"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.
The mainstream media continues to portray Castro's monstrous regime as a bastion of hope and freedom, supported by its citizens. The New York Times reported that Cubans were keeping up "a brave face." The Associated Press, in reporting on Castro's weakened condition, asked Cuban waiters their opinions. "He'll get better, without a doubt," Agustin Lopez, 40, told AP. "There are really good doctors here, and he's extremely strong." AP took Lopez's comments at face value, completely ignoring the fact that Lopez is a citizen of a country that would quickly lock him up if he expressed any joy at Castro's fall.
In the end, though, the jails will open. Cubans will once again be free. The greatest tragedy, however, is that Cubans had to undergo a half-century of oppression. Ninety miles off the coast of Florida, millions have lived in chains for decades. For decades, Castro exported his communist mercenaries around the world, spreading misery and chaos wherever they went.
It is a blot on America's moral record that Fidel Castro will die a natural death. We are at least partially to answer for failure to free Cuba. Half-hearted attempts to depose Castro only strengthened his grip on power. The leftist desire to treat Castro as a friend -- see Gonzalez, Elian -- only magnified Castro's presumed legitimacy.
God will wreak His justice on the godless thug who terrorized his nation and plagued the world. May it happen as soon as possible.