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If you are reading this, it is despite the best efforts of the late Fidel Castro, one of the few men on earth actively to have promoted nuclear war, with the ambition of annihilating capitalism. That is not a reference to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, but to Castro’s initiative 20 years later when he tried to persuade the Soviet Union to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States.
Our knowledge of this derives from the revelations of General Andrian Danilevich, a Soviet general staff officer, contained in Pentagon documents held in the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Even the hawkish Soviet generals were appalled by Castro’s scientific illiteracy and, in the words of Danilevich, “had to actively disabuse him of this view by spelling out the ecological consequences for Cuba of a Soviet strike against the U.S.”.
So, it seems one component of the useful-idiot confederacy of leftist dunces that is disqualified from mourning Fidel Castro is the Green tabernacle. That is a thought to entertain when one next sees a useless idiot in the shape of a media studies undergraduate sporting a Che Guevara tee-shirt on a march to save the planet. Castro is the man whom the disconsolate BBC emerged briefly from its paralysis of fear over a Trump-provoked nuclear war to suggest was the “most astute politician of the 20th century”, while quoting his vainglorious claims that “history will absolve me” and “I don’t have even an atom [sic] of regret”.
Biologically, Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz – or the Maximum Leader, as he modestly preferred to be known – was born in 1926 or 1927, but politically he was conceived in 1957 by the New York Times, which featured three articles by Herbert L Matthews that created the Castro myth. Thereafter the cult grew and the twinkling-eyed mass murderer became a much-loved (except in Cuba) icon of armchair revolutionaries.
Although he failed in his ambition to purify the world by incinerating it, Fidel nevertheless contrived to make his presence felt. Faithful to the Marxist maxim that one cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs, he executed 16,000 alleged political opponents and imprisoned more than 100,000 in labour camps. For a small island, Cuba boasted an impressively large archipelago of gulags, though the complicit liberal Western media, so expansive on the topic of Guantanamo, remained reticent about such model penal institutions as Kilo 5.5, Pinar del Rio, Kilo 7 and others. The Capitiolo was reserved for children up to the age of 10, in the recognition that counter-revolutionary, anti-social sentiments may manifest themselves at an early age.
During his “five decades of resilience, progress, allegiance to peace and social equality”, two million Cubans, evidently feeling themselves unworthy of so Utopian a society, contrived to escape to America; more than 30,000 were killed in the attempt. The total number of eggs broken by Fidel, amounting to almost 50,000 human beings, did not restrain him from denouncing the 3,000 deaths in Chile when Augusto Pinochet launched a pre-emptive strike against a Cuban-directed Marxist coup. Even then, the totemic figure of 3,000 was only achieved by the ingenious expedient of adding into the total those who were killed fighting on Pinochet’s side.
So much for the broken eggs: the omelette remained perennially elusive. To listen to useful idiot apologists for the Castro regime is to revisit nostalgically the world of tractor production statistics in the Caucasus under Stalin. It was the Maximum Leader’s proudest boast that his country had 70,000 doctors. It may have trained something approaching that number, but many (“tens of thousands” by Castro’s own estimate) were exported to Angola as part of Castro’s Marxist-imperialist outreach to African nations.
Others were reserved for foreign visitors and the Party nomenklatura, serviced by showcase clinics. The last census (1953) before Castro seized power recorded one doctor for every 1,000 Cubans; under the Maximum Leader’s healthcare miracle the unprivileged lumpen proletariat had to bring its own bedding, thread for sutures and even light-bulbs when they entered the Marxist state’s vermin-infested hospitals as patients.
After half a century of unchallengeable power, when Castro celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his revolution in 2009, Cuba had progressed from third place out of 11 Latin American countries for per capita daily calorific intake, as recorded by the United Nations Statistical Yearbook, to 11th and last. Food imports, on an island that ought to have been self-sufficient, cost $1.4bn a year. On the index of economic freedom Cuba ranked 150th out of 157 nations. The overtures made by Barack Obama to Castro’s successor and brother Raul (like North Korea, this Marxist dictatorship is reassuringly dynastic) were supposed to have produced some minor economic liberalization, but the evidence suggests those cosmetic reforms are now being put into reverse.
The vileness of the regime and the socialism it embodies was personified by Ernesto “Che” Guevara who occupied an office overlooking a prison yard so that he could divert himself by watching executions. His puckish sense of humour prompted him, whenever a woman came to plead for the life of her son, to have the youth brought out and shot under his mother’s eyes. Tee-hee. What a caution. That is the man whose face iconically adorns, even today, the tee-shirts and bed-sits of our morally censorious youth. The one execution Che evidently did not enjoy was his own, as he shouted urgently at those taking aim: “I’m Che! I’m more use to you alive!”
With their tutelary genius deceased and their indulgent neighbour Obama replaced by Donald Trump, a conviction capitalist and anti-Communist who owes his election to the Cuban émigré community that delivered the state of Florida to him, the prospects for Cuba’s Red tyrants look unpromising.
Castro was the last surviving plague bacillus of the Marxist disease that reached pandemic proportions in the 20th century and whose eradication from the economic sphere must now be followed by its similar elimination from Western culture. Castro’s funeral will be on 4 December, coinciding with the Italian constitutional referendum and the Austrian presidential election. That could be a punishing date for the left. Whatever the outcome, Castro’s departure has made the world a cleaner place.