It has been just over two weeks since the long anticipated death of 90 year-old Cuban leader Fidel Castro. As an American I have grown accustomed to the perception that he had such a dubious reputation with the world! The morning he died several Cuban immigrants in Miami, Florida flooded the streets celebrating his demise.
Even after President Barack Obama began to mend the bad relations Cuba has with America it seems Fidel may have caused irreparable damage to the spirits of those who lived under his “regime.”… At least according to American media. In school and through the news I was taught Fidel is the next worst thing to Hitler… But living here in South Africa I had to stop and ask myself-“if Fidel Castro was such a bad guy why are South African leaders commemorating him so fondly!? What good has he done in this world? Why does America portray him so horribly?”
According to ex-South African President, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro was very instrumental in the ending ofApartheid and racial segregation in South Africa. From 1959, when Fidel’s communist party got power in Cuba he was supportive of this anti-colonialist movement. By December of 1978 the ANC established a diplomatic office in Havana. In 1994 (when Apartheid ended) it was turned into Cuba’s official South African Embassy. Cuba even went so far as to develop schools for South Africans. By 1988 there were approximately 16,000 students attending the Isle of Youth.
The US was a huge supporter of Apartheid government because they wanted to hinder the expansion of communism. Despite several economic blows that came with the lack of support from America Castro deployed 36,000 troops to Angola to fight off opponents backed by the US. In addition to helping end apartheid These battles earned Namibia’s independence from South Africa.
I could go on for hours about the help from Cuba Fidel extended to other African countries fighting for their causes and human rights : troops, doctors, money, and so forth. Even as recently as two years ago when the big Ebola outbreak erupted in Africa he sent nearly 300 doctors to help combat the disease.
Although his tactics of controlling Cuban citizens were considered very harsh Fidel Castro stood for causes that went beyond personal financial gain and greed. He worked to put an end to racial and economic segregation in the world. He overcame the lack of support from the American super power. He eluded several assassination attempts. He stayed true to his beliefs. Somehow, despite all the heavy criticism and the propaganda, he’s done more good in this world than American President-elect Donald Trump… By a long-shot.