He demanded justice yet permitted injustice.
As a historical figure, Fidel Castro presents some juicy conundrums: justice and injustice, revolution and state power, citizens’ rights and state authority, artistic freedom and restriction, high literacy rates and censorship, communist economics and private enterprise, socialism and tourism.
He clamoured for sovereignty of his people while encouraging citizens to betray neighbours for counter-revolutionary activities. He spoke of brotherhood and fellowship yet roused the rabble to abuse those who tried to leave, calling them gusanos – worms.
He spoke out against the oppression of the imperialistas yet remained sanguine about oppression in his own state. He railed against colonialism and imperialism yet did not denounce the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
He demanded justice yet permitted injustice. Nelson Mandela publicly thanked Castro for his support in the anti-apartheid struggles and yet Castro condemned many political prisoners to sentences similar to Mandela’s.