Wed | Feb 21, 2018

Letter of the Day | Castro was no saint; he was an evil despot

Published:Tuesday | November 29, 2016 | 12:00 AM


My attitude towards death is not generally affected by the literal acceptance of the old adage: "Do not speak ill of the dead."

It does not suggest that nothing negative should be said of a dead person, but more so, in my view, that no untruths should be said of the deceased. In other words, do not tell lies, whether positive or negative, on the dead.

For most of us, it is socially abhorrent, if not a cardinal sin, to criticise a dead person, however truthfully done.

The recent death of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro is a classic case in point. There are seemingly too many apologists, including several in this country, who have rendered glowing tributes with very little if any reference to any of his most despicable or unfortunate undertakings.

Fidel Castro was a brutal dictator who mistreated or oppressed the Cuban people by denying them fundamental rights and freedoms that we Jamaicans, for instance, often take for granted. He imprisoned, tortured and killed many who dared to oppose him.

The man must be called out for who he really was - a huge fraud who lived an opulent lifestyle while ensuring the average Cuban remained in abject poverty and falsely giving the impression he was living in similar circumstances like his people.

Castro's lifestyle was a classic reminder that the nonsensical political and economic theory of socialism was nothing but organised fraud - the very kind that Castro's comrade in arms, Michael Manley, attempted to perpetrate on us - where the rulers lived quite differently from the ruled.


Not a saint


I was heartened to hear at least former Prime Minister Edward Seaga being honest enough to remember the person Castro really was - not the saint-like being others would have us believe.

Castro's positive efforts, on especially some social initiatives, particularly in the fields of health and education in Cuba, are worthy of some adulation. Likewise, we in this country should be appreciative of his contributions towards, especially the education and health sectors in Jamaica.

To put it simply, I do not find joy in the death of Castro. However, let us not conveniently try to elevate the man by seeking to advance only such memories that would prove advantageous, when his life in its totality was filled with many negatives that should be equally highlighted.