Former President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and late President of Cuba Fidel Castro meet at Cuba's International Airport. AGENICIA BRASIL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS VIA CC BY 3.0

Former President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (left, pointing) and late President of Cuba Fidel Castro (right) meet at Cuba’s International Airport in 2005. AGENICIA BRASIL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS VIA CC BY 3.0

On Nov. 25, Fidel Castro, the “benevolent” dictator of Cuba, passed away. He left behind a country that has only known the rule of an iron-fisted leader for the past half a century. In wake of his recent departure, many people have taken to social media to both condemn and revile the man behind the Cuban Missile Crisis and Cold War, some of the most memorable events of the 20th century. In these remarks, he was called both “a symbol of the struggle of justice” in a world beset by malignant, capitalistic forces, as well as a ruthless man who created a government that had “no tolerance” for any voices that did not lend support to the Castro administration.

Though the Cuban government held a nine day period of mourning, others around the world are not taking the same steps in remembering the fallen dictator. Celebrations erupted in areas with a high density of Cuban migrants, many of whom are political exiles and dissidents. They are the ones who have felt the true nature of Castro’s regime: one filled with violence, hatred and executions.

Various leaders around the world who are mourning the death of Castro are either willfully or haphazardly forgetting who this man truly was: a tyrant who executed men and women who did not agree with him.

Castro was not a benevolent leader; he was a monster. How can world leaders like Jill Stein and Justin Trudeau, who expressed positivity about Castro’s life, be so supportive and remember an imagined persona of a man who only casually tried to end the world back in 1962? How can they forget about the nearly 3,200 Cubans who were executed, or the nearly 7,000 men and women who died by hunger or random disappearances? Many of the people who are praising him were also people who grew up in an era where they knew of the thousands of migrants riding on small vessels to the United States in hope of a better life. Or, if we truly want to believe Jill Stein and her vision of a “great” Cuban nation, maybe they just wanted to try out their state of the art boats with their clearly high-paying jobs that a Communist-led government offers.

Western leaders who are not condemning this man’s death are cowards or idealists who are forgetting the cost of living under his brutal reign of terror. If world leaders really think they are correct in what they are saying, maybe they should take a detour to Little Havana in Miami and tell them that Castro was not as bad as they all think, that he was such a great leader in the “shadow of empire.” It is just hard to believe that Stein, a woman who not only had the opportunity to obtain a doctoral degree and run for the president of the United States would be so keen to label her culture and homeland as an “empire.” She reaped the benefits, many of which would not have been afforded to her or any other leader had they lived under the “great” regime of Castro.

To honor a person in death, all of their actions that they undertook in their life must be taken into account to get the full picture of who they were. For everyone praising Castro as a great Marxist leader, maybe they need to take another look at the actions of the man behind the beard to come up with a better understanding of the killer they chose to praise.