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Matthews: ‘Too Much Romanticism’ About Castro In US, He Wasn’t Good for Health or Ed Of People He Killed

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On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” host Chris Matthews argued there was “too much romanticism” about Fidel Castro in the US and mocked arguments that Castro was good for education and healthcare by saying Castro wasn’t very good for the health or education of the dissidents he executed.

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Matthews began that while a lot of people were rooting for Castro after he took over, he “betrayed” that and his own people in how he ran Cuba.

Matthews later added that, “[P]eople say, oh, he was good for education and good for healthcare. Well, he wasn’t good for the health of the people he executed, and he wasn’t so good for their education as he ended their lives because they dared to speak — dared to speak politically.”

Jose Diaz-Balart then responded to Soledad O’Brien’s earlier comment that Castro was a “dictator” but that there was a “complicated, sort of, list of things he brought, in addition to being a despot, that he brought to Cuba.” And one needs to “peel the layers back a little bit,” in order to understand his popularity in Cuba.

Diaz-Balart said, “I don’t really understand peeling the onion, although I know that in Cuba, finding an onion is very difficult, after 1959, as well as any kind of food there. … I think there’s some truths that you can’t peel back onions and look at grays. You either kill people, or you don’t kill people. Either there are political prisoners like, Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez, Afro-Cuban who spent 17 years in political prison, Oscar Elias Biscet, Afro-Cuban doctor who spent 25 years in prison. … Those aren’t gray peeling the onions. You either are beaten, you either are facing a firing squad, you’re either facing 25 years in political prison for wanting freedom, or you’re not.”

Diaz-Balart added that there are things to “discuss” about Castro’s foreign policy. O’Brien responded that she didn’t say this was a peeling back of the onion, which prompted Diaz-Balart to object that she did say that. O’Brien added that she was merely trying to help people who wanted to understand why Castro was a hero to some people understand the “contradictions.” Diaz-Balart jumped in that the biggest contradiction was Castro breaking his promise to hold elections within six months of taking power.

O’Brien continued that Castro only looked out for his own interests, not the interests of Cuba or its people.

Matthews concluded the segment by saying, “I think there’s been too much romanticism about this guy in this country that’s got to be corrected.”

(h/t The Right Scoop)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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