Liberals Play Apologist for Castro’s Repressive Legacy
Former president remembers 'fondly' the Cuban dictator who jailed dissidents, antagonized the U.S.
In response to the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, President Obama offered a tribute that glossed over Castro’s decades of dictatorial oppression.
“We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation,” Obama said in a statement Saturday. “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”
“We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.”
For decades, liberal politicians, most notably President Obama, played the role of apologist for the often repressive Castro regime. In May 2015, Obama followed through on his campaign platform of appeasing many of America’s longtime adversaries by lifting the U.S.-Cuba embargo — despite protests from much of the Cuban-American community about lingering human rights issues.
Now that Castro has died, Obama and other liberal politicians have chosen to praise aspects of Castro’s leadership and ignore the more dark elements of the Communist dictators’s legacy.
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter issued a statement Saturday in which he said that he and his wife “share our sympathies with the Castro family and the Cuban people on the death of Fidel Castro.”
"We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country," Carter gushed. "We wish the Cuban citizens peace and prosperity in the years ahead."
Secretary of State John Kerry also extended his condolences to the Cuban people insofar as they "mourn the passing of Fidel Castro."
"Over more than half a century, [Castro] played an outsized role in their lives, and he influenced the direction of regional, even global affairs," Kerry said in a statement Saturday. "As our two countries continue to move forward on the process of normalization – restoring the economic, diplomatic and cultural ties severed by a troubled past – we do so in a spirit of friendship and with an earnest desire not to ignore history but to write a new and better future for our two peoples."
Praise for Castro from liberal American politicians started long before his demise. During the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire for past remarks that he made praising Castro in a video clip from 1985.
"In 1961, [America] invaded Cuba, and everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world," Sanders said in the clip. "All the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society."
"You know, not to say Fidel Castro and Cuba are perfect – they are certainly not – but just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people does not mean to say the people in these nations feel the same," Sanders said.
Many Cubans and Cuban-Americans recall a very different Castro legacy than that described by Sanders and remembered by his fellow Democrats.
"Fidel Castro seized power promising to bring freedom and prosperity to Cuba, but his Communist regime turned it into an impoverished island prison," Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement Sunday. "Over six decades, millions of Cubans were forced to flee their own country, and those accused of opposing the regime were routinely jailed and even killed."
"The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not," Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, continued. "And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people."
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant father, issued a statement proclaiming that Castro’s death "cannot bring back his thousands of victims, nor can it bring comfort to their families."
"Today we remember them and honor the brave souls who fought the lonely fight against the brutal Communist dictatorship he imposed on Cuba," Cruz said.