. Like most dictators, Castro is a brazen liar, especially about his own regime. This, for example, is what he told an international conference in Havana in April 2001:
"There have never been death squads in our country, nor a single missing person, nor a single political assassination, nor a single victim of torture. . . . You may travel around the country, ask the people, look for a single piece of evidence, try to find a single case where the Revolutionary government has ordered or tolerated such an action. And if you find them, then I will never speak in public again."
One would have to be willfully blind -- a useful idiot, in Lenin's phrase -- to believe such a reeking falsehood. But when it comes to Castro, useful idiots have never been in short supply. From Norman Mailer to Jean-Paul Sartre, from Jesse Jackson to Ted Turner, a long line of admirers has swooned over the bearded tyrant, lavishly praising his wisdom and charm -- and never showing the slightest interest in his real record: cruelty, repression, and a death toll in the tens of thousands.
But Castro's mocking challenge -- ''try to find a single case" -- is not going unanswered. The Cuba Archive project (www.CubaArchive.org) is working to document the cost, in human life, of more than five decades of Cuban dictatorship. The New Jersey-based archive's tiny staff has set itself the monumental task of identifying every man, woman, and child killed by Cuba's rulers since March 10, 1952, the day Batista ousted the island's last democratically elected president. Meticulously, impartially, the archive's researchers are assembling the evidence that Castro claims doesn't exist -- victim by victim, one death at a time.
Communism's victims need to be remembered. All the best to the Cuba Archive.