European Union Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who praised Fidel Castro for his “far-reaching influence” and “a hero for many”, is now deservedly taking heavy fire from parliamentarians from former Soviet-led countries.
“His legacy will be judged by history.”, said EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s press statement, before conveying his condolences to Cuban President Raúl Castro and his family. It is yet to understand which history Mister Juncker was speaking of. History is in: the brutality of Fidel Castro is well documented. Castro is responsible for the ruthless killing of his political opponents for setting up a tyrannical regime that has led 1.5 million Cubans to flee the island. One can’t also help but notice that being “a hero to some” is a low bar of qualification that every dictator from Franco to Stalin would pass.
Juncker’s press secretary Margaritis Schinas said that his boss “opted for a balanced appreciation of the historical journey of Fidel Castro” and accused a Czech journalist of a “narrow view on history” when calling out Castro’s crimes and asking about his support for the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.
In fact not even the People’s Republic of China had supported the brutal Soviet crackdown on the liberalisation that had promised the Czechoslovak people decentralisation and increased freedom of speech and movement. The Warsaw pact invasion killed over 100 civilians and installed a dictatorship that would last until the fall of communism in Europe.
This is why 14 Czech and Slovak Members of the European Parliament were not having it with the statement of the Commission president and wrote an open letter to the head of the EU executive. They accuse Juncker’s spokesperson as being “arrogant” having a “total lack of understanding history”.
The letter ends with a statement that specifically answers the last sentence of the Juncker press release in saying:
“The Soviet reaction to the Prague Spring is a European tragedy and Mr. Castro’s support to Moscow shows that he was on the wrong side of history.”
The horrors of communism are ignored by those who did not happen to be subjected to them. Central and Eastern Europe tells the same story than those who have flown Cuba to reach the shores of the United States: the tyranny of communism and the disaster of collectivism should not be commended by those who seek to represent liberal democracy. Those who forget are bound to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Pictures are Creative Commons.
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