Only moral cretins and hard left wingers—overlapping categories—grieve for the death of Fidel Castro. Pope Francis hurried to place himself among the mourners of a moral monster:
On receiving the sad news of the death of your dear brother His Excellency Mister Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, former president of the State Council and of the Government of the Republic of Cuba, I express my sentiments of sorrow to Your Excellency and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation.
Sad news. His Excellency. Dignitary. The obsequious formality of the papal statement is as lunatic as it is dishonest. The citation of Castro’s full legal name and ceremonial titles masks his status as a murderous, self-aggrandizing Kremlin toady who imprisoned an entire nation, caging it in poverty and degradation. The only sad thing about Castro’s death is that it did not come decades earlier.
The pope’s fawning statement might have been excused as diplomat-speak if it had been redeemed by some expression of sorrow for the tens of thousands of Cuban victims of el Jefe Máximo’s savage lust for domination. But no. In the reverent tones of a Fidelista, Francis added:
At the same time, I offer prayers to the Lord for his repose and I entrust the whole Cuban people to the maternal intercession of Our Lady of the Charity of El Cobre, patroness of this country.
If only the man had had the good sense to say “God have mercy on his soul”—phrasing pregnant with acknowledgment that mercy was surely needed. Repose is too lovely a word. It suggests ease, tranquility and refreshment, qualities denied a nation turned detention camp .
Francis’ deference illustrates how the sepulcher is whitened—bleached of blood stains with a wash of pseudo-pieties. Cubans might well ask what their patroness’ intercession has gained them since 1959.
With his taste for flattering Latino strong men, Francis lacks standing to commit suffering Cubans to the Mother of God. They are not his to consign. And Mary is not a supernatural bank into which he can makes deposits. His megalomania and warmth toward Castro’s hostility to the United States can only further diminish the Church’s credibility as a moral force.
It was Donald Trump, the despised vulgarian, who responded with a dignified candor that I wish had come from the Chair of Peter:
Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.
Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Mike Pence was succinct and on target:
The tyrant #Castro is dead. New hope dawns. We will stand with the oppressed Cuban people for a free and democratic Cuba. Viva Cuba Libre!
John Podhoretz, in Commentary, wasted no column space on doleful noises. His editorial “Fidel Castro, Rest in Hell” was blunt about the basis of Castro’s celebrity:
Castro mattered because he was an enemy of the United States—and as such quickly became the darling of intellectual and ideological forces in the West who actively wished harm on the United States. In their hunger to celebrate any counterexample to the American experiment, these haters of liberal freedoms turned a blind eye then (and, in the case of British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, continue to turn a blind eye now) to the Gulag nation Castro was systematically constructing. As long as he was a foe of the United States, he was a hero to them. . . .
As for Castro himself, today is a day to wish devoutly that there is a Hell.