"Death comes equally to us all, and makes us all equal when it comes," English poet John Donne famously wrote. In his death, Fidel Castro may finally achieve the foolish dream of communism: full equality. He certainly didn't achieve it in his life, despite his policy of murder, torture and mass starvation. Castro, like all other tin-pot dictators, was always happy to reap the benefits of dictatorship while his people suffered its pains.
This week, Castro handed the reins of power over to his brother, Raul. Reportedly, 79-year-old Fidel is suffering from "a sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding that obligated [him] to undergo a complicated surgical procedure." Castro may survive, but freedom-loving people the world over hope and pray that he does not.
We cannot count members of the Hollywood elite among those freedom-loving people. In November 2002, Steven Spielberg flouted the American travel ban to Cuba by visiting Castro personally. According to Cuban state newspapers (an unreliable source, at best), Spielberg called the hours he spent with Castro "the most important eight hours of my life." Spielberg would later deny he made such a statement, though his decision to hang with Fidel certainly tarnishes his own credibility.
Oliver Stone's sycophantic documentaries "Comandante" and "Looking For Fidel" portray Castro as a sort of old-school hero, standing against Western aggression. "Castro is isolated in the hemisphere, and for those reasons I admire him because he's a fighter. He stood alone, and in a sense he's Don Quixote, the last revolutionary, tilting at this windmill of keeping the island in a state of, I suppose, egalitarianism, where everyone would get the break, everyone gets the education, and everyone gets good water," Stone ridiculously stated.
Ted Turner claims that his decision to found CNN International stemmed from a conversation he had with Castro. "He said, Ted, the whole world needs CNN. I use it all the time, and it's very important to me.' So I said, Well, if Castro needs it, certainly the capitalists around the world could use it, and perhaps some other communists, too.'" Apparently it never occurred to Turner that if the leading communist thug in the Western hemisphere loves your news channel, perhaps you're doing something wrong.