8/05 Fascination With Fidel

Fascination With Fidel

Larry Pratt

Humberto Fontova’s study of Fidel Castro is aptly named Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant. Why Fidel? Well, there are not that many communists left, and Fidel is still an unreconstructed Stalinist. So, you love what’s available. Even the Chinese communist thugocracy is somewhat tainted since they have dabbled in commerce rather than sticking to all communes. So, let’s all cheer for Fidel!

There are a bunch of folks in Hollywood (as well as academia and the media) willing to believe that Stalin had it right and would have produced a paradise had it not been for Hitler’s attack on the joyful experiment in making heaven on earth in the Soviet empire. Similar excuses have been offered for Fidel’s failure. It’s the United States’ fault, you know.

A frequent excuse for the failure of socialism and communism is the opposition from hostile capitalist powers. Truth be told, capitalists are all too often eager to trade with communist despots. Some capitalists are particularly eager to trade with tyrants if the capitalists can con their own governments into subsidizing them. The subsidies come in the form of bailouts for when the capitalists inevitably fail to find “the great market” in the socialist paradise.

The adulation of the American chattering class for a blood-soaked murderer such as Fidel Castro is instructive. It gives us an insight to understand the thinking of what would be in store for us in the United States if these folks ever got a full grip on the throttle of American government.

Facts don’t intrude too often in the make-believe world of socialist thinking. The fact that Batista was of African descent was something that totally escaped the director Sydney Pollack who cast Batista in the person of Robert Redford in the movie Havana. Such ignorance is perhaps but symbolic of the assumptions that Cuba was an economic backwater before Castro. In real life, Castro took an economy that in some measures performed better than a number of Western Europe countries and took it to the bottom of the heap in world rankings.

Fontova quotes Alexandr Solzenitsyn saying that “The worst part of Communism is being forced to live a lie.” Well, the worst part of being a useful idiot is forcing oneself to never admit the truth. The Castro fan club makes this point quite well.

For example, Fontova reports on the shameless admiration of Pulitzer prize-winning writer Alice Walker who recently traveled to Cuba a few months after Castro had jailed a bunch of folks for being “dissidents.” Among the troublemakers were thirty-four journalists and independent librarians (can’t be too careful with those owners of Animal Farm and those nogoodniks who want to sneak a peak on the internet)! Here is what bimbo Walker had to say: “I simply love Cuba and its people, including Fidel. He’s like a great redwood.” Presumably she was not implying that it takes a great tree to hang so many people on it.

The murders, the thefts and the conversion of Cuba into a huge prison camp (boy would the folks in Cuba love to get locked up in Gitmo!) are all chronicled by Fontova. All of this information is readily available — to all but the Hollywood types and their hangers on.

One footnote that helps explain the left’s rant against Ambassador John Bolton’s appointment to the U.N. — Senator Chris Dodd is an ardent opponent of sanctions. Why, Senator Dodd even took a fact-finding trip to Cuba in 2002. It was obvious to the Senator, who looks at the world as a socialist, that Castro’s communism was not responsible for the tyranny and poverty in Cuba. No, it’s all the fault of Bad, Capitalist USA. Dodd’s opposition to Bolton had everything to do with Bolton’s success while working in the State Department to keep sanctions in spite of Dodd’s sympathy for the Communist dictator and Dodd’s desire to prop up Castro’s thugocracy.

Oh, and did I mention that Castro thinks that gun control is just fine? The Nazis had only to tweak the gun control law passed by the Weimar Republic’s democratically elected socialists. The Weimar folks thought gun control would keep the likes of Hitler under control. Well, Batista ended up in the same pantheon of useful idiots as the leaders of the Weimar Republic. He thought gun registration would keep Castro out of power. Turned out it was Castro who found the gun registry helpful — the second day in power he had his goon squads go door to door and get all the guns on Batista’s gun registration list.

[I interviewed Humberto Fontova on my Live Fire radio show on July 23, 2005. It can be found at http://www.gunowners.org/radio.htm.]