Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied US efforts to topple him, jas died at the age of 90.
Not all Americans were happy about that. But this episode from Real Time with Bill Maher shows the host Bill Maher admiring how the former Cuban president survived 638 assassination attempts by the CIA.
Despite Castro’s having “done some bad dictator shit,” Maher felt that the deep resentment towards the former Cuban president was hypocritical.
“Was Hosni Mubarak less of a dictator and torturer than Castro? I doubt it. We loved him long time! As we did with the Shah of Iran and Marcos, Mobutu, Soharto, Pinochet and Saddam Hussein.”
Maher’s defence of Castro came after baseball team Miami Marlins suspended manager Ozzie Guillen for five games in 2012 after he professed his admiration for Fidel Castro.
Maher sarcastically pointed out that there was no difference between communism and America if freedom of expression was not respected. “If you say something Communists don’t like, they take away your job and send you to a re-education camp until you come out with the one approved opinion...We wouldn’t want that here in America.”
Marlins’s support of Castro had apparently hurt the sentiments of Cuban-Americans in Miami, who had fled Cuba in the summer of 1994. This was when Cuba was suffering its worst post-Soviet economic crisis. More than 30,000 Cubans had taken to the sea in boats and rickety rafts towards the southern tip of Florida. Many had lost their lives in the shark-infested waters.
When news of Castro’s death broke, American-Cubans reportedly came out to celebrate on the streets.