It is never a sad day when a monster dies.
Fidel Castro, the mass murderer who sadistically tormented the Cuban people for nearly fifty years, died on Friday at the age of 90. Thousands of Cuban exiles understandably celebrated in the streets of Miami. Leftists around the world, meanwhile, dutifully mourned their fallen secular deity. Progressives always grieve when the vicious enforcers of class hatred die.
While leftists sob for one of the most evil tyrants of the modern era, those who cherish freedom and human rights are never sad to have one less monster walking the earth.
And so, on this significant occasion, it would do well to offer a reflection on the pain and blood that this particular monster left in his wake.
On July 13, 1994, 72 desperate Cuban citizens, including seniors and young children, floated on a wooden tugboat in a turbulent sea, trying to make their way to Florida and dreaming of the freedom that now lingered within their grasp. Their aspirations were met with a nightmarish jolt when Castro’s patrol boats suddenly rammed the back of their vessel. The frightened women held up their little children in the air to let Castro’s thugs know what the situation entailed. And the thugs returned their expected response: on the orders of the head beast in charge, they blasted the mothers with children in hand with their water cannon, mowing them — and all the other escapees on board — into the merciless waves.
Maria Garcia lost her son, Juanito, that tragic day. She also lost her husband, brother, sister, two uncles and three cousins. In all, 43 people drowned — 11 of them children. This evil murderous act became known as Castro’s Tugboat Massacre. Yisel Alvarez was 4 when she drowned. Carlos Anaya was 3. Helen Martinez was 6 months old.
Castro gave the orders for this evil massacre — and the deaths of Carlos, Yisel and Helen made him especially proud. That is why he personally decorated one of the water-cannon gunners himself.
Fidel had always derived special pleasure from sending helicopters to drop sandbags onto the rafts of would-be escapees from his prison-island, or to just gun them all down. The Tugboat Massacre, however, proved to be a special delight for him, because there were children involved. And the blood of innocent children, as Anna Geifman documents, is always a special delicacy for totalitarian death cults, whether they be of the communist or Islamist variety.
The Tugboat Massacre was a perfect reflection of the nature and history of Castro’s barbaric regime. From the day he seized power on January 1, 1959, execution, torture and slavery became the norms of the day. Half a million Cubans have passed through Cuba’s Gulag Archipelago, giving the regime the distinction of having the highest political incarceration rate per capita on earth, even higher than Stalin’s and Hitler’s. There have been more than fifteen thousand executions by firing squad. Torture has been institutionalized. The use of electric shock, dark coffin-sized isolation cells, and beatings is routine. The horror is best epitomized by the Camilo Cienfuegos plan, the communist nightmare that was implemented in the forced-labor camp on the Isle of Pines. Forced to work almost naked, prisoners were routinely tortured, made to cut grass with their teeth and to sit in latrine trenches for long periods of time.
Typical of the horror in Castro’s Gulag was the experience of 25-year-old political inmate Roberto López Chávez. When he went on a hunger strike to protest the abuses in the prison, the guards withheld water from him until he became delirious, twisting on the floor and begging for something to drink. A guard then urinated in his mouth. Roberto died the next day.
But there were not to be any tears shown for Roberto. In public anyway. For just as in Mao’s China and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Castro’s Cuba has always warned family members of murdered dissidents to never cry at their funerals. Grief is just not right in a utopia, and especially the kind shown for the deaths of the enemies of state.
But grief is ultra-necessary, of course, if the head monster dies. And that is why Raúl has now announced nine days of mandatory mourning for Fidel.
The horrors of Castro’s Cuba have been solidly documented by Humberto Fontova in Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant and by Pascal Fontaine in The Black Book of Communism.
Armando Valladares’s memoir, Against All Hope, meanwhile, serves as Cuba’s version of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. A Cuban poet, Valladares endured twenty-two years of torture and imprisonment for merely raising the issue of freedom. Valladares recounts how prisoners were beaten with bayonets, electric cables, and truncheons. He vividly details how he and other prisoners were forced to take “baths” in human feces and urine. Against all Hope is a must-read for all those seeking the truth about the demon that Castro was.
Together with the atrocious political repression, Cubans have also suffered from the miserable economic devastation caused by Castro’s communist economics. Cuba became one of the poorest nations in the world under Castro. Its sugar, tobacco, and cattle industries were all major sources of exports in the pre-Castro era. Castro destroyed them all and turned Cuba into a beggar nation. Even Haitian refugees avoid Cuba.
Orwell’s Animal Farm could not have more accurately captured the sorry reality of “equality” in this pathological communist environment, as it manifests itself in all communist environments. Indeed, it became clear very quickly after the revolution that while all Cubans were equal, some were more equal than others. And that is why, while ordinary Cubans scrape for crumbs, the privileged communists in Castro’s nomenklatura live like millionaires.
Thus, we begin to understand why Cubans relentlessly try to escape from their living nightmare. And since they are not allowed to leave freely, they have to try to escape. It is telling that pre-Castro Cuba had the highest per-capita immigration rate in the Western hemisphere. Under Castro, approximately two million Cuban citizens (out of eleven million) have escaped their country. Many have done so by floating on rafts or inner tubes in shark-infested waters. Tragically, an estimated fifty thousand to eighty-seven thousandhave lost their lives in this effort.
While Castro starved his people and kept them in their painful chains, his evil machinations took many other directions. The Cuban tyrant also distinguished himself as a major drug kingpin who perpetually smuggled drugs into the U.S., among into various other places. He used nerve gas (Sarin) against Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA troops in Angola. He armed and trained terrorists worldwide, including Palestinian terrorists, Colombia’s FARC and the IRA. “Carlos The Jackal,” known as the world’s most notorious terrorist throughout the 1970’s, received his training in Cuba and lived there for years. Throughout Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, some 42,000 terrorists received their training in Cuba. It is no great surprise, therefore, that the U.S. State Department listed Cubaprominently among its “State Sponsors of Terrorism” from 1982-2015.
But even for evil men, not all their diabolical yearnings achieve earthly incarnations. And so it was to be that the highest sinister achievement that Fidel craved remained unfulfilled, seeing that Nikita Khrushchev did not oblige to the Cuban dictator’s shouts and screams during the October missile crisis in 1962 when Fidel vehemently plead with the Soviet leader to launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack on the United States.
It is not difficult to see why, then, Nov. 25, 2016 marks such a special day.
A monster died.
It was a day on which it seemed most appropriate for our hearts to harken back to the memory of 72 desperate Cuban citizens who dared to dream of freedom and who set out, on July 13, 1994, with little children in tow, on a wooden tugboat into the turbulent sea.
Their fate represented the fate of all ordinary Cubans who, over the last half-century, suffered and bled at the hands of a vicious sadist running a killing machine.
And that is why Nov. 25, 2016 delivered a poignant lesson: Though the Castro tyranny remains firmly intact even with its head founder gone, the death of a monster serves as a crucial notice that while tyrants may think they are gods, they are, in the end, just mortal monsters — awaiting their final summons.
And we can be rest assured in whose hot-iron hands Fidel finds himself squirming now.
We can also be rest assured that, despite all of the human blood and pain that Fidel left in his murderous path, a light of redemption now flickers on the horizon, because some quiet, yet reassuring whisper manages to tell us, from on high, that no man-made Gulag or water-cannon gunners can ever suffocate the freedom that lies in the heart of man.
It is that same whisper that consoles us about that terrible day on July 13, 1994, telling us that, despite the tears and grief that the Tugboat massacre spawned, that still, in those fateful hours, we can be sure that Yisel Alvarez, Carlos Anaya and Helen Martinez touched the face of God.
It is never a sad day when a monster dies.