Fidel was more than his U.S. caricature

Ok, I was going to write a long post about Fidel’s passing and try to counter scenes from Little Havana in Miami celebrating a death, but I am tired, worn out. Was Castro perfect? Of course not. He and Ché were way off with their homosexual re-education camps, and treatment of counter-revolutionaries did not have ‘due process’ written all over them. Mind you, invasions by the U.S. and repeated CIA assassination attempts might convince you that politics in Cuba need to be played by rules that are more bare-knuckles than genteel rhetoric. 
Fidel has been so demonized in the US that I am sure the reaction of most here will be much like the president-elect’s: “Fidel Castro is dead!” The Guardian obituary is long and considered, but gives a more rounded picture of the man. But a few things that Americans should remember before dismissing Fidel as a universally bad man is that Cuba has better rates than the U.S. when it comes to infant mortality, life expectancy and literacy. While Fidel realized the error of his ways around LGBT issues, apologized, and his niece, Mariela, now leads a national effort to counter homophobia, we have leaders in the U.S. going in the opposite direction supporting gay conversion therapy. That was misguided ignorance in post-revolutionary Cuba in the 1960s. It’s willful hatred in 21st century America. 
There is a reason why Fidel is embraced as a hero in Africa and Harlem and by the descendants of slaves in Cuba. For all his failings, he tried to right some of society’s most egregious wrongs. For his defiant resistance of western capitalism, imperialism and racism, his passing deserves to be mourned, not celebrated.

One thought on “Fidel was more than his U.S. caricature

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