You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

breaking news

UPDATE: Tornado watch until 6 a.m.; severe storms still possible

Parker: No tears for Fidel


Sometimes history doesn’t have to wait to judge — and when it comes to dictators, even dead ones, we shouldn’t either.

With news of Fidel Castro’s death Friday — finalmente — world leaders began offering eulogies, some of which were so vapid or willfully ignorant that Castro might have written them himself. It would appear in any case that the 20th century’s quintessential “Big Brother” managed to infect a few world leaders with an Orwellian strain of mushy-mouthed aphasia.

Apparently bereft of the right words, they treated Castro’s brutality as polite unmentionables.

Did they miss the screams?

Growing up in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis, running bomb shelter drills and hearing the stories of refugees who became lifelong friends, I somehow managed to evade the charms of the revolutionary rogue, who merely replaced one dictatorship with another far worse.

It’s one thing to be respectful of the Cuban people — and I’m not suggesting we celebrate anyone’s death. But it is another to sidestep the historical horrors of a murderous, 60-year military regime and strike a pose of diplomatic equanimity that assuages only gluttons of insincerity.

No wonder so many of them chose to express themselves through Twitter — a communication format well-suited to the small and shallow. Nancy Pelosi tweeted that Castro’s death “marks the end of an era.” Stalin’s death did, too, but who’s judging? Justin Trudeau, Canada’s happy-boy prime minister, called Castro a “remarkable leader,” who “made significant improvements” to Cuba, presumably by taking over all private possessions and culling the island of the middle class. Attaboy.

And then there’s Jimmy Carter, under whose watch Castro sent 125,000 inmates as well as other lesser desirables to our shores. As a younger reporter, I spent a week in Miami’s “Tent City,” where local and state officials tried to figure out where to put hundreds of criminals and the mentally challenged. This was thanks to Carter’s telling Castro that countless Cubans wished to leave Cuba.

Carter, for whom irony apparently is what the maid does to his dress shirts, remembered Castro “fondly.” Perhaps as one reaches the age of wisdom, one leans toward greater charity.

President Barack Obama noted that Cubans are filled with emotions, “recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation.”

Yes, death, torture, oppression, imprisonment, a state-controlled media and a miserable, state-run economy will flat-out alter a person’s course. Obama then grabbed history’s tail and gave it a yank, saying, “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”

Aw, come on, let’s beat history to it. One of the worst dictators in modern history has mercifully died.

History will strain little in judging Castro or in sorting out his effect on the world. Now that Obama has eased the decades-long U.S. embargo, as well as restrictions on travel, the tiny nation has a shot at reinvention. Already, Fidel’s brother, Raul, has made some changes. The once-subterranean “dollar economy” that has kept many Cubans financially afloat thanks to Cuban-American relatives sending money, is now being openly encouraged by Raul.

President-elect Donald Trump would do well to stay in this lane rather than threaten to reinstate the embargo. He should understand that Castro loved the embargo more than anyone because, as ever, he could blame the U.S. for his failures. For Trump to fall into this same trap would be a post-mortem gift to Castro and breathe new life into cruel legacy — the dictator’s final triumph over America and the several U.S. presidents who could never quite bury him.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters: If Trump succeeds people will support him

Sorry to see President Trump starting office on such a bumpy road. However, if he sticks to his determination to bring America back to where it was, I think the people will rally around him. Also, he must sound more humble and connect with those who are against him. God Bless him in his endeavors. PHYLLIS FRANCO, PALM BEACH GARDENS Trump should be...
Editorial: Raja’s ‘fear for life’ excuse falls flat
Editorial: Raja’s ‘fear for life’ excuse falls flat

There are things we have long known about the October 2015 tragic shooting of Corey Jones by former Palm Beach Gardens Police officer Nouman Raja. That Raja, while working a plainclothes detail to prevent car burglaries in parking lots, shot Jones to death on an Interstate 95 off-ramp. That Raja drove his unmarked white police surveillance van up the...
Commentary: Trump deserves our love, cooperation
Commentary: Trump deserves our love, cooperation

Well, here we are. We have a new administration, maybe even a new era. Hailed at least for the time being by some; strategically tolerated, again at least for now, by others. An unbelievable carnivalesque sound: “President Trump.” I didn’t think we’d be here; I didn’t think it would happen. Count me among the mystified...
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: Jan. 22
Palm Beach Post editorial cartoon: Jan. 22

CARTOON VIEW DANA SUMMERS
POINT OF VIEW Workers’ comp should protect Florida’s businesses, workers
POINT OF VIEW Workers’ comp should protect Florida’s businesses, workers

It’s no secret to lawmakers, business owners and workers throughout the state that Florida’s workers’ compensation system is in need of reform. With the recent unnecessary rate hike in premiums for workers’ comp insurance, the state’s economy will suffer along with the looming potential for job loss. Recent coverage of...
More Stories