Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Castro Scorns the Ballot Box

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Castro Scorns the Ballot Box

Article excerpt

In a tie and suit, Fidel Castro, describing himself as a politician, flattered the media biggies gathered for lunch in Mort Zuckerman's Fifth Avenue apartment with: "You are the cream of the crop."

A dollop of sour cream came from this corner: If you claim to be a politician, why have you been unwilling for 36 years to face an opponent in a democratic election?

The Cuban dictator downmouthed elections as "a popularity competition between political personalities" engaged in by "speakers good at theatrics, demagogues and liars. I don't want to get involved in that kind of competition."

Fidel, the non-demagogue, is above all that. He took pains to remind us he won a law school election 180 to 33, and had perfected the techniques of organization and direct mail "even before your Christian right."

Then why not let the Cuban people vote? "I am not afraid, but we do not have presidential elections in our country." Later, he compared his selection to that of the pope, elected by a ballot of cardinals.

All this nonsense is being peddled by the only totalitarian ruler in our hemisphere; his secret police informers, trained by the Stasi spies of East Germany, permeate every Cuban village and walk of life. Amnesty International counts 600 prisoners rotting in Cuban jails for daring to oppose the dictator's rule; the Stasi and the old KGB would be proud of their pupil.

Castro, who rules by fear, avoids free elections because he is afraid he would lose. That should not be surprising because he is one of the great losers of our time.

After seizing power, he lost his revolutionary soul by taking Cuba down the communist road to repression. He lost all chance for Cuban prosperity by burdening the people with 3.2 million government workers and a huge standing army to protect his regime from any need for elections. He lost Cuba's independence by making it a vassal of the Soviet Union, addicted to Soviet subsidies, renting out Cuban youth as mercenaries in Moscow's failed African adventures; and when that blood money dried up, Cubans suffered as never before.

Despite that record of colossal failure, he gets the loudest applause of all speakers at the United Nations. …

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