The facts are as follows:nbsp; Fidel Castro runs Cuba.nbsp; His government is communist.nbsp; As in all communist countries, the guns on the borders are aimed inward.nbsp; Cubans trying to leave without permission are hunted down, killed, or imprisoned.nbsp; Castro has sent helicopters to drop sandbags onto makeshift rafts crowded with people trying to escape his regime.nbsp; Elians mother, Elisabeth, tried to escape on a raft.nbsp; She took Elian with her.nbsp; She died.nbsp; Elian survived.nbsp; He now lives with relatives in Miami.nbsp; Castro and the Clinton administration want him back in Cuba.
Since the Russian revolution, American Leftists have pretended that the only difference between the Western democracies and totalitarian communist regimes is that the communists provide free health care, free education, and housing for everyone.nbsp; Communists, we are told, hold elections,nbsp; They preserve human dignity by letting all workers have a voice in running their country.nbsp; Their laws protect the innocent and their legislative bodies have high rates of grass roots participation.nbsp; Their streets are safe, and their income distribution more equal.nbsp; Their people are warm, friendly, and free of the excesses of Western materialism.nbsp;
When Communist governments butcher millions of people we are told that all governments make mistakes and that the Western democracies are worse because they are also racist oppressors who promote inequality and oppress the weak while the Communists equally distribute wealth and power to everyone.nbsp; While the Nazis trafficked in hate, seeking to murder an entire people simply because of who they were, we are supposed to believe that Communists, who do the same thing, seek only to build a society in which everyone is equal and all groups get along.
At least two generations of American students have been taught this drivel.nbsp; With Leftist sympathizers controlling the curriculum, students hear little about the 100 million people killed by communist regimes in the 20th century and are as unfamiliar with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Harry Wu, Wei Jingsheng, Whittaker Chambers, Fredrich Hayek and Adam Smith as they are with the original intent of the Bill of Rights.nbsp;
Because they are so ignorant, they have no idea of what life is like under a malevolent government with unlimited power.nbsp; They do not understand the pressures that can be brought to bear, the tremendous courage it takes to speak out against the regime, and the ease with which individuals can be brought to heel.
Those who do understand know that in Cuba, all but the most heroic can be forced to say whatever Castro wants.nbsp; They know that discussions of child custody laws are a farce in a regime that obeys no law, operates special forced-labor prison camps for adolescents and children, and attacks its opponents by denying their families education and jobs.nbsp; Luis Fernandez, a Cuban diplomat, summed things up perfectly when he demanded Elians return.nbsp; It was required, he said, because the boy was a possession of the Cuban government.nbsp;
With the opening of various Soviet archives and the resurgence of scholarship on the evils of communism, reasonable people can no longer pretend that communist governments have any redeeming virtues.nbsp; For evidence, there is The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terrors, and Repression.nbsp; A sensation in France, it has recently been published in English and pulls no punches in its meticulous recounting of 20th century communist horrors.
But Leftists are so committed to their utopian ideal that they will do anything to divert attention from communist atrocities.nbsp; Thus the sudden interest in the rights of Elians father from a group that typically typecasts fathers as vicious brutes and child abusers.nbsp; To protect the idea of a utopia that never existed, they have no qualms about condemning an innocent six-year-old to a lifetime of terror under the boot heel of a totalitarian thug.
On another topic, a recent letter-to-the editor by Mr. Rich Fozzard criticized the March 21 Right Angles column on the number of gun-related child deaths because it reported stats in age categories that dont match anyones definition of children, and did not cite the studies that anti-gun advocates base their figures on.nbsp; Mr. Fozzard considers this irresponsible and indicative of knowing little about interpreting statistics.
For the record, the age categories given were those used in reporting the number of deaths from injury by firearms in the National Vital Statistics Reports, volume 47, number 19, Deaths: Final Data for 1997.nbsp; They are chosen by the National Center for Health Statistics which is the source for data on gun deaths in the United States.nbsp; When one has the actual data, one typically does not refer to a study.
 Stphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Pann, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartoek, Jean-Louis Margolin.nbsp; 1999.nbsp; The Black Book of Communism, Crimes, Terror, Repression.nbsp; Translated by Johathan Murphy and Mark Kramer.nbsp; Cambridge, Massachusetts:nbsp; Harvard University Press, p. 663.
Tom Carter. 6 April 2000.nbsp; Envoys remark about boy sparks uproar in Miami, The Washington Times, online edition as of 6 April 2000.nbsp; http://www.washtimes.com/world/default-200046223849.htm.
Linda Gorman is a Senior Fellow with the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado, https://i2i.org. This article originally appeared in the Colorado Daily (Boulder), for which Linda Gorman is a regular columnist.
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