Was Fidel Castro a revolutionary leader or a tyrant? | The Tylt
Cuban leader Fidel Castro passed away Thanksgiving weekend at 90-years-old. What will be his legacy? His supporters call him a "revolutionary leader" who fought for the poor, freedom and peace. His detractors call him a tyrant. Critics say he denied millions of Cubans basic rights, exiled and punished many who opposed him with an iron fist. How will the controversial, complex Castro be remembered—as a hero or villain? Read more and vote below.
Was Fidel Castro a revolutionary leader or a tyrant?
Castro's supporters say he fought for the poor, but his critics argue he brought economic ruin to Cuba.
On one hand, Al Jazeera reports:
Critics say Castro drove the country into economic ruin, denied basic freedoms to 11 million Cubans at home and forced more than a million others into exile.
"In 55 years, the Cuban government has not done anything to help the Cuban people in terms of human rights," said Hector Maseda, 72, a former political prisoner who lives in Havana. "I don't believe in this regime. I don't trust it."
On the other hand:
Castro was "a giant of the Third World," said Agustin Diaz Cartaya, 85, who joined Castro in the 1953 attack in eastern Cuba that launched the revolution. "No one has done more for the Third World than Fidel Castro."
For five decades, he worked to turn the island nation into a place of equality and social justice. His government produced tens of thousands of doctors and teachers and achieved some of the lowest infant mortality and illiteracy rates in the Western hemisphere.
Cuban-American politicians and leaders largely opposed Fidel Castro. Many tweeted their disdain for the "tyrant" and spoke about the victims who opposed the leader.
In a Medium post and statement, Black Lives Matter acknowledged that no leader is perfect. But the grassroots organization praised Castro for his leadership, and fight for freedom and peace.
According to BLM:
- Castro provided resources to victims of Haiti's earthquake disaster of 2010
- He attempted to support victims of the Hurricane Katrina as well
- BLM also thanked Castro for providing shelter to radical Black leaders
Nuño listed some of Castro's foes:
These include members of Congress such as Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Díaz-Balart and Carlos Curbelo, all three Florida Republicans to U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, both Republicans and Bob Menéndez, a New Jersey Democrat.
He added many of these leaders didn't support President Barack Obama when he eased relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
The Black Lives Matter Network states that conservative views of Castro must be challenged:
Although no leader is without their flaws, we must push back against the rhetoric of the right and come to the defense of El Comandante.
Cuban politicians and leaders aren't the only Cubans reacting to Castro's death. Many agree with the politicians—celebrating his death.
But just as in life, Castro was a divisive figure in death and there are many Cubans who say he was a hero to the island nation.