In an astounding lack of sensitivity for the families of the victims of the Castro dictatorship, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker fell over himself in expressing his sadness at this ‘great loss’. Fidel Castro, who passed away on 26 November, ruled communist Cuba with an iron fist for almost five decades. While it would be unchristian to welcome the death of any human being, it is important not to forget the inhuman legacy of the Castro regime.
Mr Juncker – a man who has long lost any sense of credibility or even common decency – rushed out a statement in which he described the ruthless dictator Fidel Castro as “one of the historic figures of the past century and the embodiment of the Cuban Revolution.” One cannot deny that Castro was a major figure of 20th century history; however, the same can be said for Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot. Juncker’s statement on the other hand gives the impression that Castro was one of the good guys, somebody to celebrate for his historical contribution.
The EC President goes on to state pompously about Castro that “His legacy will be judged by history”, revealing his own complete lack of a moral compass. There was a time when the EU stood for a clear set of values, including democracy, freedom and human rights, all of which were trampled under foot by Castro and his communist cronies. If Juncker had any moral backbone, he would state clearly that Castro’s brutal regime was the antithesis of European values founded on the dignity of each and every human being.
Mr Juncker would be well advised to read the statement put out by Human Rights Watch which is not afraid to judge Mr Castro’s legacy today, instead of hiding behind history: “During his nearly five decades of rule in Cuba, Fidel Castro built a repressive system that punished virtually all forms of dissent, a dark legacy that lives on even after his death.”
Did Mr Juncker consider even for a moment how his fawning farewell to the brutal dictator of Cuba would be received in the ten EU Member States that were themselves subject to decades of suffering under similiarly oppressive communist regimes? This latest statement is yet another demonstration of how out of touch the Commission President has become.
Even the socialist President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, seems to have had the decency to have refrained from any official statement on the death of Castro. Perhaps he was conscious of the track record of the Parliament in highlighting the human rights abuses of the Castro regime, such as awarding its annual human rights Sakharov Prize on number of occasions to Cuban dissidents such as Damas de Blanco in 2005 and again to Guillermo Farinas in 2010.
It is a pity that Jean-Claude did not consult his erstwhile comrade Martin before putting out his disgraceful statement. Mr Juncker, it really is time you followed Mr Schulz off the EU stage, hanging your head in shame as you go.