Richard Ebeling emails:
I participated in the November 30, 2016 “Libertarian Angle,” podcast sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation, with the Foundation’s president, Jacob G. Hornberger, on the topic: “The Death of Fidel Castro.”
Over fifty-five years after coming to power in January of 1959, the Cuban totalitarian tyrant, Fidel Castro, has died. The “left” and many in the political muddled “middle” have been waxing eloquent on the how wonderful and influential was this third world revolutionary, this great champion of “the people” and social justice.
The theme of this week’s podcast was on how dangerously misplaced and historically false this mythology is, and the role of the United States in Cuban history for more than a century.
Castro lied to all those in Cuba who believed his rhetoric about establishing democratic government, personal freedom and economic opportunity after seven years of corrupt crony capitalism under the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. Instead, he soon began what was clearly his plan to begin with – the imposition of a Soviet-style communist state that rapidly enslaved an entire people, with the complements of death squads, torture, horrifying imprisonments, and a secret police watching and listening and propagandistically manipulating every aspect of life on the island.
This was matched by comprehensive socialist central planning that plundered private property owners, confiscated people’s wealth, and drove everyone into the serf-like existence of being employed and totally dependent upon the State for every facet of existence. And as had happened everywhere else socialist planned was imposed, the people of Cuba lived lives of poverty, stagnation, and hopelessness.
One of Castro’s most important allies in justifying and rationalizing his grip over Cuban society was – the United States. The United States that had defeated Cuba’s Spanish rulers in 1898, but then used its own power to control and influence Cuban politics for what was defined as America’s national interest. The United States that used its dominating influence to bend Cuban crony capitalism in the direction of those who had influence in the halls of power in Washington, D.C. And the United States, which imposed a misplaced trade embargo on Cuba shortly after Castro came to power that violated the peaceful and private rights of any American citizen to freely travel and trade with whomever he chose without government interference – but at his own risk and responsibility if anything “bad” was to happen to him and his investments in the land of Castro communism; as well as denying Cubans from having potential windows to the West through what could have been interactions with visiting “Yankees” from the north.
Castro used the anti-American nationalist “card” with great affect for all those decades to justify much that his cruel and brutal regime did as necessary to face down the imperialist giant next door, a card that he played not only with the Cuban people but to win friends and apologists among many of the intellectuals in North America and Europe.
The communist tyrant is dead. It remains to be seen what path Cuba now follows.