by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s not easy to run a hideous dictatorship and still have fans and defenders in fashionable quarters, but the Castro regime has managed it for decades.
The mass, spontaneous protests that broke out all over Cuba last weekend are yet another sign that the country’s government lacks legitimacy. In Cuba, it is the government versus the people, and lo, all these years, Castro’s apologists have been with the government.
They have romanticized Fidel Castro, the founding father of Cuba’s junta. They have swallowed its propaganda. They have made excuses for it. They have looked away from its crimes. And they have blamed America for its manifest failures.
If the protests continue in Cuba, there will be an existential struggle between people in the streets displaying American flags and chanting for freedom and an organized-crime syndicate that rules by force and has long held the affection of American Left.
During his presidential-primary campaign last year, Bernie Sanders wouldn’t back off from his supportive statements about the Castro regime over the years — yes, the government should be less authoritarian, but it has done so much good, he said. Filmmaker Michael Moore made a popular movie extolling the Cuban health-care system.
Upon Fidel’s death in 2016, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau expressed his “deep sorrow” at the death of “Cuba’s longest-serving president” (when a president jails his opponents, he can indeed stay in office a long time).
Cuba’s regime has long benefited from the romantic image of violent Latin American revolutionaries (Che Guevara is a ubiquitous progressive mascot), the fact that it is a left-wing, rather than right-wing, dictatorship, and that it has always fed off anti-American sentiments.
The rationalizations offered for the regime are tinny and misleading.