There’s a certain specific kind of cognitive dissonance I experience every time Cuba’s in the news: when [some] people who share my liberal views lose their ability to do nuance, and start to glorify the Castro regime. (It’s the mirror image of the cognitive dissonance I experienced when I noticed that so many people who had suffered under Castro seemed driven to embrace the worst policies of the right, as if it were not possible to reject one kind of evil without simultaneously embracing another.) So, since I always get asked to give my Official Opinions as a Cuban American at times like these, here are a few reminders:
- It is possible to reject a communist totalitarianism without embracing fascism.
- It is possible to reject fascism without embracing totalitarianism.
- It is possible to think the embargo is a shitty, failed policy while simultaneously believing Cuba’s current regime is repressive and corrupt—my basis for opposing the embargo is not because Cuba’s government is good, but because the embargo has clearly and obviously failed.
- Fidel Castro was a dictator, a murderer, and a thief.
- Elections where your only choices are to vote for the party ticket or against it (i.e., where you don’t actually have a choice between candidates or options) (and where your votes are tracked) are not free elections.
- Cuba’s human rights record when it comes to repression and political prisoners is terrible—and this is not just a back-in-the-day thing. Cuba has continued cracking down on dissidents all the way up to the current day.
- Che Guevara was at best a duped idealist who was happy to murder innocents for his cause—and at worst another murderous opportunist.
- Your Che Guevara T-Shirt (bought at Walmart) doesn’t make you a revolutionary, it makes you a sheltered, privileged douchebag.
- Don’t idolize murderers, kids; it’s a bad look.