Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro dead at 90

Abajo Fidel! This cry has been on the hearts, minds and mouths of many Cubans, especially those in America.  The day has finally come when the phrase has taken on reality. Today, Fidel Castro passed away at the age of 90.  Born Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz in 1926 and educated by the Jesuits, Castro would take on a big role as an adult. He adopted leftist (Marxist)ideas while studying at the University of Havana and was the son of a wealthy farmer. Fidel Castro would use these ideas to rule over Cuba after overthrowing the government. At first, he failed to overthrow President Fulgencio Batista in 1953 and was imprisioned. Afterwards, while in Mexico, he formed the "26th of July Movement" with his brother Raul and Che Guevara.  With this movement, he overthrew President Batista in 1959 and took over Cuba becoming its prime minister from 1959 to 1976 and then its president from 1976 to 2008.  The government of the United States did not like Castro and wanted to assasinate him. There were about 634 attempts to assasinate Castro with each failing.  Because of this, Castro became allies with the Soviet Union and allowed them to place nuclear arsenal on the island which began the Cuban Missile Crisis building up to the Cold War era.

The United States would respond with an embargo as a way of forcing economic harm to small island-nation. The embargo had no real success, but the nation did fall into ruin. While its people are well educated and hospitals have well-trained doctors, the island is pretty much frozen in time with citizens using old vehicles from the 1940s and living in run-down edifices. Castro controlled every aspect of the Cuban people. He transormed the nation into one ruled by Communism, taking control of every facet of government and private life. All free speech and expression was suppressed. Those who spoke out against Castro were either killed or imprisioned. In 1999, Saint John Paul II met with him and spoke out against the abuses against human rights and religious freedom.  Shortly after, changes came. The Catholic Church was given more freedom to celebrate Christmas and other holy days. Even more changes came after Pope emeritus Benedict XVI visited in 2012 and told Castro that his political experiment no longer corresponded with the reality of the times.  Castro was the third longest serving head of state and holds the world record of the longest speech at the United Nations. His death was announced on state television by his brother Raul who announced a nine day mourning period. His remainds were cremated.  Many Cubans in exile took to the streets in Miami to celebrate the death of the dictator. World leaders commented on his death, some causing controversy such as Obama who failed to condemen his poor human rights record and the prime minister of Canada who praised him as a great leader.  President-elect Donald Trump and his vice president choice, Mike Pence both condemened Castro and hope for democracy to take hold in Cuba.

My thoughts
The response to Castro's death has been interesting with some praising him and others not so. As a Catholic Christian, I can only pray for his soul. His acts and words judge him by themselves, so I need not make a judgement. Based on what I know, Castro oppressed his own people. He restricted basic freedoms and while preaching Socialism and Communism, lived a lavish life full of riches while his people had to line up for rations. I understand why some are celebrating his death, however, I find that distasteful. We should never celebrate the death of another, even is that person was bad. All have sinned before God, excluding Mary the mother of Christ and Christ of course while on earth as a human male. We should pray for his soul. Fidel Castro was an atheist. Atheism has a long history of oppressing people and free thought.  He was a prime example.

Some atheists claim to be "good without God," however, we can see what happens to a person when he or she removes God from his or her life. The person becomes void of morals and conscience. Atheism has a bad human rights record in light of this. Fidel Castro was a product of indoctrination on campus. This is a big problem. Today, we see so many young people protesting and requesting "safe spaces" due to some leftist professors pontificating to them views that are irrational, yet chick. Universities can be great places to learn, but also dangerous places where some promote ideologies that threaten the moral and social fabric of humanity. It is sad that Cuba has suffered under dictator after dictator. We must hope and pray that Cuba will change and become a more viable democratic society that respects the basic human rights of its citizens. While Castro did improve education on the island, what good is it if the people cannot freely speak and express themselves?  When Jesus said "forgive them for they know not what they do," he had people like Fidel Castro in mind. Pray for his soul. Only God can judge Castro. May He have mercy on His soul.



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