Cuba

4 Categories of Castro Apologetics, and the Anti-Individualism That Knits Them Together

Bad things happen when you wave off cases of individual repression, either home or abroad.

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Written by the great Glenn Garvin. ||| Reason
Reason

As America settles in for some prevent defense against ever-advancing authoritarianism at home, it is potentially useful to examine the categories of apologetics for the advanced authoritarian who just expired 90 miles away. Since bad political argumentation is fungible across ideological and partisan lines, chances are versions of these tacks will be deployed in service of hand-wavery about our current and future caudillos, as they certainly have been in the past.

Category 1: Trudeautastic euphemism. Amply covered in this space by Anthony Fisher and Nick Gillespie, this is the practice of cramming into a brief anodyne phrase one's entire acknowledgment that just maybe there might be legitimate objections to a murderous dictator who impoverished his country and banned the Beatles while advocating first-strike nuclear attacks on the United States and throwing gays into camps. See, for example, the phrase "A controversial figure for sure," in this glowing tribute from Peter Schwab, author of Cuba: Confronting the U.S. Embargo.

Category 2: The last gasp of Whataboutism. Or, "the enemy of the target of my domestic criticism is my 'controversial figure.'"

"Whataboutism" refers to the Cold War commie tactic, embraced by many domestic doves, of immediately changing the subject from communist tyranny to American sin, whether it be in domestic treatment of minorities or foreign militarism abroad. Since Castro's Revolution promised (though did not deliver) the abolition of racism while providing safe harbor to several fugitive Black Panthers, in addition to surviving multiple attacks both literal and attritional from the Yanquis to the north, the whataboutism was rich with potential examples.

You could see this prematurely world-weary tic all over this weekend's Twitter, including from the presidential candidate who won 1.04 percent of the popular vote:

You could also read it on the Instagram feed of famously lefty Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello:

"With what morality can the US leaders talk of human rights in a country where there are millionaires and beggars, where blacks face discrimination and great masses of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans and Latin Americans are deprecated, exploited and humiliated?"-Fidel. While I don't agree with all that Fidel Castro did[*] there is ample reason why he is vilified in the US and yet remains a huge hero throughout the Third World. By defying Yankee imperialism for 50 years, instituting the best healthcare, child immunization and literacy systems in the Western Hemisphere (surpassing the US and Canada), exporting doctors to countries in need all over the globe (the Bush administration turned down his offer to send medical teams to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina), and being an unrepentant advocate of the poor and exploited it is no surprise that millions will mourn his passing. Audioslave was the first US rock band to ever play in Cuba and that experience will be one I will always treasure, especially the trip we took to a former country club of the wealthy that had been turned into a free college for gifted musicians. #vivalarevolucion #RIPFidel

* See Category 1. (Also, read my Rage Against the Machine anecdote from 1998 Havana here.)

Category 3: Yeah, I remember my first beer. During big news events it's hard to stand out amongst the cacophony of commentary, so hats off, I guess, to Ronald Howell, who—God help his students—"teaches English and journalism at Brooklyn College." This is how Howell marked Castro's passing in the New York Daily News:

Okay, the media failed supremely in not realizing Americans could elect an empty-headed, knee-jerk liar as President. But, still, I say the greatest media shortcoming of the past half century was not recognizing that Fidel Castro was the most dedicated and powerful proponent of racial justice the world has ever known.

That would be news to, among many other people, the late Black Panther hijacker Bill Brent, who I interviewed at length in Havana 18 years ago, and who at the time of his death was working on a book documenting the Revolution's failures on race relations. Though apparently the Medium account of Black Lives Matter hasn't quite caught up.

Category 4: Celebrity testimonials. Since the actually revolutionary portion of the Revolution, as the great Glenn Garvin has documented in the pages of Reason (and if you haven't read Garvin's Miami Herald Castro obit, drop what you're doing and check it out now), the bearded bastard has played Western intelligentsia like a flute. Not unlike the way Vaclav Klaus was able to dine out for decades among Anglo-American free-market types with a few well-chosen Thatcher quotes and digs at Al Gore, Castro warded off international skepticism by cultivating key sympathizers.

Or as Ronald Howell puts, it, "Castro's commitment to black Americans was shown early on, notably in 1960, when he came to New York City fresh from his leftist revolution in Cuba, and sat with Malcolm X in Harlem, cameras clicking for all the world to see." New photo op proves it!

What do these four categories of apologia have in common? My theory stems in part from a seemingly innocuous line in a rather pointless front-pager in today's New York Times about Fidel Castro's approach to sports:

Castro banned professional sports in Cuba in 1961, and several years later, said, "Anybody who truly loves sport, and feels sport, has to prefer this sport to professional sport by a thousand times."

His strategy worked for decades as Cuba played baseball against mostly amateur competition, or non-major leaguers, winning 18 championships in the Baseball World Cup from 1961 to 2005 and three Olympic gold medals from 1992 to 2004.

Italics mine. By what measuring stick could you say that Castro's strategy of banning professional sports "worked"? From the perspective of the individual fans? No, they saw vastly inferior baseball, once the AAA Havana Sugar Kings left town, there were no more professional leagues to attract Major League Players to play during the winter, and the island's best either defected or stagnated against lesser competition. From the perspective of the individual athletes themselves? Obviously not; here's how the great post-Revolution émigré Luis Tiant put it in an interview with ESPN.com:

You couldn't leave. You had to defect. That was hard, but the worst was worrying about your family and what could happen to them. They lectured you on what they would do to your family if you did not come back. That was the system. So many great players were unable to develop because they couldn't get out. There were so many good players who stayed.

[Castro] hampered the development of baseball. Cuba was the country with the most Latin American players in the majors until the regime took over and set everything back. It's incredible, all those players that were unable to succeed, so many good ones. When I played, when I left, there were 50 or 60 players as good as me or better than me. And they could never get out. They all stayed there.

No, the only way in which you can say Castro's authoritarian banning "worked" is if you deny the plight and agency of the individual, and subsume it all in favor of an up-down measurement of the collectivized state. This is, in the final analysis, what all these categories of apologetics have in common—the euphemism, the whataboutism, the juvenilia, the outsourcing of judgment to celebrities: They all gloss over or plow under or just ignore the fate of individual people suffering under a dictatorship.

That's a lesson for all of us. When your argument about a politician or a policy or a system waves an impatient hand when presented with acts of individual repression, it's a good time to step back from the keyboard or microphone or legislative drafting session and check yourself. Human beings are not here on this earth to provide propaganda fodder for a despot's statistics bureau; they are here to be free and to pursue happiness as they see fit.

The United States falls short of this ideal every day, which provides excellent reason to get up and get after it in the morning. But recognizing failure here (preferably by its non-euphemistic name) does not grant a blanket excuse for downplaying it elsewhere.

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195 responses to “4 Categories of Castro Apologetics, and the Anti-Individualism That Knits Them Together

  1. It baffles me that free people can do anything but condemn Fidel Castro. And by baffles I mean disgusts.

    1. No, I get it. At a time when US companies really were raping Latin America, Castro came along and actually told the US to FU, and got it to stick by enlisting the help of the Soviets and their nukes. He was a giant pain in the ass of Uncle Sam and for that alone a lot of people liked him. The whole death camp thing? Eh……

        1. Canadian?

        2. If a cosmotarian squish with leftist leanings like Welch can understand what the Castro regime really was, WHY CAN’T YOU TWO?

          1. They liked Castro because he fought the local sheriff (the US) and won, unlike most everyone else in the neighborhood (Latin America). They really don’t give a shit about the death camp stuff. Which is awful, of course. But that is why they don’t denounce Castro.

            1. This is true. For an example, see any comment by american socialist on this very forum.

            2. I do understand the thinking from certain leftists, but ffs keep the admiration to yourself. Who is so unaware that praising a man who jails writers and musicians and homosexual Cubans wouldn’t rub some of your progressive followers the wrong way, and could easily be tossed right back in your face by critics of leftism?

              1. Who is so unaware that praising a man who jails writers and musicians and homosexual Cubans wouldn’t rub some of your progressive followers the wrong way

                I saw a graphic on lefty Facebook praising Castro for his stance on homosexuality?

            3. By this logic they should love Hitler.

            4. I don’t think he won. At all.

            5. A survey of post-Cold War tinpot despots’ fates shows a troubling pattern: If tinpot has made deal with United States or otherwise been disarmed, said tinpot ends up deposed, hung, or ass-stabbed in a public street.

              However if tinpot makes no deal with United States, remaining pure antagonist and nothing else, they die comfortably in their beds of old age, succession plan in place.

              1. The Hillary State department did a bang up job with Qadaffi.

                He voluntarily gave up his weapons, and ended up getting ass raped with a broom handle.

              2. Saddam is an exception to that observation. The only deals he made with the US were those with a gun pointed to his head. Though I guess in the 80s, he was slightly preferable to a powerful Iran, per Kissinger’s quip that it was “a pity that both [Iran and Iraq] can’t lose.”

                Though I agree with you on what I think is your larger truth: the US will eventually screw you over if you don’t gain means to ensure their respect (nukes, that you’re too much of a PITA to overthrow, etc—which was the case for so long with NK and Cuba, post Soviet bloc…)

                Ukraine trusted the US and NATO, after the fall of the Soviet Union, to voluntarily get rid of their nuclear weapons and in exchange the US and NATO would help ensure their sovereignty. Khadafy famously ended up on the end of a bayonet after giving up his WMD programs.

                It’s not something the US should be teaching despots. Not if we value nonproliferation anyway.

          2. Fist, non trolling question, is there any writer for Reason you see as a non-squish? or who isn’t a cosmotarian?

            1. Nobody is pure enough for Eugene Fistov Etiquette.

              1. Nobody is pure enough…

                Next webathon we can list all the contributors and what’s unlibertarian (READ: GLOBALIST) in each of their individual politics. They won’t be able to retaliate against us because they’ll be too busy sucking up for scratch.

                1. How would that be different from any normal day on Hit’n’Run, though?

                2. Why is globalism necessarily unlibertarian?

                  Frankly I think recognizing the inherent rights of every human being, regardless of which nation each happens to be a citizen of, is a desirable libertarian trait.

                  1. Seriously, have you never read Fist of Etiquette comments before?

                    1. It’s so seldom and refreshing I get to interact with someone other than you cynical regulars here at Hit & Run, Zeb.

                3. Sounds like it’s about time for a Webathon post….

            2. Short answer? No. Long answer? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Although Moynihan, for being a New Englander, seemed to have horrific enough politics as to not be a cosmo.

              1. In the greater Libertarian world of published writers, who passes your test?

              2. Nosferatu are not known for being overly concerned with cocktail party invites, it is true.

            3. I think you might need to reassess the spirit in which Fist’s comments are posted.

              (Hint: don’t take them too seriously)

              1. (Hint: don’t take them too seriously)

                Incorrect. Fist is as serious as a heart attack having a heart attack.

                1. And I’m supposed to believe someone who can’t even do italics properly?

              2. I take near nothing serious.

                I am curious at doing digging on how untrue our Scotsmen are as a political ideology.

                1. Improperly formatting a comment is an homage to our leader, Fist.

                  I am curious at doing digging on how untrue our Scotsmen are as a political ideology.

                  You poor soul.

                2. Fist is probably not the person to ask.

                  And you should probably just make up your own mind.

                  1. How dare you. My out-of-context readings and knee jerk reactions are just as valid as the next commenter’s.

                    1. This is true. My apologies.

    1. Thank you. I didn’t feel like looking that up.

    2. And the biggest douche bag in the world.

      1. WTF? He said he’s against the nondemocratic/censorship stuff. Jeez.

      2. He’s a pretty big one, but biggest? Surely you’ve heard of Kanye West or even Justin Bieber?

    3. All of RATM’s albums were released by Epic Records, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony. I always enjoyed the Leninist rantings of someone who got filthy rich via selling records for a giant corporation.

      Fugazi’s politics were just as tiresome and left-wing, but at least they had some integrity. They put out their albums on their own label for $8 apiece, booked their own tours with admission fixed at $5, and played a bunch of free shows. Somehow, none of that ever occurred to the communists in RATM while they were cashing those giant Sony checks.

      1. I always just considered RATM a comedy act. Makes much more sense that way.

      2. Like Ben & Jerry’s.

        No problem cashing that Unilever check, eh boys?

        “Greedy American pigs who destroy the human spirit and impoverish…(looks down on offer and smiles)…..millions of people around the globe! Thank you good night! Gotta run before they put a stop payment on this check!”

        1. I always make sure to call it Unilever ice cream.

          1. The packaging jam packed with a KEMIKAL Ben and Jerry swore never to use…

      3. I recall seeing an interview awhile back where someone questioned Morello on this and he got upset about it, his response was something like “I don’t have to justify my capitalist impulses because I live in capitalist system, therefore I have to be this way.” It was the shittiest justification for hypocrisy I’d seen in awhile.

        1. Yes, they force you to keep all that money and live in a mansion. It’s impossible to give it to charity or less fortunate people.

        2. Go read some celeb’s justifying why they flew their jets to an AGW conference on the other side of the world.

          1. Or that buy farms for tax breaks.

  2. Short version: They are evil or woefully ignorant.

    Castro was one of the worst human beings alive in the 20th century. How anyone could defend anything he does is baffling. These progtards should thank their lucky stars every god damned day they weren’t born in Cuba.

    1. Notice that fucking Morello didn’t stay in Cuba.

      1. None of them ever do, nor do they stay anywhere in Cuba but the state-sanctioned Potemkin hotels that put on a fa?ade of normalcy.

      2. That would mean he has integrity.

        Clearly he does not.

        Have you been to Cuba? What a douche. I’ve been to Cuba and lemme tell ya, I came away with a completely different take. Then again, I’m not an ideological idiot so it’s easy to see through bull shit.

  3. Human beings are not here on this earth to provide propaganda fodder for a despot’s statistics bureau; they are here to be free and to pursue happiness as they see fit.

    Seems so damned simple, don’t it?

  4. I love how Obama baited Trump into denouncing Castro. And then of course Priebus piled on – finally a cause he could embrace. Too funny!

    1. ^ Jill Stein approves this message!

      1. Don’t you get embarrassed?

  5. …the bearded bastard has played Western intelligentsia like a flute.

    They always envision themselves at the party elite. They wouldn’t be the thinkers or artists who would get imprisoned or shot. They would be the decision makers. They would be the heralded architects of utopia.

      1. -1 Trotsky

  6. Man how great would it be for the Castro regime to crumble so MLB can expand into Cuba?

    1. Of course, Cuban baseball ain’t what it used to be, thanks to Fidel. There have been a handful of Cuban stars – Chapman, Cespedes, Puig (although he’s seemingly determined to ruin his career) – but an awful lot of them flopped. Once MLB can start setting up baseball academies there like the ones in DR, maybe Cuban talent starts flowing into MLB again.

      1. Same with their cigars.

        1. And Bacardi moved to Puerto Rico.

    2. A place where you can gamble on games right there in the stadium. Even players.

        1. No, no, no. This is after Cuba becomes libertopia.

          So yes, Somalia.

    3. How would that even come close to working?

      Unlike the NFL where most of the money is from a national TV contract, Most of the money in baseball comes from local TV and from attendance.

      Cubans are dirt poor. They might attend games, but they won’t be paying more than 50 cents to attend. And the TV rights? That would be non-existent, basically.

  7. Cuba is like our own version of North Korea – the purpose is to cultivate a local colony to abuse and exploit for sex and cheap labor. Hopefully Venezuela will be next – I hear they are the best looking people in South America.

    1. Yeah, god forbid Cuba should end up as poor and miserable as the rest of Latin America. Oh wait…

    2. Colombia beats Venezuela for hottest women, IMO.

  8. Is there no one at Reason who will sing the praises of the great Fidel?

    1. (ahem, mi-mi-mi-mi-mi) Praise Castro, the bastard is finally dead!

      May his evil brother soon follow!

      After all the horror they inflicted,

      It’s a pity he died peacefully in bed!

      (How’s that for singing praises?)

  9. Trump issued a statement on the untimely passing of Cuba’s leader: “Fidel Castro was an autocrat and despot. He used firing squads against his own people and rounded up the gays. We denounce. OK? We denounce and disavow. Nevertheless he was a strong leader and we will study the cause of his appeal to figure out what the hell was going on down there.”

    Any resemblance to Jill Stein is purely coincidental

    1. And by untimely you mean 60 years too late?

  10. At least Cuba has roads!

    1. AND bridges!

  11. “This breaking news just in. Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!”

    1. I was waiting for that one.

      1. Today I’m gonna comment like its 1975.

        1. Cool. That way I’ll have my youth 20 years ahead of me instead of behind me.

  12. “But, still, I say the greatest media shortcoming of the past half century was not recognizing that Fidel Castro was the most dedicated and powerful proponent of racial justice the world has ever known.”

    A country that treats blacks in a way that would make Bull Connor blush. And he was a champion of social justice too, when he wasn’t out rounding up homosexuals and putting them in concentration camps and holes in the ground.

    Fuck these evil bastards.

    1. A country that treats blacks in a way that would make Bull Connor blush.

      This. X1000.

      Except the moronic stooges he was happy to parade around didn’t get the treatment actual Cubans got. They got feted with the rest of the elites.

      1. The mind reels that millions of otherwise functioning adults don’t see right through the lies.

        1. It only reels, I suspect, if you ignore the fact that many of those same people would wear a t-shirt adorned with a picture of Che Guevara.

          One of the saddest sights I see is black people wearing a t-shirt celebrating a guy who said “The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink” or “We’re going to do for blacks exactly what blacks did for the revolution. By which I mean: nothing.”

          1. Saw one a couple of months ago.

            It bothered me.

            How uninformed.

  13. Human beings are not here on this earth to provide propaganda fodder for a despot’s statistics bureau; they are here to be free and to pursue happiness as they see fit.

    That’s a great line. Nice job, Welch.

    Well, the staffers put the long days off to good use, at least. There’s been several swings for the fences, and it’s only just past lunch.

  14. But the point that he has tried to make for more than half-a-century?that the Cuban people are in better shape than the American people?always struck me as a reach.

    – Jeffrey Goldberg recounts his interactions with an important man of the times

  15. Tom Morello makes Kanye West look like Einstein’s smarter brother.

  16. Is there no one at Reason who will sing the praises of the great Fidel?

    Suderman still hasn’t climbed out of the bottle he crawled into on election night.

  17. I said it in the Trudeau thread late, so I’ll say it again here – I was mostly without Internet access the last few days, so I didn’t read much reaction to his death until now. And I have to say that it’s even worse than I expected. I figured that a lot of these people would at least keep these thoughts to themselves, but apparently that’s setting the bar too high. It’s appalling that these same people also have the nerve to think of themselves as being so morally superior to everyone who doesn’t share their political beliefs.

  18. From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside, so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now. . .16 years old!

  19. Interesting to see the disparity from the NYT in the reaction to Pinochet’s death vs. Castro’s.

    The title of the Pinochet article is “Augusto Pinochet, Dictator Who Ruled by Terror in Chile, Dies at 91.”

    The first paragraph states “Gen. Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the brutal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became a notorious symbol of human rights abuse and corruption, died yesterday at the Military Hospital of Santiago. He was 91.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12…..ochet.html

    The tile of the Castro article is “Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90.”

    The first paragraph says “Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday. He was 90.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11…..-dies.html

    Not the same writer, but a pretty gaping disparity in how they are framed despite both clearly being brutal, murderous despots.

    1. FWIW, on pure death toll, Pinochet (2,279 executed) was a piker compared to Castro (8,200 fatalities or disappearances). Obviously, this doesn’t excuse him.

    2. Two things, First, Pinochet wasn’t anything like as murderous as Castro. Castro executed tens of thousands of people and created a state orders of magnitude more oppressive than Pinochet’s Chile. So, while Pinochet was certainly brutal, you can’t compare him to Castro. Second, whatever his sins, Pinochet voluntarily left power and left the country in much better shape than he found it. Castro in contrast clung to power for his entire life and took the richest country in the Caribbean and turned it into an impoverished prison state. You can look at Pinochet’s Chile and say at least he kept the communists out and the country at the end of his regime was a modern and prosperous one. Whether that justifies his actions is a moral question that only you can answer for yourself, but there is no denying there was some upsides to his rule. Castro in contrast did nothing good for Cuba. There are no “yeah but” with Castro, no good things to even begin to justify or excuse his repression.

      1. But Shock Doctrine! And and Cuba has the best health system of all time, ALL TIME!

      2. Well said John.

      3. John, Cuba has best healthcare and education system in the world. /s

    3. Could be the same editor, therefore the same headline writer.

  20. Why does the expression ‘to Welch on something come to mind. If Matt wasn’t the same sort of rugged individualist who uses the liplock that he ‘does enough’ for the country by spending money and hiring ‘staff’, he might have some actual creds to add to the debate about how we should react to a dead Castro.

    As it is he’s just another gasbag who, first, never met the man, probably didn’t read much about him that didn’t come off the pages of a check-out rag and has a right-handed skew of history that colors everything a shade of blue.

    Castro is dead and the world waits to see if Cubans are willing to sell their Island back to American interests and whatever crooks they still have, for more chances for some of them to ‘get a head’, and the rest of the ‘poke stick’ with it.

    My money is on the Cubans – and not the ones residing in that American dream land.

    Welchie can ‘naff off’ – and take his truthiness with him.

    1. Reading comprehension isn’t your suit, is it mr popsiq?

      1. Tarran, you ‘dimwitted boob,’ I think it’s time for you to improve your ‘reading comprehension,’ and pay attention to what this ‘great person’ ‘mr popsiq’ is ‘trying’ to ‘say.’ Otherwise, you can ‘naff off’ with your dumb face too.

        1. I would if he spent less time Trying and more time Doing, Mr Juggler.

      1. Don’t interrupt his internal monologue.

    2. Garble babble.

    3. Fuck off slaver. Right into the woodchipper.

    4. Hilarious! It’s sort of like a legitimate troll, and sort of like a Nigerian spam email.

        1. *Narrows gaze at racists

        2. They’re merging. I’ve always feared this day!

  21. Amusingly, I just saw a photo in my facebook feed comparing Prime Minister Zoolander to a young Castro and a young Pierre Trudeau. And damned if Zoolander doesn’t really resemble El Presidente and not look anything like Her Majesty’s Prime Minister!

    1. Let’s get Margaret on an episode of Maury and get a bit of DNA from Pierre’s corpse, this could be potentially hilarious.

    2. Uh oh… Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

  22. “But, still, I say the greatest media shortcoming of the past half century was not recognizing that Fidel Castro was the most dedicated and powerful proponent of racial justice the world has ever known.”

    “Racism in Cuba
    Contrary to what the Castro regime and its foreign apologists say, there is more racism in Cuba than ever before.
    So called ‘Black leaders’ like Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Maxine Waters, Jesse Jackson and many more have had a love affair with the Castro brothers for 56 years.
    They go to Cuba and are wined and dined by the regime and they repeat all the lies and propaganda that are fed to them.
    Not one word about the abuses against Black Cubans, specially the young; not a word about the fact that there are no Afro-Cubans in any position of power in the Cuban regime.”
    http://www.therealcuba.com/?page_id=279

    But, still, I say that man’s a blatant liar.

  23. Wow. Is Tom Morello profoundly ignorant and anti-humanist or what?

    1. He’s a typical celebrity commie shithead, and he and his retarded assmuch chipmunk-sounding rapper douche of a vocalist are two of the most flagrant hypocrites to ever walk the Urf.

  24. Every member of Rage Against the Machine is a commie puke, and they can all eat several bags of dicks.

  25. Matt, the same can be said of the great hockey players from the Soviet Union who ruled from the 1960s to the 1990s – to the extent they faced Canada’s professionals where they got their fair share of ass kicking. But it was harder for them to defect.

    The never seemed to smile either.

    1. This is worth a read:

      “Why Russians Don’t Smile”

      Later, starting from the Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras and continuing until the late 1980s, the Soviet print and television media carried regular reports called “Their Customs,” which focused on contemptible bourgeois lifestyles in the United States and other Western countries.

      A favorite topic of these reports was the infamous American smile. Soviets were told that behind the superficial American smile is an “imperialist wolf revealing its ferocious teeth.” The seemingly friendly American smile, Soviets were told, is really a trick used to entice trusting Soviet politicians to let their guard down, allowing Americans to deceive them both in business deals and in foreign policy.

  26. My response to any of the four categories:

    He was a murdering, communist dictator. He’s dead. I’m glad.

  27. Is there a word for right-wingers who automatically dismiss ambivalence about a complicated person or event by labeling it a “whataboutiem.” I admire Fidel Castro for flagrantly sticking his finger in the yanqui eye whenever said yanqui invaded or stuck its nose in yet another Central American civil war– invariably on the side of some gigantic agricultural or oil company. This makes me a commie, apparently, meaning that I admire the Castro dictatorship en masse. I enjoy extra-judicial firing squads before taking my brunch in my hot tub, Matt. Do you enjoy apologizing for right-wing assholes before your bathe?

    1. Please don’t feed the troll.

      1. /puts fist in mouth.

        1. Dude, you really don’t know where Fist has been.

          1. But he can get the whole thing in there. You have to admit that is pretty impressive.

          2. He’s been right here on Hit’n’Run, and, apparently, nowhere else.

        2. /puts fist in mouth.

          Canadian euphemism?

    2. Basically, you will admire anyone who is on your side, even if they are a murderous dictator. We know you are an immoral piece of shit. You don’t have to keep proving ti every single day.

      1. It’s awful.

        Which makes me wonder. Either I feel sorry for his wife – if he’s married – or she’s as depraved as he is.

        1. Where is our lovely friend, Tony?

          I bet he is preparing to go to Cuba and mourn the death of one his heroes.

          1. Tony has been hiding in his “safe space” over at Slate.

    3. Castro’s buddy in Venezuela did a heckuva job. They’re really showing it to the Americans.

    4. Fuck off, asswipe.

    5. And I suppose you admire Adolf for sticking his finger in the European eye, too, and complaining about concentration camps and a brutal world war is to dismiss ambivalence about a complicated person by labeling it “whataboutiem”.

  28. Surprisingly, not many of my leftist friends had anything to say about the death of Comrade Castro.

    It’s also downright sickening that asshole like Tom Morrello praise such a reprehensible man. I wish I can go back to early 2000’s Ed and tell him to not buy any of their CD’s.

    1. He should change the band’s name to ‘Rage Against Projection’. Or The ‘Rage of Projection Within’.

      1. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

        The creed of Tom Morello and those who think like him. They always preach about the inequalities and unfairness of the free enterprise system but yet enjoy the fruits of it and endorse laws that continues to keep people in poverty. They don’t give a shit about people. All they give a shit about is themselves.

      2. Don’t be stupid, Rufus. That would require self-awareness, which almost always ruins juvenile revolutionary fantasies.

      3. It’s really just Rage Against Republicans.

        “The Machine”, as I’ve grown up, has always been “Chicago Democrats”. Something of which Morello rages in extreme favor.

        1. Not surprisingly, Green Day and System of A Down will probably suddenly reappear now that a republican is lined up to be president again.

    2. Surprisingly, not many of my leftist friends had anything to say about the death of Comrade Castro.

      They are spending a week in bed crying, like after the election.

    3. eh, they’re too busy obsessing over Trump

      1. I’m not a Trump fan by any means, but seeing the Left getting unhinged about his election and doing whatever they can to reverse the results makes me thank God that there is a Second Amendment.

        1. And that the American left is mostly a bunch of comfortable middle-class people with little at stake and no means or intention to actually do anything that would put them at any personal risk.

    4. That’s why I only listened to them in the 90s when there were easily duplicate cassette tapes.

    5. I wish I could go back to early 2000’s Designate and tell him to pirate as much of their music off of Napster as humanly possible, save it onto a bunch of CD’s and sell them to the retarded kids at my college.

  29. The U.S. Launched a war against a country that never threatened us or posed any danger to us, but what about Castro and the tens and tens of people that died in his prisons in the 21st century?

    1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Thomas

      Has anyone clicked on that immoral piece of shit’s handle?

      Libertarian my ass.

      1. Yeah, he opposed Stalinism, the Vietnam War, and the Apartheid state in the American South. He’s terrible.

      2. I don’t see that Norman Thomas ever claimed to be a libertarian. American socialist has, but that guy’s a dumb asshole.

        1. I bet Thomas *admired* Stalin like it admires Castro.

          What integrity!

      1. I’m for whatever argument makes you sleep better. If you think that I’m arguing that the failures of the USA (notably its prisons, poor infrastructure, disparity of wealth) justify Castro’s dictatorship than you can just relax and keep on believing that. It’s not the argument I’m making, but don’t let that stop your intellectual Xanax.

        1. Yes, that’s why you’ve been sucking Castro’s cock and desperately throwing out every whataboutism you can since Friday, because you’re not justifying Castro’s dictatorship.

        2. Fuck off, asswipe.

      2. Ironic whataboutism? Whataboutwhataboutism?

    2. Sure, he tried really hard to start a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in which tens of millions of people would have died, but at least he also said mean stuff about capitalists!

      I note that you still haven’t moved to Cuba or Venezuela. How come?

      1. All I can say is thank God for the leadership of the Soviet Union!

        1. Yes, it turns out that the cynical self-interest of one socialist dictator occasionally trumps the excesses of mindless revolutionary fervor in another. So why haven’t you moved to Cuba or Venezuela yet?

        2. Fuck off, asswipe.

    3. How exactly did Angolan peasants threaten Cuba again?

      “The Cuban soldiers came and locked people into huts, burned them alive, others, their arms and legs were cut off. They ripped away my baby out of my arms and swinging her by the legs smashed her head against a tree. . .I was pushed into a lorry with other women. Later I was raped by ten Cubans. Those who resisted were stabbed by bayonets.” -Severina Chilombo

      1. You can’t make an omelet without raping and murdering some Angolan peasants, John.

    4. Fuck off, asswipe

  30. the media failed supremely in not realizing Americans could elect an empty-headed, knee-jerk liar as President

    Wait, I thought Trump won, not Clinton…

  31. If Matt wasn’t the same sort of rugged individualist who uses the liplock that he ‘does enough’ for the country by spending money and hiring ‘staff’, he might have some actual creds to add to the debate about how we should react to a dead Castro.

    Your space-alien-to-pidgin-english translator must have blown a fuse. Try again.

    No. wait. Don’t bother.

  32. The U.S. Launched a war against a country that never threatened us or posed any danger to us,

    Good thing Castro never sent any of his armed forces to another continent to kill the locals. Oh, wait. . . .

      1. And Ecuador. They funded the Shinning Path which was one of the nastiest terrorist organizations in the world for about 20 years. Killed thousands of innocent people.

        1. Shining Path is another one of those groups that liberals tend to lionize though.

    1. Hey Matt,

      Is this a whataboutism?

      1. Actually it is you being shown to not even whataboutitism correctly…

        So you failed at a failed rationalization. That is pretty bad indeed.

        1. Oh, ok. Can you show me where I praised the Castro dictatorship again?

        2. I’ve posted comments where I’ve directly said to him “quick, ignore all my arguments and use a shitty whataboutism!” And he’s immediately followed up with some rant about Vietnam or something. Amsoc is legitimately too stupid to understand what a tu quoque fallacy is.

      2. No, dummy. Whataboutism would be something like “Yeah, Castro invaded some countries and funded terrorism in a bunch of others, but what about all the times the U.S. did the same thing?” What R C is doing is merely pointing out that you are ignorant and/or lying.

      3. Fuck off, asswipe.

    2. That’s how you can tell that you are a real country. You are nothing until you engage in an optional foreign war with a country that poses no direct threat.

  33. Angola? Remember that?

    Prison rodeos are fun.

  34. Augusto Pinochet is bad, but what about Fidel Castro. This game of labeling legitimate criticism as whataboutism is fun.

    1. You’re still crying. It’s been 3 weeks, now the death of Fidel, you need to let it go. Move on, maybe try immigrating to a Country that is more to your liking.

    2. Fuck off, asswipe.

    3. Notice that asswipe immediately uses exactly the logical fallacy mentioned to supposedly argue against it.
      Now I’m proposing that asswipe is here largely for the attention he is denied elsewhere, garnered largely by what he presumes to be ‘outrageous’ (read “stupid”) statements.
      But occasionally he makes ‘serious’ statements as above, only to prove that the stupidity evident in his ‘outrageous’ statements is common to everything he posts.

  35. Four catagories of Castro apologists;

    Academic twits

    Entertanment industry prats

    Media parasites

    Political swine.

  36. RE: 4 Categories of Castro Apologetics, and the Anti-Individualism That Knits Them Together

    Liberals everywhere ae weeping now that the worst Latin American dictator is finally dead.
    Why?
    Because all the over-educated, clueless useful idiots who are running (and want to run) our lives and ruining our country like Castro did envy the power Castro had over the Cuban people. The fools on the left actually call Castro’s regime progress, especially when he ended civil rights and liberties, murdering dissenters, doubters and millions of others there, employed terror in Cuba randomly and oppressed the little people for decades at a time. This is the real reason all the clueless morons on the left are weeping for Castro’s (long overdue) death.

  37. It’s a tragedy he was taken from us so late.

    1. Indeed, we’ve missed so much time in the past to celebrate the death of this pathetic excuse for humanity.

  38. When I heard the news that Castro had died, I commented, “Well, he finally has done something to benefit mankind.”

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  40. I have always fucking hated Rage Against the Machine and Tom Morello the most. A big mouthed, millionaire, rock star, leftist, dictatorship loving fucktard, yeah Tom, keep telling yourself those things. If Cuba is so great why is it that thousands of people were braving violent seas and hurricanes coming to the USA? Why is it that people from the island have talked about the “Free Healthcare” they got, and not the kind the leaders of the communist party and tourists got? The rat infested hospitals, the outdated medical supplies, the overflowing toilets etc. I am sick of these left wing apologists, one of the reasons why I voted for Trump I wanted to stick my fingers in their eyes and rub until they were blind. Anybody who defends this bearded, rotting peace of shit deserves a fucking kick in the face. May Fido rot in fucking pieces.

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