The Tyrant Is Dead, But the Tyranny Lingers On
Larry Thornberry
by

There could not be a more stark contrast in the way people of the right and people of the left reacted to the passing of Cuba’s El Jefe Maximo, who is doubtless now boring the hell out of Old Scratch himself with his endless palaver. Fidel Castro came down out of the mountains more than a half century ago, whereupon he proceeded to steal everything that was not pinned down and started jailing and killing his political enemies. In every honest dictionary after the expression “evil, murderous dictator,” there is a picture of Fidel Castro.

For the wording of the stomach-turning responses of former president Jimmy Carter and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, see Melissa Mackenzie’s fine blog from earlier today. While there is unlikely to be much change in Cuba from Raul Castro and the thugs now in charge there, we can take heart in the prospect of serious change here. I direct your attention, in the same blog, to the words of our president-elect. He called a brutal dictator a brutal dictator, and put the responsibility for improving Cuba/U.S. relations where it belongs, in the court of the people who run what JFK referred to as “that imprisoned island.” Compare this with the marshmallow below that came out of the White House:

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 26, 2016

Statement by the President on the Passing of Fidel Castro

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. 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. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.

‎For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends — bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.

Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.

Wow. That’s telling ’em. Geez, wonder what those profound political disagreements could have been about? Could there be a more boneless response than this? This is in no way a proper response to the end of an evil man responsible for endless human suffering. This is a “just be nice” bumper strip.

The week has identified other Friends of Fidel other than those in high office. Colin Kaepernick, who is so incensed about how he believes black people to be oppressed in America that he won’t stand for the national anthem before ball games, was seen the day before Fidel’s death wearing a likeness of Castro, along with Malcolm X. I guess his Che Guevara shirt was in the wash. (Is there a football team in Havana he could be traded to?)

And, oh yes. Has anyone dispatched grief counselors to Sean Penn’s house?

Larry Thornberry
Larry Thornberry
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Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.
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