Fidel Castro is no longer here to fight for his character and politics. Soon after his death, political pundits have begun to ask the question: Will the self-proclaimed Marxist and Cuban nationalist go down in history as a political hero or bully? Many have expressed a variety of views on the subject. While the New York Times article seems to treat his actions lightly, I have a harder time stomaching them.

Throughout his life, Fidel Castro was known for his ability to harness rebellion and point it to victory. Yet, the majority of the praise originates from his belief in a socialist ideology and action under his rule. This belief drove a full-scale government-run healthcare and educational system. He also was able to practically reform the entire Cuban government. Many have claimed that this movement of “big government” is inspirational.

While many give praise to this dictator, they are wrong. Those behind the microphone do not represent people living under Castro’s rule. One must look into the possible reasoning behind the hundreds of Cuban-Americans in Florida celebrating the death (see Washington Post link). To them, the legacy of Fidel Castro is not as complicated. From the firing squads to the sinking of ships with women and children from Cuba on board, Castro is more criminal than hero. The dictator has forced labor camps on his people and his foreign interventions have resulted in thousands of deaths. Castro treated his citizens as political pawns.