Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
Cuban leader Fidel Castro is ailing and increasingly absent from Cuban government and Communist Party functions, like the recent National Assembly session in Havana. At the age of 80 let’s face it, he’s not coming back. And I feel sad, because I look on Castro as a great leader. The persistence of the pathologically anti-Castro bluster of the Cuban American lobby centered in Miami, Florida is a frustrating annoyance. The worst thing about those silly people is that we have to hear them. But, thankfully, we don’t have to listen to them.
On December 25th we read of Cuban-born American lawmaker Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s call of welcoming Castro’s assassination, or the murder of “any leader who is oppressing the people” (“Congresswoman admits calling for Castro’s assassination”). That is dangerous silliness because it is legitimately arguable that America itself is the most dangerous nation in the world, and a leading oppressor - and now an avowed torturer - of people everywhere. But it would not look good or go well for anyone making statements against America and its leaders like those that Ros-Lehtinen admits to.
Critics and opponents will rebut that I don’t know what I am talking about or that I am just plain wrong. But do Castro opponents want/suggest that Cuba return/be returned to the conditions of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista? The overthrow of Batista is the best thing to happen to Cuba in modern times. Castro’s revolution was not only fitting, but right. Similarly, the overthrow of Russia’s Tzar and of China’s Kuomintang (by communist movements) are arguably the best things to happen to those countries in modern times. These are the kinds of messages that drive right-wing Americans into conniption fits, and that they would not tolerate hearing in public or, even more, in their schools. The administration of U.S. President George Bush can effectively curb such expressions by using legislation to define and sanction acceptable opinions and punish unacceptable ones.
Published on Wednesday, January 3, 2007 as “Revolution was good for Cuba.”
Americans, especially conservative Americans, are caught in an intellectual trap. They take it as a given that their country is the greatest, best country in the world, and therefore every other country is less so. Never mind what political systems exist in other countries, or educational, health care or business practices prevail. By definition all else is inferior to what prevails in America. So perhaps that contributes to a widespread grassroots disinterest in things outside the United States.