Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Why I'm Going to Miss Fidel Castro
Whether you like him or not, I think you'd have to be a really petty person not to recognize that Fidel Castro was an extraordinary political leader.
So I'm not surprised that even some conservative bloggers are giving the old man his due.
So let’s hear it for universal literacy and decent standards of health care. Let’s hear it for the Cubans who help defeat the South Africans and their allies in Angola and thereby prepared the end of apartheid. Let’s hear it for the middle-aged Cuban construction workers who held off the US forces for a while on Grenada. Let’s hear it for Elian Gonzalez. Let’s hear it for 49 years of defiance in the face of the US blockade. Hasta la victoria siempre!
Which is basically how I feel.
Fidel may be a flawed figure. His clumsy attempt to re-educate gays in the early sixties was pathetic...even though he did apologize later. His island remains a poor and sometimes oppressive place. Life for many Cubans is hard.
But if you've ever visited Cuba like I have, and you want to see the greatest victory of Castro's Cuban revolution , all you've got to do is look at the happy faces of the Cuban children...
They are a beautiful mix of all races together... and unlike so many other poor children in Latin America.... they are well fed, healthy and educated.
The Cubans may be poor, but they've sacrificed a lot of things to make sure that they have first-class medical facilities, and schools....and a literacy rate that is better than ours. Even as they struggle with shortages..... they pamper their kids.
And all of that in a little country that has been strangled for half a century by the world's mightiest superpower.
So when I see some illiterate gusano in Miami holding up a sign like this one...
I'm reminded that are many versions of freedom. And mine doesn't include the freedom for children and others to die of starvation and disease....or ignorance and poverty. Like they do all over Latin America.
And in many so-called free and richer countries. But not in Castro's Cuba.
In a world full of hollow words and promises that's a REAL achievement.
So all I can say is ..... not bad old man. It has been quite a show. I'm think I'm going to miss you.
And how you showed the yankees that small and poor doesn't have to mean weak....or meek.
Viva Fidel !!