Early Saturday morning, MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews reflected on the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who passed away late Friday.
Matthews explained that initially, Castro was regarded as a “romantic figure” and “folk hero.”
“I will remind everybody, certainly people who read about him in history, he was a romantic figure when he came into power, and when he knocked off the corrupt dictator Batista, we American young high school kids rooted like mad for the guy. We thought here was this guy in fatigues with a beard coming in out of the countryside leading a revolution and swept aside this old corrupt regime, and he was going to be almost like a folk hero to most of us for many months. And as Andrea pointed out he would go to ‘Meet the Press’ and go on to the ‘Jack Parr Show,’ which was a forerunner of ‘The Tonight Show,’ Jimmy Fallon’s show. And he would be a figure that you would look up to and say, ‘God, this guy is great.’”
But Matthews also pointed to the dark side of the Castro regime, which was pro-Soviet and anti-United States.
“Then, of course, he began executing people and join the Soviet side, and I think we had to be very cold about this. In the cold war when it reached its peak, we were really threatened geopolitically by the Soviet Union around the world, he was part of the alliance against us, and he would have been part of the victory had there been a Cold War victory by the soviets. He was very much in their circle and very much an ally of Khrushchev and Brezhnev and the rest at their worst. There still some romance, I think people attached to him, but I think it has to be made sober by the fact he was not a friend of the United States by any means at all.”
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