In the communist lexicon, history and propaganda are one and the same. Cuban Ambassador Benitez Verson’s encomium of Fidel Castro (The Mercury, August 13) is a case in point.
Historically, it is true that Castro overthrew the corrupt, colonialist Battista regime. But Verson’s claim that Castro brought freedom to Cuba is pure propaganda. By imposing a one-party communist dictatorship, Castro plunged Cuba into oppression which persists to this day.
Historically, it is true that Cuba became independent of the American interests that had exploited it. But to claim, as Verson does, that Cuba became independent is propaganda. The reality is that in terms of dependence, Cuba became a virtual colony of the USSR.
In propaganda mode, Ambassador Verson condemns what he calls “crude capitalism.” But historically he is silent about the fact that Fidel Castro amassed a billionaire’s fortune. He boasts of the free material benefits available to Cubans, but is silent about the regime’s violations of basic human rights.
If social justice was a priority of the Cuban regime, Ambassador Verson should explain why its opponents are arbitrarily imprisoned, tortured or consigned to labour camps or why hundreds of thousands of Cubans have fled the country.
Ironically, despite all the virtues Ambassador Verson crows about, the remarks contained in this letter would be suppressed in Cuba and its writer imprisoned.
Sent into The Mercury and published, 19 August 2020.