Former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has died at 90. There is a wide range of eulogies that have been dedicated to him: some of which are praising Castro for providing a vision of liberation and morality, and for being an enlightening revolutionary. Some, however, paint him in a different light as being nothing but a repressive and cruel leader rather than being a positive one. His communist regime is inspiring to leftists from around the world, while some depict it as being a threat to democracy and freedom.
I am not an expert on Castro and am unaware of every detail of his rise to power, but I am aware that Cubans have suffered immensely under his “leadership” and are overjoyed at the news of his death. From his imprisonment of the LGBT community in the 1970s’ to his censorship of media, there is very little that I find is common between my values and his. Castro’s oppression of the Cuban people should never be glorified, regardless of political party. Whether one identifies as a Republican or a Democrat, what he did should be considered ruthless and unacceptable by everyone.
Although the United States and Cuba have a tense relationship, the one between Cuba and my country, Canada, is quite different. Many of my friends have graced the beaches of Cuba during their Christmas vacation, and it saddens me to think that they are blind to the struggle and pain that actual Cubans have to endure. While they are busy prancing around in the ocean, Cubans are under extreme oppression, fighting for their rights. Despite my disappointment with them, however, I cannot express too much bitterness as our education system fails to offer us knowledge on the real Cuba. And with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement on the death of Castro, many Canadians will continue to be uneducated.
Trudeau’s glorification of such a merciless dictator is frightening. Although I mostly admire Trudeau, it would be wrong to condone his words about this matter. He romanticizes Castro: “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.” It’s as if Justin Trudeau is absolutely clueless. It’s evident that he is blind to the fact that Cubans have struggled and suffered under Castro’s dictatorship. Instead of showing love, Castro showed hostility. The majority of Cubans display no affection for Castro, but only anger and frustration. He did not serve as President, as Trudeau says: he declared himself dictator and left Cubans in the dust.
Despite how Castro “enhanced” the education and health-care system of Cuba, his good deeds are not enough to justify his utter cruelty and oppression. As Cubans embrace the death of Castro as an end to a grueling era, Trudeau mourns it. Many Canadians, including myself, are extremely embarrassed. We feel ashamed that our Prime Minister is honoring a man as a “legendary revolutionary,” and not recognizing him fro what her truly was.