In 1959, Fidel Castro and his communist henchmen put a bullet through the head of freedom. Proclaiming the era of equality, they threw dissidents in jail or shot them, cracked down on free speech, closed their markets and seized private property. Thousands of Cubans fled to the liberty of the United States. Over the decades, hundreds of thousands of Cubans left the island any way they could. Learned men floated battered cars 90 miles toward Florida in the hope that they would reach land; young women smuggled their babies into rickety old boats in the desperate desire to escape perennial servitude.
But the spirit of freedom never died. Freedom can never be crushed, after all, so long as freedom lives elsewhere. And for sixty years, it lived just beyond the horizon. President after president signaled support for the aspirations of the Cuban people for something beyond the petty tyranny of the Castros.
Then along came President Obama.
This week, President Obama visited Cuba. There, he was snubbed on the tarmac by tin-pot dictator Raul Castro; he took a staged photo before a massive building-sized mural of genocidal murderer Che Guevara; he smiled and bowed to Castro when they met. Castro treated Obama to a harangue about America's moral inferiority, blustering, "We defend human rights." He adds, "Actually, we find it inconceivable that a government does not defend and ensure the right to health care, any patient, social security, food provision and development, equal pay and the rights of children." Obama nodded along, then stated placidly, "I personally would not disagree with that." He then added, idiotically, "The goal of the human rights dialogue is not for the United States to dictate to Cuba how they should govern themselves, but to make sure that we are having a frank and candid conversation around this issue. And hopefully that we can learn from each other."
The United States does not need to learn from Cuba; Cuba needs to learn from the United States. But in his desire to glorify his own name, in his even deeper desire to level the global economic playing field, and in his greatest desire to tear out Americanism at the roots, Obama kowtows to some of the worst people on the planet.
And kowtow he does. After that awkward exchange, Raul Castro grabbed Obama's wrist; Obama went limp, and allowed Castro to raise his hanging hand high in the air. Then, hours later in a press briefing, the State Department did not directly say anything about the crackdown on hundreds of dissidents who were jailed just before his arrival. The Cubans arrested one of the dissidents' leaders scheduled to meet with Obama. Ben Rhodes, Obama's national security advisor, shrugged all of that off, stating that the United States understands that the Cuban government sees these political prisoners as criminals under Cuban law. Obama himself did not directly say whether he would give Castro a list of political prisoners for release.
In other words, Obama went to Cuba with the express purpose of snuffing out the last hope that Americans would be willing to stand with freedom. In the end, he won't succeed. America remains free, and Obama's self-congratulatory virtue signaling on behalf of a terroristic authoritarian nightmare doesn't change that. But Obama's actions in legitimizing one of the worst regimes in modern history will damn at least one more generation to their tender mercies.
Ben Shapiro, 32, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, a radio host on KRLA 870 Los Angeles and KTIE 590 Orange County, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show," and Editor-in-Chief of DailyWire.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of "Bullies." He lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles. To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.