Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Castro's Death And Tears

At long last, Fidel Castro died a peaceful death at age 90. He died like the head of a mafia family with his lifetime of wealth, women and adoration. Mafia boss is a great description for him and far more realistic than revolutionary leader. Cuba was run into the ground, acting as a living museum for the failures of communism ninety miles from American shores. This did not stop the applause from the American media, academia or foot soldier leftists in your social circle.

Did you see the other reactions though? On social media and even on television, reactions from Cuban-Americans were intense. Video of cheering in the streets with simultaneous Trump and Cuba Libre were still strong in the wake of President Obama thawing relations last year with Cuba as "let bygones be bygones" was stated. There were media essays on how the Cuba issue was no longer a thing in Florida. Once again, that is some fake news.

The interesting reactions were the tears of the elderly. These were people who escaped. These were people who fled a dictator. If Assad died today, do you think the supposed refugees would weep? No, God no, and that is because the tears Cuban-Americans shed were over what they lost. Castro's Cuba, in effect, performed what California is still in the process of doing (America and the EU as well). They squeezed their white middle out and created a duskier underclass to be ruled by white commies that are untouchable. I dated two Cubans in college (one had blonde hair and freckles), and both had incredibly middle class and professional lineages. One had an architect for a grandfather that escaped with his family, and the other had an accountant for a grandfather who left the island with family in tow. Sounds like white Californians leaving in the '90s for Colorado.

Castro was a tinpot dictator that lucked out after the end of the Cold War by not being near Israel. Castro killed tens of thousands, and ruined the lives of millions. It is an island of 11 million that has lagged growth and human development around the Caribbean. Free health care! Ah yes, the liberals are loving that, but want to tour ALL of their facilities and render a verdict? Praising Castro's health care is like praising Hitler's highways. I do not hear liberals singing those praises. The praise is disgusting to read, but should not overshadow the individuals crying for joy.

I will take a moment to note that Castro's long life and peaceful death as an old man hints that history favors the bold. Yes, there were many elements above Castro that helped his rise and securing of the island. Recall that he was just one group of a set of rebels on the island. The NY Times talked the State Department into backing him, but it was Castro that cleverly tricked the naïve reporter about his numbers and power. There was something about the man's style and charisma that seduced many. In an interesting Janus like situation, Castro was a cruel, tyrannical dictator and the charismatic face of opposition to the US global empire for decades.

Is it an end to Castro style communism on the island? Probably not, but never doubt a ruling communist clique's ability to switch to a mixed market, the China model or some other pro-capitalism stance once the big jefe is dead. The ruling clique has been planning for this for years, and Castro's longevity gave them time to organize given the loss of their old patron in the '90s. Cuba would be a huge investment opportunity at a completely ruined low for money to pour into and rehabilitate. I bet the oligarchs on the island make some phone calls. Could this allow for families to reunite without fear of punishment on the island? Hopefully.

There was something else to the tears and other emotional responses in the Cuban-American community. It made the faux tears of liberals after the election look as pathetic and fake as a toddler's temper tantrum. Castro was a legitimate dictator that punished any dissident. Election 2016 was just an election. If one truly feared a Hitler, and we can all agree that Hitler caused orders of magnitude more damage than Castro, would not these liberals be leaving now as those Cubans did decades ago? They are not because it is all an act to them.

Castro is dead. Let us all take a moment to celebrate that, but to recognize the failure in humanity that allowed him not only to rise to power but inspire other murderous revolutions elsewhere.


Portlander said...

Here's something for the economists and economically minded to answer: why did Cuba not end in hyperinflation.

Feels like there's a lesson there staring everyone in the face.

coyote said...

pray tell: everyone needs a lesson in economics from a portlander! certainly learning something useful every day should be one's goal- ? let us hear your lesson!

Portlander said...

I'm being serious. Cuba had two big strikes against her, Latin & Communist, and yet didn't end in a horrid hyperinflation and in-the-street crime & violence. (Yeah it started w/ violence, but that's the case for all govt's.)

Seems like something is behind that, but I'm not sure necessarily what.

Anonymous said...

If the situation in Cuba substantially changes, do those who came here as refugees have an obligation to return?

Matt said...

External factors. Cuba (unlike Venezuela) was heavily supported by foreign interests. Russia in the '50s and '60s, and then everyone else that wanted to trade illicit embargoed goods to the americans. without that external trade in cigars and brandy and whatever, it most likely WOULD have ended in hyper-inflation and violence, rather than just being an absolute hell-hole for the peasants who lived there.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Anon, I've thought of this too, and I can see older Cubans returning. With their coin, they could retire there and live a lavish life, maybe set their kids up well. Castro + Co really did push the lighter shade Cubans to America and kept the duskier crowd to rule over.

peterike said...

One thing I always found amusing about Cuber was the hypocrisy of the usual suspects. As Castro was busy jailing gays for being gay, not a squeak from the Progs. Yes, this is Exhibit #2458291 of Prog hypocrisy, but still it amuses me.

Travel to Cuba remains a badge of honor for the Prog crowd. I see women on OKCupid sometime showing their "I wuz in Cuba" photos as if they just pulled a baby from a burning building.

Glengarry said...

Incoming new pet cause: Rich, rightwing, WHITE exile cubans crowd out the poor communist POCs who stayed the course -- injustice!

Anonymous said...

He quarantined people with HIV.

Portlander said...

I've been thinking about the question and I think there is no simple answer. I completely disagree with "external factors." I think it's the exact opposite, it's the internal factors. A few things stand out.

The biggest might be Castro was running the place as a benevolent dictator. Obviously he wasn't benevolent, he did what he had to do to be dictator. But I think where he parted ways from most other dictators was he chose not to loot the country. Once you go down the road of looting, staying in power gets ever more increasingly expensive. You can't keep a secret over the looting. A couple people notice, and they tell a couple people, who tell a couple people, etc. Everyone in the regime and below sees what's going on and wants their piece of the action too, all the way down to the gimmie dat's on the street. It turns into a race against exponential growth.

Rather than make a bunch of promises that couldn't be kept, and thus have an implicit sell-by date, Castro dictated that the country and its people would live within their budget, meager as it may be. Cuba didn't get on the tread mill of making increasing payoffs to the gimmie dats.

I think Cuba is a small enough, and isolated enough country with great enough weather that he could make it work. People will put up with incredible misery if they have company. If Castro was not letting his regime get ostentatiously wealthy there would be less clamor from the bottom and less need for making promises that couldn't be kept.

Ultimately though, I think the key may be you don't have hyperinflation in a closed system. Hyperinflation is a political choice, an expediency to deny dealing with reality. It is only made when the people making the choice feel they are safe from its ramifications. Indeed, they may well have positioned themselves to prosper following the event. From a practical stand-point that's pretty hard to do in a closed financial system. There's no safe harbor to put your wealth while the financial storm rages. At least not if you have non-trivial wealth. Wealth that a can't be accommodated with a few, or even a few dozen, gold coins.

Angry Midwesterner said...

At the end of the day, I will say his HIV approach is to be envied from a public health standpoint. This is from a primary care perspective of course.
Even monsters can have some use. He would have made a better health czar, and czar in the most stringent sense.

Portlander said...

his HIV approach is to be envied from a public health standpoint

Benevolent dictator.