It happened today - December 2, 2015

Well duh. On this day in history Fidel Castro said he was a Marxist-Leninist. The only reason it matters is that he said it in 1961… two years after seizing power. And while dishonesty may be a virtue among Communists, it should have told the world something.

Namely they’d been had. As such people often did, Castro posed as a moderate nationalist reformer or at least let people assume he was one while struggling to take power. And it worked. The United States, under Eisenhower, pulled the plug on the friendly dictator Fulgencio Batista, paving the way for Castro’s triumphant entry into Havana, and was the second nation (after Venezuela) to recognize him.

The New York Times lionized him as “the Robin Hood of the Caribbean” and Norman Mailer called him “the greatest hero to appear in the world since the Second World War”. But he wasn’t. He was a Commie rat who repressed dissent, crushed the economy, aligned himself with the Soviet Union and indeed pushed for war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And his long reign created stagnant tyranny, a classic “Autumn of the Patriarch”.

Pierre Trudeau visited in 1976, became friends with Castro, and publicly shouted “Viva Fidel” in Cienfuegos (actually “Viva el Primer Ministro Fidel Castro” which is less pithy). The same Trudeau who feared America’s imperialism and Reagan’s alleged warmongering. Castro and Trudeau were described as “intellectual soulmates” by a former Canadian ambassador to Cuba, and Castro was an honorary pallbearer at Trudeau’s state funeral. I find it hard to imagine, say, Francisco Franco being welcomed in such a manner. And at least he was a tyrant who opposed totalitarianism, not one who advocated it.

As I say, Castro’s admission that he was a hard-line Communist once it was too late should have taught us a lesson. But if it did, we’d have to start taking bad guys seriously when they tell us what they’re up to, from conquering the world to ushering in proletarian revolution to shouting “Allahu Akhbar” while massacring innocents. And that would never do.