. The fact that he brought medical care and education to the country's poor does nothing to excuse that horror, nor does the fact that the dictator he toppled was a tyrant as well.
Castro was the sort of man who put poets in prison, and arrested people who dared to open a business. The moral depravity is matched by the economic stupidity.
What else needs to be said?
Just this: That the United States squandered its moral standing in all things related to Castro by responding to him with the arrogance of a colonial power.
Get that? America’s decades-long, bipartisan response to the Communist takeover of Cuba equates to “the arrogance of a colonial power.”
Now, United states government foreign policy is certainly fair game for debate and criticism. Some of the Star-Ledger’s criticisms are valid.
But for me, mixing a condemnation of Castro with a critique of American policies is morally nauseating. It amounts to trivializing the monstrous injustice imposed by Castro on the Cuban people, and even people beyond Cuba’s borders. Not content to enslave and impoverish only Cubans, Castro sought to enslave other nations through aid to communist-led “Wars of National Liberation.” And don’t forget the U.S.-threatening deal he made with the Soviet Union to bring nuclear missiles into Cuba, which brought us to the brink of nuclear war in 1962.
I left these comments, edited for clarity:
Castro’s treatment of dissidents is only part of the story. His “economic stupidity” is more than that. The economic devastation was by design and backed by perverted egalitarian moral fervor.
To the extent Castro “brought medical care and education to the country's poor,” he did it by confiscating almost all of the wealth that Cubans earned, and then spreading it around to a population kept universally poor. Cuba’s medical care came in part at the expense of medical care for the Cuban people. According to NPR, the Cuban government set up for-profit ventures that sent Cuban doctors on “international missions” to secure hard currency for Cuban rulers. Cuba’s “education” was really indoctrination that banned “subversive” books and ideas and mandated classroom chants of “We will be like Che,” an ode to the terrorist communist guerrilla Che Guevara.
I’ll never forgive President Obama for criticizing America for its economic inequality in the context of visiting Cuba and opening diplomatic relations there. He had it exactly backwards. Economic inequality is a natural result of a free country where each person has the individual liberty to rise as far as his talent, ambition, moral character, values, choices, tolerances, and ability to make the most of his personal circumstances will carry him. Economic inequality goes hand-in-hand with political equality, and that virtuous combination—economic and political freedom—is to America’s moral credit. In America, ordinary people can get rich, and they do so through businesses that produce mass-market goods and services and create jobs in the context of free trade, lifting everyone along with their growing fortunes. In Cuba, like all tyrannies throughout history, the rulers and their cronies get rich by looting the people and keeping them down.
And yet Obama goes to Cuba—the egalitarian socialist hellhole that essentially banned personal flourishing, the only way to establish economic equality—and criticizes the United States for inequality—the same capitalistic United States to which ordinary Cubans by the tens of thousands, not counting the thousands who died or were imprisoned trying, fled looking for the economic opportunity that Castro forbade. Shameful.
Whatever criticism America deserves for its policies toward Cuba pales in comparison to the horror that Castro brought to Cuba. His is a textbook example of socialism—the subordination of the individual to the collective “good,” as determined by an omnipotent state. The suffering of the Cuban people lies squarely at Castro’s blood-soaked feet, not America’s embargo. This editorial should have been, “Castro’s Mortal Sins . . . PERIOD.”
After meeting Castro, I have no regrets choking Cuba—Robert Torricelli, former U.S. Senator
Contra Obama’s Pandering to Cuba’s Dictator, Economic Inequality is America’s Strength and Equality is Cuba’s Tragedy