Many if not most rational people agree with Donald Trump’s message (found here) that Fidel Castro was a brutal dictator who oppressed the Cuban people for decades. What’s missing in Trump’s brief statement, and for that matter in most accounts by the mainstream media, is any explanation as to WHY Castro was such a brutal dictator.
What drove Castro to use the brutal force of the Cuban nation state against his own people?
There is no compelling evidence that he took brutal action against everyone. He used it against those who opposed him.
The question then to be answered is: was his brutality to prevent opposition to his position as dictator, which many intuitively believe; or was it to prevent opposition to the radical leftist-collectivist policies that he strove to implement?
I maintain that it was not due to the fear of having to forfeit his position as dictator.
Given his success in ousting Batista, the brutal and crooked dictator immediately preceding him, Castro would more than likely have enjoyed all the trappings of dictatorship with a luxurious lifestyle and would have long retained his position, with only minor and occasional force.
I suggest that Castro’s brutality was the direct consequence of his philosophy of social order and the policies necessary to implement this philosophy.
Castro was a self-described Marxist-Leninist for whom communism would be the one and only economic system allowed in Cuba. He was an ideologue who would use any means to achieve his goals. Brutality was the means of choice because it was his only workable option.
Socialism, especially where a citizenry has been exposed to any semblance of capitalism, even if only crony capitalism, can only be imposed via force. Without force, natural cooperation, the formation of capital and voluntary exchange emerge. Capitalism, the antithesis to socialism, is achieved in the absence of force. Natural cooperation and voluntary exchange must be stamped out for pure socialism to survive.
If dictator Castro had embraced capitalism or even crony-Capitalism, Trump would have surely tweeted a different, more gentle message.
The questions remaining unanswered are: what portion of natural cooperation and voluntary exchange will a Trump administration attempt to stamp out via the abuse of private property rights and the imposition of trade restrictions and tariffs; and what version of brute political force will be used to achieve Trump’s philosophy of economic nationalism?