. . . in any honest "Castro is dead" editorial:
Communist. This one stands alone. An editorial that cannot call him a communist is, on its face . . .
. . . dishonest. It withholds from its readers the most important fact about Mr. Castro. He was a communist, a Marxist-Leninist, pro-Soviet. But also this:
Brutal. Ruthless. Violent.
Assassin. Atheist. Expropriator. Failed attorney. Human rights abuser. Liar ("I am not a communist.") Killer. Torturer.
For politics, enforcer of rule by one party and a cult of personality, suppressor of dissent and civil liberties.
For the press, state control.
For the economy, state control.
For the Cuban people: poverty . . . economic, political, spiritual, cultural.
How many of these words and ideas appeared in The Houston Chronicle's editorial Sunday?
In its own voice, the newspaper did refer once to Castro's "dictatorial rule." The writers referred to Mr. Castro's "repressive policies . . . on the beleaguered Cuban economy, culture and human rights."
These mentions were correct, so far as they went, but inadequate to the enormity of the subject. Dictatorial? How? What repressive policies? A beleaguered Cuban economy? Beleaguered how? By whom? Ditto for culture and human rights. Who was this man?
This was all the frown words newspaper could muster.
Instead the newspaper used language that, at least in connotation, was positive, if not adulatory: Held power longer than any living national leader except Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Towering legacy.
The astonishing thing about the "Goodbye, Fidel" editorial is that it was harsher by far on President-elect Donald Trump than on the dead dictator.
Most inexperienced, unqualified president in American history. [His views on Cuba] are as fickle as they are uninformed. [Allegedly spent] $68,000 to explore business opportunities in Cuba, thereby violating the stringent U.S. embargo. Vowed to reverse Obama's efforts [to normalize relations with Cuba]. We wonder if he knows [what he believes about Cuba].
Despite the Trump-bashing, the newspaper gave the last word to Donald Trump. His one paragraph contains more truth about Castro than everything the Chronicle musters in its eight flaccid paragraphs: Totalitarian island. Horrors. Tragedies, death and pain.
And the newspaper still cannot understand why more people take Mr. Trump's words more seriously than the words of The Houston Chronicle editorial board.
How can the newspaper defend having given a pass to Castro?
The newspaper probably will deny that it does so, as if the drive-by criticisms were all the subject required.
The newspaper will also argue that the editorial is really not about Mr. Castro, except as a jumping off place for the real subject: America's present and future relations with Cuba. The headline, after all, is "Cuba's future."
This is certainly a valid topic for an editorial. But not on the day after Mr. Castro died. After 57 years, he had earned an editorial sendoff of his own. A spotlight on his words, character, ideas, and deeds. A newspaper owes it to readers to remind them who this monster was and why he matters.
Why did the newspaper fail this obligation to its readers? Why could the editorial board not bring itself to call him even a communist?
It's speculation, as such things always are, but I say that the newspaper's tepid editorial is the gift our local progressives give to all failed leftists, which is silence about the fact of their failure and the policies that led to failure.
Silence about the horrors they inflict on their own people. On political prisoners. On people forced to try to live and rear families in a failed economy.
Silence on the left's unrelenting war on religion, free speech, free markets, and free minds. On civilization itself.
Silence on the remarkable wealth that their friends and relatives accrued while the people suffered.
The Chronicle would never openly advocate the things Mr. Castro believed and did. The editors may even be embarrassed, faintly, that Castro was neither a good man nor a good leader.
But by not pinning these things to Mr. Castro's funeral tunic, however, the Chronicle praised him with faint damns.
All together now: Shame on The Houston Chronicle.