J. Lee Grady, Charisma News Fidel Castro (Courtesy of history.com) I know it's tempting—in a politically correct sort of way—to say nice things about tyrants at their funerals. But it is a mockery of justice to applaud a man like Fidel Castro when his record of human rights abuses is so criminal. Regardless of where you stand politically, this man was evil personified. Consider his legacy of shame:
• He ordered mass executions of government officials when he took control of Cuba in 1959, and he was responsible for so many executions and "disappearances" of citizens that no one has been able to calculate the number; • He imprisoned, tortured and murdered more of his own people than any other Latin American dictator; • He forced more than 20 percent of Cuban citizens to flee the island, and some of them died in their boats while trying to escape; • He created a police state in which citizens were subjected to 24-hour surveillance; • He punished artists, writers and journalists for thinking freely, and he built concentration camps for dissidents—including thousands of gays and lesbians; • He closed down all private enterprise, ended private ownership of all property and eventually destroyed Cuba's economy; • He mentored Venezuela's dictator, Hugo Chavez, who then turned Venezuela into a sad copy of Cuba. Today, that nation is on the brink of total ruin while its people stand in line for hours to buy bread; • He attacked churches, executed and tortured pastors and attempted to wipe out Christianity to create his socialist utopia. His motto was "Socialismo o muerte," "Socialism or death."
What was Castro's legacy? I would suggest the inscription on his tombstone should say: "He Couldn't Stop Christianity." In spite of Castro's hatred of God, his thirst for blood and his iron-fisted control, he could not stop the truth of Jesus from spreading in Cuba. A recent report by CBN News says 16,000 new churches have opened in Cuba in the past two decades. Missionary work on the island is at an all-time high.
Carlos Barbieri, director of the Luis Palau Bible Institute, said: "The church in Cuba has grown in the shadows of culture for many years. Many of the churches and church leaders were born in the trenches and underground. They are bold and persistent. They are undoubtedly a living example for others, committed to the Scriptures and passionate about the Lord."
Fidel Castro worked for decades to snuff out faith on his island. But now he is dead—and the Cuban church has not just survived, it has thrived. Castro's sad life provides a warning to all leaders bent on evil. And Cuba's dark night has finally ended.