Think Before You Speak: Justin Trudeau's Fidel Castro "Eulogy"
When it Comes to Communist Dictators, Think About What You're Saying!
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has garnered a lot of press over the last year since becoming Canada's latest prime minister. He's been featured on Vogue with his beautiful wife Sophie, and it seems as though a week can't go by without some mention about Trudeau photobombing or showing up in a selfie. He has, of course, made appearances in Parliament since his Oct. 19, 2015 election win, but basically, it's been a Trudeau lovefest since he was voted into office.
This past weekend, though, Trudeau made a rather serious misstep in what has otherwise been a year filled with glowing publicity for the young prime minister. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who led his country for some 50 years before passing power on to his somewhat younger brother Raul in 2008, died. El Commandante was a friend of Trudeau's father Pierre, who was one of Canada's most noted prime ministers from April 1968 to June 1979 and again from March 1980 to June 1984. Castro even attended the elder Trudeau's funeral in 2000, and while it could be argued that his appearance was simply protocol as a world leader, he was also named honorary pallbearer at the funeral.
“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend, and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement upon learning of Fidel Castro's death.
“A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation,” Trudeau wrote. “Both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”
With all due respect to the office that Mr. Trudeau holds - dude! Fidel Castro was known as one of the world's most notorious dictators. Yes, literacy rates fell and apparently, medical care is excellent - but medical personnel are paid very poorly, and not everyone can afford care. There are many individuals who work in resorts who rely on the travel goods that foreigners bring in order to supplement their families' survival, simply because they aren't paid enough.
The media is government run, and there are no dissenting opinions allowed to be published - to do so would be treasonous. Under Fidel Castro's regime, people were killed or jailed for trying to speak out against el Commandante.
Castro was indeed larger than life - his speeches, which were by all accounts legendary, were fiery orations that people could not help but be moved by. His appearance alone reminded people of just how formidable a person he truly seemed, and he carried this image well into his senior years until his health started to fail. In fact, he almost seemed like a doting grandfather when out of his standard military uniform; seen in a track suit, he almost seemed as though he should have young children in tow looking for candy rather than one of the world's most feared leaders.
But it was Castro the revolutionary who came to power after unseating then-Cuban president Batista in an unlikely and incredible coup, one in which he promised his people a return to democracy. Such promises were essentially chucked when he took office, though, and a strong dictatorship was once again born.
Perhaps Justin Trudeau has either forgotten Castro the tyrant or has become so blinded by the notion of his late father being friends with the late Cuban president that his eulogy sounded something like he was paying tribute to a dearly departed uncle. Regardless, his words have led several of the world leaders to question what Trudeau was thinking when he eulogized Castro in fairly glowing terms late last week.
Castro may have been a delightful conversationalist, or a quick wit, but he was still a brutal tyrant.
One Leader Mourns Another
Justin Trudeau Is Entitled to his Feelings, but he's the Leader of a Democracy
Certainly, expressing his admiration for Fidel Castro is not the only misstep that Trudeau appears to have been made as leader of the Canadian Liberal party. In the past, Trudeau has also expressed his admiration for Communist China, something which had foreign policy pundits scratching their collective heads.
As the leader of a country with so many spectacular resources, the current Prime Minister Trudeau needs to be aware that there's a rather huge spotlight on him, and not because he happens to be a good looking man. Remarking about how wonderful Fidel Castro was as a leader seems wrong, somehow, and seems to completely ignore the wrongdoing that Castro actually orchestrated during his five decades in power.
Mr. Trudeau might be great at schmoozing, and he's demonstrated excellent skill when it comes to LGBTQ rights, but when it comes to commenting about non-democratic countries and their leaders, he perhaps should leave the commentary to his press secretary.