Daniel Doherty

Most Americans continue to loath Hugh Chavez for the oppressive, authoritarian tyrant that he was. The late dictator debased individual liberty and basic human freedom, to say nothing of the billions of dollars he openly embezzled from his own people. The country Venezuela is unquestionably better off now that he’s deceased, of course, but Texas Senator Ted Cruz took the significance of his death a step further.

During a recent speaking engagement, Cruz said -- among other things -- that he hoped thugs like Fidel and Raul Castro will soon meet their maker . . . and the oppressed people of Cuba will finally reap the blessings and benefits that naturally result from free elections (via Real Clear Politics):

Bringing freedom to Cuba is an issue that is quite personal for Senator Cruz. His father was tortured and nearly killed there during the 1950s. Miraculously, however, Rafael Cruz was able to escape to Texas with (as he memorably phrased it during his 2012 RNC speech) nothing but “a hundred dollars sewn into his underwear.” And today, fifty years later, his son serves as the junior Senator from one of the largest and most prosperous states in the nation. Where else in the world would this be possible?

Chavez’s death reminds all of us, too, that although Cuba is just 90 miles from the southern coast of Florida, its people have known nothing but tyrannical rule. But perhaps, someday soon, the people of Cuba will enjoy the rights and freedoms we Americans have cherished and defended for centuries. The godless, failed system of communism will eventually be relegated to "the ash heap of history," but it nevertheless survives today less than a hundred miles from our shores.

Cruz firmly believes Chavez’s death is an opportunity for America’s top political leaders to re-affirm and re-proclaim American values to the world -- to stand, in John Winthrop’s words, as that “Shining City on a Hill.” I think so too.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography