- - Sunday, August 16, 2015


Gulags and satrapies are required in the nether world where Marxist fantasy survives. How else to keep the peasants in line? Secretary of State John Kerry, looking for love in all the wrong places, took a handful of congressmen to Havana the other day to preside over the raising of the American flag at the reopening of the American embassy, closed in 1961 when Fidel Castro imposed the Marxist yoke upon the neck of the Cuban people. The three Marines who lowered the flag 53 years ago, old men now, were called back to run up Old Glory once more. Mr. Kerry celebrated the occasion as another achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Fidel is on the margins now, an old man drooling in his cups, devoting himself to conjuring insults to America. Little brother Raul runs the gulag, one of the most repressive anywhere. Fidel is such a glutton for Marxist theory that during the Cuban missile crisis he urged the Soviets to indulge a nuclear exchange with the United States, even if it meant sacrificing Cuba in the name of a Communist future. Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier and no stranger to the world of repression, was appalled by the cavalier recklessness of his Cuban clients.

Many American liberals, confident that repressive theory would never apply to them, have often admired dictators trying to fundamentally transform the world. An earlier generation of American academics admired Lenin and Trotsky, and swooned over Stalin even as he unleashed genocide in Ukraine, torturing anyone who offended his paranoia into confessing imaginary crimes “against the people.” And then he shot them. The children of these liberals, who now want to be called “progressives” and incapable of learning from experience, found much to admire in Mao’s China, in Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam, and in Cuba.

They assured everyone in their books and magazine articles that the Castro brothers were building heaven on earth just 90 miles from Florida, and were puzzled by why so many Cubans were building boats, rafts and anything that would float, all to flee paradise. These escapees from the gulag were scorned as whiners, malcontents and ingrates whose testimony should be ignored.

The world has turned over several times since those days. The Soviet Union lies unmourned in the dustbin of history, Mao’s successors have become crony capitalists and the unadulterated communism that so besotted Fidel thrives only in Cuba and in North Korea. The totalitarian machinery that enables the Castro brothers to hang on still works, but only as enforced by the saber and the gun. Dissenters to the dictates of the state end in prison camps, or worse. The hatred of Americans, Fidel’s stock-in-trade, remains the staple of what he feeds Cuba.

This obviously does not bother Mr. Kerry or his boss. In the days before the American flag was raised once more in Havana, the Castro brothers scooped up 90 dissidents, Fidel raged against the United States for the ten thousandth time, and celebrated the end of the 70th anniversary of World War II with a condemnation of President Truman for dispatching the atomic bomb to Hiroshima. Normal relations between Havana and Washington will be possible, Fidel says, only if the United States suspends its trade embargo and sends reparations for the harm Cuba has suffered.

Mr. Kerry hasn’t said anything about this, the Obama administration’s appetite for insult of America being insatiable. He neither invited nor permitted Cuban dissidents to attend the flag raising, signaling that the U.S. government is now officially on the side of the purveyors of misery.

The New York Times, usually eager to lead cheers for whatever President Obama dreams up to pander to America’s enemies, nevertheless quotes one Rodriquez Roig, a young Cuban on the streets of Havana: “You asked me what change do I see? Nothing. Just because there’s an embassy over there,” gesturing toward a row of houses, “it doesn’t change anything.”

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