Most of my friends on FaceBook (FB) are socialists, who profess Marxist-Leninist concepts of communism. That is where I come from, we shared the same beliefs. We fought for a "classless" society, a society of plenty for all and we were for the suppression of any form of "exploitation". We shared these concepts and most of them yet believe in these ideas. This entire spectrum of my FB friends also come from small socialist groups from which they have been expelled or resigned from. They all attest to the authoritarian nature of their party leadership which expelled them. These comrades from the relative comfort of their retired life or near retirement in the U.S., freely mock and criticize their past leaders.
The dichotomy is that these same FB friends of mine with great grief announce to each other the passing away of "comrade" Fidel Castro, saying "Rest in peace comrade!" Somehow they miss the fact that their "comrade" who is resting in "peace", persecuted people of Cuba who disagreed with him. Dissidents of Cuba did not have the luxury of my FB "comrades" to criticize their "leader". The grief of my "comrades" takes them to length of finding religious solace to relate to the fact that Fidel Castro is dead: "Rest in peace comrade!" Fidel Castro is not resting and he is not in peace or agony. Fidel Castro is just dead and he is dead like any other person who dies. This is the most recent fact about Fidel Castro.
The other facts about the life of Fidel Castro tell us that he was a very charismatic person. He was able to persuade others and recruit them to his project of opposition to the then Batista led government of Cuba. After a failed attempt for the overthrow of Batista in 1953, his "26th of July Movement" was able to overthrow Batista in 1959. This made him singularly the most popular figure in Cuba and in much of the undeveloped regions of the world. While his movement began as a genuinely democratic movement, very soon he sided with the Soviet backed communist party of Cuba and aligned itself with the Soviet Union in the Cold War between the two major powers of the world. He sided with the Soviet Union against the U.S. In that context, Fidel Castro projected himself as the leader of the "struggle" of the backward forces of the world against "imperialism". This term, imperialism, was a fictitious fabrication of Lenin at the beginning of the 20th century.
The end of WWII and its aftermath clearly showed that in the countries that the democratic forces were strong, like countries of Western Europe, the U.S. without too much effort could align itself with those forces and expand democracy in Europe. In many countries of Western Europe democracy had a precarious situation prior to WWII. In Europe the U.S. could create an enduring alignment against backward forces of communism that had dominated the Eastern Europe. That was the political core of the Cold War. In the less developed countries where the forces of democracy were weak, the U.S. did not see any alternative but to align itself with any forces that were anti communist. The U.S. could not rely on the weak democratic forces of the undeveloped societies. The capitulation of the Fidel Castro and his "26th of July Movement" to communism clearly underlines the weakness of those democratic forces in Cuba. In the entire undeveloped world which more commonly was called the "third world", the weak democratic forces could not act independently and more often than not capitulated to the communist ideology and their parties. One can argue that under those circumstances Fidel Castro was incapable of seeing the main currents and the predominant underlying forces of his time. He was not able to comprehend the meaning of the Cold War. But his incapacity does not make him a hero. He can be a candidate to receive a medal for his backward thinking and leading the Cubans in the wrong direction.
Fidel Castro was a general who continuously hid the atrocities of the Russian communist party in the Soviet Union and the Eastern Europe by pointing to the "Imperialism" of the U.S. as a distraction. Castro joining forces with the Soviet Union in the Cold War can be credited with the lengthening of that war and the lengthening of the misery of all the people who were ruled by the Russian Communist Party. After the demise of the Soviet Union, China's move toward market economy, Vietnam's immediate move after the war toward the U.S., its nemesis during the Vietnam war, all of these and more, in a practical way showed that the forces that Fidel Castro had aligned with did not have any future.
The demise of the Soviet Union had another effect. For the first time the pressures of communism were lifted which weighed heavily on the weak democratic forces of the undeveloped world. And those democratic forces found an opportunity to act. Since the downfall of communism almost the entire undeveloped world has been moving in the direction of democracy. The dictatorship of generals in South America were pushed aside and their atrocities were put on trial in Chile, Argentina and elsewhere. This trend is evident in the whole world and again in a practical way it was shown that the U.S. is not an obstacle on the path to democracy but on the contrary it has been pushing for democracy, wherever possible, since it's 1776 inception. It has been a complicated path but the general trend is clear as clear can be.
Cuban communism isolated, Cuba broken economically because of the practices of the Cuban communist party, its sole leader Fidel Castro could not see the evidence. He died refusing to see the plain facts. I think he is a candidate for a medal of political idiocy. They should pin it on his grave or on the urn that is keeping his ashes.
I know, I know, nobody has a pin ready. The leaders of the world and even the representatives of President Obama are lining up to pay their respect to the passing away of Fidel Castro, a political idiot. The political idiocy of Fidel Castro was not singular, in a sense our societies are bearing it in a very complicated way. I was there until a while ago. That is a discussion for another time.