After 49 years, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has announced that he is stepping down from power, due to failing health. That is very good news indeed for the oppressed citizens of Cuba. The bad news is, his brother will continue the misery. His 76-year-old brother Raul will take over, and he is just as bad, if not worse, than Fidel. For years he has been the main enforcer of the dictatorship, taking personal charge of the firing squads. So celebrations are not in order just yet.
Cuba of course, along with North Korea, is one of the hangovers from the poison which was Communism. The “people’s paradise” was in fact one large prison, displaying all the hallmarks of totalitarian Marxism. The fact that people have been attempting to flee Cuba for the past half century should be evidence enough of this place of misery. People were not dying to get into Cuba, but many thousands died trying to get out. It has been all one-way traffic.
But many on the left, and even the religious left, have sought to rewrite history and turn Cuba into some sort of worker’s paradise. They were quite happy to ignore all the political prisoners, the lack of basic human rights and freedoms, and the state-sponsored repression of any dissent.
Of course such naivety and/or blindness need not have been. Plenty of firsthand accounts of the terror that was Fidel Castro’s had been available. One especially comes to mind. In 1986 Armando Valladares’ Against All Hope was published. He had been a political prisoner for twenty years in Castro’s Cuba. No civilised person could read that book without feeling sick in the stomach over the torture, horror, terror and misery that he and so many other Cubans endured under Castro.
No one reading that book could any longer be under any illusion about what sort of place Marxist Cuba was. It was a hell-hole pure and simple. Yet way too many Western lefties did their best to praise Castro and Cuban Marxism, and even seek to discredit the testimony of Valladares and many others.
Ideology was simply put ahead of humanity. Or as French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy put it in his 1977 volume, this was a case of Barbarism with a Human Face. The Western leftists who sought to defend such corrupt regimes – “useful idiots” as Lenin called them – were willing to whitewash the terror of the Castro dictatorship in order to justify their attempt to create heaven on earth.
Such political ideologies are always doomed to failure, and exact a huge human toll along the way. But that did not keep even the religious lefties from blinding themselves to the reality of Marxism. For example, one American supporter of the regime, writing for the religious left magazine Sojourners, edited by Jim Wallis, wrote this about his trip to Cuba in 1977: “I almost felt like an explorer discovering a new land”. His glowing account of what he saw there made him a very useful idiot indeed.
He obviously saw only what the Communist government wanted him to see. He obviously did not see the political prison camps that people like Valladares were suffering in. He saw only what his ideology wanted him to see, and was happy to ignore the human cost of this “peoples’ paradise”.
A recent article by David Noebel takes the religious left to task in this regard. Religious lefties like Wallis, Sider and Campolo still seem to be glowing in their praise for the Marxist tyrannies, while equally scathing in their condemnation of America and the West. Noebel offers an assessment of Tony Campolo’s 2006 book, Letters to a Young Evangelical. Says Noebel:
“Communism and socialism produced the poor, the wretched and oppressed of the 20th century; not America! In truth, America was one of the major liberating factors of the 20th century, liberating millions from the chains of Fascism, Nazism and Communism. But America’s role as the world’s greatest liberator of the poor and oppressed is not trumpeted in the writings of Campolo, Sider or Wallis. Rather, Campolo refers to America as a “whoring” Babylonian entity (226, 227)!”
He continues, “Campolo happily instructs his two young evangelicals that Stalinist Fidel Castro ‘readily testifies that his revolutionary ideas came from his childhood training in Jesuit schools’ (76). Campolo likes the Jesuits (30, 31), and seems to want more of their revolutionary schools in the U.S. He fails to tell his two prospective recruits how Wallis and his Sojourners magazine have consistently fronted for Communist Cuba. ‘Sojourners magazine,’ said Lloyd Billingsley, ‘may be the last devotee of this [Castro] regime in the entire Western world.’ Campolo’s ‘Red-letter’ sojourners view the world through a Marxist lens, and all they can see is that ‘it’s America’s fault!’ To them, there would be no poverty in Central or South America if it weren’t for the greedy, capitalist Christians in North America. ‘The religious left,’ says Billingsley, ‘makes a point of defending Third World Marxist regimes and attacking the United States and Western Europe’.”
While the religious left carries on about vague notions of “social justice” and helping the poor, the question is, how have the poor in fact actually been helped around the world? Certainly not by Marxism: “In point of fact, of course, the Marxists, their leftwing theologians, their apologists, and their socialist hangers-on created more poor and more oppressed than the world has ever witnessed throughout its entire existence. (This is not to mention that communism oppressed and persecuted Christians by the millions!) Yet Campolo and his leftwing fellow travellers never once even mutter these shocking historical facts.”
Getting the facts right is always a good place to begin. This is something the religious left is not always too good at: “For those young evangelicals who need to read up on this point, we suggest an afternoon with The Black Book on Communism published by Harvard University Press, a book Campolo does not mention. In fact, given that his Red-letter crowd played such an important historical role in fooling American Christians about the true nature of communism, while at the same time insisting that being anti-communist was sinful and that anti-communists were somehow ‘forces of darkness,’ I wonder if either he or they ever read that important book.”
“They seem actually to believe that anti-communists were more to be feared than the communists themselves – in spite of the fact that communists were slaughtering tens of millions of human beings worldwide. Mao alone slaughtered 70 million Chinese! Stalin slaughtered even more human beings! (See R. J. Rummel’s Death By Government)”
Communist Cuba was a disaster, and the retirement of Castro is not the end of the story. Keep an eye out for how the Castro apologists praise his leadership. In the meantime, watch the flow of refugees to continue from the island nation. People vote with their feet, and the exodus from this tyranny will continue until real democracy is allowed to take hold there, and the ugly consequences of Marxist ideology are fully weeded out. Just ask the 1 ½ million Cuban exiles living in Miami.