Tuesday, February 19, 2008

33 Regimes More Oppressive Than Castro's Cuba

The only thing in American society that can match the rhetoric over how the supposed awfulness of Fidel Castro is the pro-Derek Jeter crowd. Joe Garcia, who is running for Congress as a Democrat from Florida, says, "We are witnessing the beginning of the end of one of the most oppressive regimes in history."

Really? Um, no.

Again, I'm not really defending Castro. But this is ridiculous. Here's a list of 33 regimes more oppressive than Castro just since 1900. I'll even leave out colonial rule.

1. Fulgencio Batista, Cuba--let's just get this out of the way. Batista was a bigger bastard than Castro. But Batista was a bastard to the poor instead of the rich. So Castro must be much worse.
2. Trujillo, Dominican Republic
4. Nazi Germany
5. Saudi Arabia, now
6. Guatemala, under a variety of dictators, but especially Ríos Montt
7. El Salvador, again under a variety of military men
8. Brazilian dictatorship
9. Argentine dictatorship
10. Paraguay under Stroessner
11. Pinochet, Chile
12. Mussolini, Italy
13. Franco, Spain
14. Honecker, East Germany
15. Ceausescu, Romania
16. Saddam Hussein
17. Iran, 1979-present
18. Iran under the Shah
19. North Korea, 1945-present
20. Mobutu
21. South Africa during apartheid
22. Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) under Ian Smith
23. Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe
24. Maoist China
25. Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge
26. Burma, now
27. Sudan, now
28. Haiti under Duvalier
29. Colombia, under both the US backed regime and the FARC, depending on where you are.
30. Uganda under Idi Amin
31. Liberia under Charles Taylor
32. Afghanistan under the Taliban
33. Serbia under Milosevic

And that's just me sitting here thinking about this. There might be more. Is Castro really worse than the Greek dictatorship? Or Algeria in the past 20 years? Probably not, but I'd have to do research which I'm not going to do. One might quibble with a few of these, but is Castro worse than any one of at least 25 of these guys? No.

So we can please knock it off about how historically awful Fidel is supposed to be. There just isn't the historical evidence to call him one of the worst dictators ever. There's not even evidence to call him Cuba's worst dictator ever. In fact, there might be evidence to say that Fidel Castro is the best leader Cuba has ever had, which says a lot about Spanish and American control, as well as Batista.

Decent historical comparisons to Castro might be Mubarak or to some of the South Korean dictators before 1980. Maybe to Hungary or Czechoslovakia during the 1960s and 70s. Not good certainly. But not "one of the most repressive regimes in history."