Fidel Castro, slave master to his fellow countrymen, is finally and officially dead.

The Organized Left’s Idea of a Great Leader has already been cremated. Last evening a memorial service, featuring a B-list of presidents and representatives of governments across several continents, eulogized the tyrant, and

From Wednesday, Mr. Castro’s ashes will be slowly taken east, tracing in reverse the route he and his bearded guerrillas took in late 1958 as they closed in on Havana and the seizure of power. On Sunday, his remains will be laid to rest in Santiago de Cuba, where Mr. Castro’s revolution began.

The inhabitants of the hell below are now compelled to show carefully orchestrated displays of public sorrow.

Castro’s ashes are at Granma Room of the Armed Forces Ministry building, where the public is not allowed. Instead, the crowds are directed to the José Martí Memorial, where they are to pay their respects to a portrait of Castro and a display of medals that may or may not have been his. (link in Spanish)

The Communist regime issued guidelines for the official mourning period:
1. Cubans are forbidden from saying “Good morning” (“Buenos días”) to each other.
2. No alcohol is allowed.
3. Nightlife, the lifeblood of tourism, is shut down.
4. No loud music.
5. The neighborhood watchmen, Comités de la Revolución, are keeping track of any violations to the above rules. They also keep track who shows up (or doesn’t) to sign the book of condolences at the 1,000 designated locations across the island prison after standing in line for hours under the hot sun.
6. Mourners are also compelled to sign a statement of commitment to the Revolución.

Not being allowed to display the most basic civility – “good morning” – to your fellow man is emblematic of Communism’s goal: crushing the human spirit.

But what else can you expect from a regime whose leader exsanguinated people to sell their blood before their execution?

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by baldilocks

Miamians "mourn" the death of Castro. Palm Beach Post
Miami responds to the news of Castro’s death. Palm Beach Post

Below Florida, that is. Michael Totten documents his visit to Castro’s Cuba:

I had to lie to get into the country. Customs and immigration officials at Havana’s tiny, dreary José Martí International Airport would have evicted me had they known I was a journalist. But not even a total-surveillance police state can keep track of everything and everyone all the time, so I slipped through. It felt like a victory. Havana, the capital, is clean and safe, but there’s nothing to buy. It feels less natural and organic than any city I’ve ever visited. Initially, I found Havana pleasant, partly because I wasn’t supposed to be there and partly because I felt as though I had journeyed backward in time. But the city wasn’t pleasant for long, and it certainly isn’t pleasant for the people living there. It hasn’t been so for decades.

Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.

It’s one of those “read the whole thing” kind of essays and now I feel whiny for complaining about my landlords.

After I finished Michael’s superlative travelogue, I got down on my knees and thanked God for the United States of America. Descriptions of totalitarian feces holes, especially one so near, tend to remind this first-generation American of her blessings.

Also, don’t forget this.

One more thing: pray for the people in Tennessee.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter.

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As a general rule there is never a bad time for a murderous dictator to meet his end, however the timing of Fidel Castro’s death, at a moment when most American leftists in media and academia are berating and bemoaning the election of Donald Trump is most fortuitous.

Castro’s death while all this insanity is going on provides a teachable moment for those who are returning to a classroom after thanksgiving.

So to all of those being told of the greatness of Fidel Castro by those who celebrated his rise to power and insisted that Cuba was a better place under him, while at the same time bemoaning the future of the United States under president elected Donald Trump by the professional leftists teaching them I pose the following question.

For decades the left has insisted that Fidel Castro was a hero who made his island a better place while insisting that claims of oppression were either false or overblown.

Yet despite this thousands of Cubans fled their Island, risking jail if caught and drowning if not in order to escape this supposed “paradise”. Even Cuban athletes representing the country had to be carefully watched when competing internationally because even the threats against their families on the island was not enough to guarantee that they would not defect to the west.

That is Cuba under the Castros.

Meanwhile before the election of Donald Trump celebrities from Al Sharpton to Lena Dunham, from Cher to Whoopi Goldberg and Amy Schumer vowed to leave the country if he was elected to escape the evils of what would be his despotic rule.

Not only did the various celebs all have sufficient wealth to allow them to leave the country without incident (unlike most of those who fled Castro) but under the laws of the United States they faced no fear of reprisal if they choose to go, no being stopped at the border, no imprisonment of families, not even a risky boat ride, the most dangerous part of leaving would be the risk of having to fly coach.

Yet when the time came, every single one of them decided to stay.

So my question to those attending a college where they are singing the praises of Fidel Castro while creating safe spaces and organizing marches to oppose Donald Trump is this?

If What you’ve been told about Trump vs Castro is true, why aren’t the Cubans staying and the celebrities fleeing? Wouldn’t that be the logical result?

Take all the time you need.

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young-castroby baldilocks

Like a twisted version of Santa Claus, the late Fidel Castro had gifts of horror to dispense to the country over which he ruled.

  • He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.
  • He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.
  • He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.
  • He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.
  • He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.
  • He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.
  • He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.
  • He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.
  • He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.

Many Leftist leaders have blown elegiac smoke up Raul Castro’s backside as they praise the great leadership of his dead brother. And I use the term “great leadership” without irony. We’ve seen them fawn over true dictators before and be silent when that type of leadership produces identical and inevitable outcomes. Every. Single. Time.

Fidel Castro was the epitome of a Great Leader, per the Left, because of the types of outcomes listed above, not despite them.

And even if you’re still giving the side-eye to the president-to-be—and, trust me, I am—get down on your knees and thank God that we dodged the bullet called Hillary Clinton–a true Leftist type of Great Leader.

(Thanks to Instapundit)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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There is a lot of celebrating over the death of Fidel Castro (along, ironically, with grief from the same folk who claim they are afraid of a dictatorship by Donald Trump).  It is one of the top stories in the news this weekend generating story after story all over the world with a lot of adjectives being thrown about but given that the Cuban Dictator was 90 years old and in poor health the most accurate one I can think of is “unsurprising”

Which is why I think Stacy McCain’s decision to follow up his post on Castro’s death with one on the July death of Qandeel Baloch titled‘Girl Power’ and Honor in Pakistan: The Unsurprising Death of Qandeel Baloch was perfect.

In the West, female celebrities engage in provocative behavior and men are accused of “misogyny” for criticizing them, but any woman in an Islamic nation who attempts to emulate such behavior risks consequences far more serious than sexist jokes. Qandeel Baloch had 43,000 Twitter followers and more than 700,000 on Facebook, the BBC reported, and used her social-media presence to spark outrage. In June, she posted selfies posing with an Islamic cleric, Mufti Abdul Qavi, and told Pakistan Today the conservative Muslim scholar was “hopelessly in love” with her. That publicity stunt may have led to her murder three weeks later

Now I readily confess that my first reaction to Stacy’s piece on the death of “Pakistan’s Kim Kardashian” was shock that

  • Pakistan had their own Kim Kardashian
  • Someone might want to BE Pakistan’s or any other country’s Kim Kardashian

But on a more serious note Stacy’s timing on this story, whether by chance or design could not be more perfect because while outrage and pity are the proper reaction to the murder of this young mother in her prime, shock is not.

I’ll go further, saying that not only was the the death of the sickly 90 year old Cuban despot less inevitable than the murder of a woman in her mid 20’s who publicly emulates Kim Kardashian in Pakistan but Fidel Castro outliving her, both by four months in linear time and 64 years in relative age is one of the least surprising things I’ve heard all day.

However our friends on the left daren’t either express shock and anger at Ms. Baloch’s murder nor publicly make that conclusion about the inevitability of said murder as it so vividly illustrates the lunacy of painting American Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular as repressive fundamentalists who are more of a danger to the health, freedom and well being of women than even non-radical Islam and believe me there is very little “radical” about Honor killing in Islam indeed.

Furthermore it’s not a hard guess to conclude that many more tears will be shed on the left over the death over this mass murder than were ever shed for the young Ms. Baloch whose only fault was over

So I will close here by complementing Stacy McCain on his thought provoking article which you should read in full and express the same hope for the souls of Mr. Castro and Ms Baloch that I and every believing Christian is required to have for every soul, that they sought the mercy of God in the end and obtained it.

The first time I was in England I heard a phrase, sure as rain (that stuck with me, since it was raining), which means something will certainly occur.

Sure as rain, rumors that Fidel Castro is dead are coming up again. For Latin America watchers, this is routine, happening at intervals over the years. In fact, I was nearly certain Fidel had bought the farm years ago – and then Castro imported from Spain an oncologic gastroenterologist with full surgical team and state-of-the-art operating room equipment, something that would surely only be done for the comandante máximo.

So much for that “free, excellent Cuban healthcare” propaganda. Propaganda doesn’t cut it when the rubber hits the road.

Or when the patient needs real surgery.

My favorite line on Fidel’s health was from Person of Interest:

Mr. Reese: Fidel Castro is dead?
Mr. Finch: Fidel Castro is dead, and his body double has cancer.

Yesterday the rumors were flaring again, with many people pointing out that Fidel has not been seen in public for over a year, and he or his amanuensis have remained silent over Obama’s December 17 statement, while in the past Granma (the official organ of the Communist party and sole legal newspaper) carried heavily verbose opinion articles by Fidel on nearly every topic.

The only thing I know for sure is that the Cuban government has scheduled some announcement, subject unknown, for later today.

Of course there’s a twitter hashtag running amok: #fidelcastromuerto (fidel castro dead). I like this tweet in Italian,
Is he dead, or has he resurrected again?

However, a friend figures that, even if Fidel is dead now, there won’t be an announcement made until after a big pow-wow scheduled for early Spring, which Obama may attend, while Fidel’s funeral will be a bigger show than Mandela’s, and it would distract from much anything else.

Let’s hope they have better luck with the sign language interpreter.

Likewise, any such announcement will be timed for a slow-news day, and right now all the world’s attention is on France.

I’ll be extremely surprised if any such announcement comes today.

Years ago I posted in my blog that I’ll believe Fidel’s dead after a CSI team from the U.S. and the EU release official, audited, uncensored autopsy results.

Until then, I suggest they get Chevy Chase to do the talking, and, while they’re at it, make sure they’re not talking about Fidel Castro Odinga from Nairobi.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, died yesterday. Cuba’s government-run media mourned Fidel’s friend, who even worked for Cuba’s Prensa Latina news agency in Bogota and New York. He was 87 years old.

One of the giants of Spanish-language literature, García Márquez’s most renowned novel is A Hundred Years of Solitude, which brought magical realism to the forefront,

“In Mexico,” he says, “surrealism runs through the streets. Surrealism comes from the reality of Latin America.”

It may at times, but it also helps to bear in mind that he had books to sell, and his own staunch support of Castro verged on the surreal: Cuban author Carlos Alberto Montaner, who knew Garcia Marquez well (they shared an agent), narrates (link in Spanish, my translation with emphasis added),

With no other factor than compassion for [Cuban political prisoner and former union leader Reinol González] Reinol’s wife, who had gone to Mexico to meet the novelist and ask for his help without ever having met him, García Márquez interceded with Fidel to release him. And so it happened: the Dictator not only released González. He gifted him to García Márquez right in the middle of the street, as one gives away an inanimate object, and, suddenly, the Colombian found himself in Havana with the strange gift from his powerful friend, owner of the lives and deaths of all his subjects.

That a human being would waste his prodigious talent in the service of a monstrous dictator after having witnessed such event speaks of a blindness, a void of the soul.

But then, Fidel had gifted García Márquez a fully-furnished mansion in Havana’s best neighborhood (link in Spanish), and a Mercedes, complete with staff, after the 1982 Nobel award was announced.

Regardless of the house and slaves, García Márquez lived in Mexico, where the government kept him under surveillance as a Cuban propaganda agent.

faustaIf you would like to borrow García Márquez’s novels from the local public library, I recommend Love in the Time of Cholera, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude while in college and it blew my mind, but decades later attempted to re-read it both in the original Spanish and in the Gregory Rabassa translation, and found it unreadable.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on US and Latin American culture and politics at Fausta’s Blog.



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…than objecting to deifying a murderous communist dictator who has made his little island so wonderful that for decades people have risked drowning in the open ocean to escape it.

Yup sure is crazy congratulations Atlantic you figured out that stuff like this:

We are supposed to conclude that Cuba is no longer a threat to global stability and that Fidel is a reformed tyrant. But how believable is a guy whose revolution all but wiped out Cuba’s tiny Jewish community of 15,000, and who spent the past 50 years supporting the terrorism of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Syria, Libya and Iran? And how does Castro explain Venezuela, where Cuban intelligence agents run things, Iran is an ally and anti-Semitism has been state policy in recent years? Mr. Goldberg doesn’t go there with Fidel.

…doesn’t have any bearing on if Castro’s polemic against antisemitism is sincere. We don’t need the evidence we have the word of “the great man” Fidel!

I really should stop being surprised at the left constant love affair with communist dictators as Alberto de la Cruz puts it:

His sycophantic descriptions of a murderous monster turned loving teddy bear turns the stomach of all but the most ignorant.

It doesn’t turn my stomach, but it will make the day when this salt water version of the Berlin wall falls and the records are displayed even more embarrassed to those who have worshiped at its altar…

…if they are capable of embarrassment that is.

memeorandum thread here

A close second on the Irony scale? A Marxist, anarchist , atheist commenting on the morality of Martin Perez’s Harvard gift. The mind boggles.

In 1941 Governor Lee “Pappy” McDaniel ran in a special election for an open Senate seat created by the death of Senator John Sheppard (an interesting fact is that a son of Sam Houston the 1st president of Texas born in 1793 was appointed as a “placeholder” senator during the time between the death and the election). His primary opponent was Lyndon Johnson then a congressman from the 10th district. The two primary candidates fought it out and both were involved in some underhanded tactics however at the end of the day it looked like Johnson had the game won until (According to Robert Caro in his book The Years of Lyndon Johnson the Path to Power) O’Daniel’s enemies contrived to steal the election FOR him to get him out of the governors office.

It turned out that Pappy although corrupt had one “virtue” and that was dislike for alcohol. Convinced it was the devil’s brew he was prepared to keep “dry” zones around military bases and his foes in the liquor industry wanted him out.

I thought of Pappy O’Daniel when I read this surprising quote from Jeffrey Goldberg’s interview with Fidel Castro:

Over the course of this first, five-hour discussion, Castro repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism. He criticized Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust and explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the “unique” history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.

It was quite a shock to hear one of the monsters of the 20th century excoriating a modern monster for antisemitism and going on about the long history of Jewish suffering, that’s when I remembered Pappy.

Pappy was an opponent of the dangers of drinking, but it didn’t make him any less a corrupt pol.

Castro if this interview is to be believed believes that antisemitism is a centuries long disgrace and that Israel has a right to exist, that doesn’t make him any less of a murderous thug. I’m not going to fall for his pap any more that the Babliu blog guys will.

As the Doctor once told Margaret the Slitheen it doesn’t matter, you can oppress millions because every now and again you can speak up against an injustice that has nothing to do with you.

memeorandum thread here

It is fortunate for the world that people like this exist:

I think that I would be too selfish and disloyal to my core values if I limited my magnanimity to my immediate family. You see, I treat all oppressed Cubans as my immediate relatives. When a political prisoner like Orlando Zapata Tamayo goes on a hunger strike and dies to protest the prison conditions, I grieve for him. When Tamayo’s mother tries to visit her son’s grave and is harassed by government-sponsored mobs, I get angry. When college students launch a march on the steps of the University of Havana to protest the state-sponsored apartheid system that is prevalent in Cuba and they are imprisoned, I realize that things will never change for the better as long as a Castro is in power. When I think back to the time when HIV+ gay and lesbian Cubans were forcibly quarantined until 1989 to treatment centers, I pray for the dawning of a more civil and tolerant society. When I see the courage displayed by political prisoners like Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet who has defied the Cuban authorities repeatedly and demanded the restoration of civil rights and liberties to his homeland, I thank God that there are still people left in this world who will stand up to oppression and are willing to die to bring back a Free Cuba. It makes me proud that we have our Frederick Douglas, our Martin Luther Kings, Jr., and our Malcolm X – but with a Cuban flavor.

We may ignore it, we may pretend that it isn’t happening but Cuba remains a prison camp for its population and will be as long as Castro and his cronies are in charge.

It’s important that stories like this aren’t burred amid the rest of the news.