Sunday, November 27, 2016
So Fidel Castro is dead. This is not my sad face.
The news that Fidel Castro has died brought back one memory in particular.
I was standing in the Angolan bush, along with a group of UNITA rebels. They were cleaning up after a firefight - which meant leaving the enemy bodies where they had fallen, but stripping them of their weapons, uniforms and supplies. Everything would be washed, cleaned, repaired if necessary, and reissued to new owners, who would use it to kill more of the enemy.
Among the dead were two very young Cuban conscripts, some of the tens of thousands of troops sent by Fidel Castro to prop up the brutal pro-Communist regime in Angola. They were probably well under 20 years old. They hadn't even finished growing; they still had that gangling, slightly disjointed look of late adolescence. Both looked as if they didn't yet need to shave every day. They never would, now. Their AK-47's were still half-slung. They hadn't even managed to raise them to a firing position before the RPD bullets found them.
A grizzled NCO looked down at them, and an odd look came over his face. He spat to one side, very expressively, and murmured, "Just one more. That's all I ask. Just one more."
I looked at him, and my eyebrows rose. He caught my expression, and nodded. "I want the bastard who sends kids like this over here to die."
I could hardly argue with him.
Fidel Castro murdered, imprisoned, tortured and exiled millions of his own people. He sent tens of thousands more to countries around the world as armed, uniformed Communist surrogates, to support pro-Kremlin regimes. He pocketed a lot of the money paid for their services by those regimes, and by Moscow . . . and never said a word about Cuban casualties, which in some cases were extensive. (I helped to cause some of them, so I speak with a certain insight into the matter, you understand.) The thousands more who came back from Africa infected with AIDS and other nasties were (at least from 1986 to 1993) left to rot and die in internal exile in Cuba, 'quarantined' in so-called 'sanatoria'. I've heard from some people with inside knowledge of what went on behind their walls during those years. It wasn't nearly as pretty as propaganda articles like to portray. Things changed after that: but, of course, most of those coming back from Africa with AIDS had died by then, so such harsh measures could be scaled back.
I won't pray for any man to go to Hell. My own sins give me too much cause to fear God's justice (although, of course, I hope in his mercy) to wish that on anybody else. However, in Fidel Castro's case, there's a very solid body of evidence suggesting that his eternal destination might not be on the upside. I daresay we'll find out, one of these days.
I'm glad, at least, that he's no longer wasting our oxygen.