The Legacy of Fidel Castro and the Evangelical Christian Community
In the past two days, I have engaged in some interesting and controversial conversations with some evangelical christian brothers and sisters (I myself am a follower of Christ, and do not identity myself as an evangelical Christian.) about the legacy of Fidel Castro and American imperialism, and America’s foreign policy towards Cuba and the so-called Third World countries. Let me make this clear: I am not a communist nor do I support violence and terrorism of any form. I’m against war and all forms of violence and human oppression. I’m a Christian pacifist and non-violent follower of Christ.
Below, I highlight five counter-responses to my underlying thesis (see below), from my christian brothers and sisters:
1. First of all, a christian evangelist and preacher told me that if you do not like America and American foreign policy toward the Third World, why don’t you go live in Cuba and go back to your country.
2. A christian gentleman, who holds a PhD in missions and theology, told me that I’m a communist and do not support American democracy, and that he and his grandfather have fought for the freedom of this country.
3. Another christian (a trained seminary gentleman) accused me of being anti-American, unpatriotic, and liberal.
4. Another Christian brother said to me that I was talking nonsense dressed up as pseudo-intellectualism.
5. Another christian thinker, who currently serves as the chief editor of a famous Christian magazine accused me of spreading communist propaganda.
For example, here’s one of the comments I made in the course of the conversation:
“Thanks for your comment. American imperialism and political greed in the world, especially in the Middle East, has also led to the death of thousands of children and innocent people. Fidel Castro was not the only bad guy; he was one among the many. Our pro-lie philosophy must also be inclusive; we cannot be partial or discriminatory in our evaluation.
By any means, I’m defending Castro’s leadership in Cuba. Castro was an ambivalent figure. He is a hero to many people; for others, he was the devil in the flesh. However, we need to balance our assessment and take into consideration his accomplishments and contributions in modern history. Many people in the Third World regard him as the hero who had consistently fought American imperialism and Western oppression in the world. He decried American racism against African Americans and was an aspiration to many Americans in the era of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in the United states. Fidel Castro is also revered in many countries in South Africa, and in most Latin American and Caribbean countries because of his uncompromised liberative beliefs and ideologies against the Empire and oppressive American-European economic capitalism and strategic globalism in the Region and in the world. He was also an inspiration to many Latin American theologians and freedom fighters in various Regions in the Americas. It is important that we articulate a fair narrative about the Man.
Furthermore, in addition to Castro’s brutal leadership, American foreign policy and years of embargo in Cuba have contributed to the mass exodus of Cubans out of Cuba. Imperial America gave Cuba Castro! Just like Imperial America gave the Haitian people Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc). It is also good to study US foreign policy in the world, which most American don’t care to know. Fidel Castro (1926-2016) was and will remain the Devil to many people; for others, he was the Savior.
If we are going to condemn oppression and human degradation elsewhere and everywhere, we must first begin here in the United States. If we want to be faithful to the Gospel and its clarion call to practice peace, justice, and reconciliation, we must also denounce American oppression and the dehumanization of certain lives.”
I have to constantly remind myself that the United States of America is not the world, and certainly does not represent the collective voice of the people and leaders outside of the United States of America. America happens to be one of the countries in the world. The opinions of American citizens about Castro do not represent those of non-U.S. citizens, and they’re certainly not the final words about The MAN. We are not the world! As my friend Marc-Arthur Pierre-Louis has cautioned us:
“If you don’t come from an oppressed country, if you have not been alien in someone else’s country and suffered oppression, it will be nearly impossible to understand the complexity of Castro and the Cuban people existential struggles and so I urge you not to oversimplify the Cuban revolution into a binary, Manichean settlement.”
In the video below, “Fidel Castro and Political Rights in Cuba,” “James Early and Paul Jay discuss the death of Fidel Castro and how corporate media deals with the question of political freedoms and human rights in Cuba”