News and Commentary

Professor: Castro Is Symbol Of ‘Freedom,’ Not ‘Oppression’

A left-wing professor with expertise in Latin America claimed that the Cuban regime’s prohibition against free travel of its citizens prevents a brain drain of its most economically valuable persons. He also claimed that the late Fidel Castro was a symbol of freedom for many people around the world. He further blamed American foreign policy for Castro’s anti-Americanism. The Castro regime, he claimed, was not “totalitarian” or a system of “political oppression.”

Rene de La Pedraja – a professor as Cansius College – joined Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson on his eponymous show to share his views of the late Fidel Castro.

Pedraja explained what he saw as the Castro regime’s economic rationale for denying its subjects the ability to leave the Cuba:

“Put yourself in the place of the Cuban government, they spend a lot of money educating a doctor, and then when he’s ready to practise, ‘Well, I’ll just go to the US and earn those high salaries there.’ So you can see this attempt to restrict. There was some economic reasons for that, it was not just that it was a totalitarian system.”

Pedraja did not explain why the aforementioned restriction on free travel was applied to all Cuban citizens, and not just those into whom the state invested “a lot of money” via post-secondary education.

Pedraja falsely claimed that Cuban citizens are now free to leave the country. He described the years before this non-existent change in policy as “the earlier period” of Cuba’s post-revolutionary history.

Castro was a symbol of freedom, explained Pedraja:

“Because he’s become a symbol, not just in Cuba, but throughout the world, for people who, believe it or not, are seeking freedom, are seeking opportunities. Remember, he abolished segregation in Cuba, nobody mentions that there. He supported nationalist movements across the world in an age when there were colonies and empires. So that made him very attractive to a lot of people. Now, for me it’s difficult to say this, because I’m not really the extreme left.”

American aggression towards Castro, said Pedraja, was the cause of the late Cuban dictator’s anti-American policies:

“You’re forgetting the fact that United States has been trying to overthrow Castro since August of 1959, so this has made the government very paranoid. We tried to assassinate him. We tried to do all these horrible things to him… It’s the US government behind all this.”

Echoing socialist filmmaker Michael Moore, Pedraja praised Cuba’s health care infrastructure and falsely claimed that the island state’s researchers had discovered a vaccine for lung cancer

“[Cuba has] such a great service, a vaccine for lung cancer… They have all these new discoveries.”

Cubans fleeing to America by sea, said Pedraja, were often attempting to leave behind personal problems such as failing marriages:

“Well, the ones who have fled for a number of reasons, sometimes for personal reasons. They left their wives behind. They want to start a new life with a new wife, forget about the old family. You don’t hear about in the media

It’s not this huge system of political oppression… It’s not this brutal regime. The Cold War is over.”

Watch the segment below.

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