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A mourner carries a picture of Fidel Castro before paying tribute to the dead dictator at Revolution Square in Havana on Nov. 29, 2016. (CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS)
A mourner carries a picture of Fidel Castro before paying tribute to the dead dictator at Revolution Square in Havana on Nov. 29, 2016. (CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS)

WHAT READERS THINK

Nov. 30: The PM and the dictator. Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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The PM, the dictator

Cash-for-access, Fidel Castro: Justin Trudeau, perhaps “not quite ready”? (Trudeau’s Marijuana Czar Lobbied During Cash-For-Access Fundraiser – Nov. 29; Fidel Castro: What A Great humanitarian – editorial, Nov. 29).

Murray Fisher, Toronto

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Childhood memories are powerful forces. Justin Trudeau didn’t re-evaluate those memories in making a public response on behalf of Canadians to Fidel Castro’s death.

He could have.

He should have.

But he didn’t.

However, we need not make more of it than what it was: a colossal lack of political judgment.

Our PM is guilty of immaturity and a lack of insight into the life of Mr. Castro in the adult and political world, but I hardly think we need worry he is demonstrating a fondness for dictator governance in the manner of Donald Trump’s fondness for Vladimir Putin.

Myrna Markovich, Toronto

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Are there any similarities between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau? Surprisingly, yes … they both admire dictators.

Paul Bond, Toronto

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According to The Globe and Mail, Cuba, under Fulgencio Batista, was “one of Latin America’s richest and most developed countries.”

In league with Batista (he’s a bastard, but he’s our bastard), American-owned plantations and businesses raked in huge profits using cheap labour working in slave-like conditions.

The mafia had the run of Havana, controlling drugs, casinos and brothels with an endless supply of impoverished women (and boys) for the tourists.

As American historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. noted: “The corruption of the government, the brutality of the police, the regime’s indifference to the needs of the people for education, medical care, housing, for social justice and economic opportunity … constituted an open invitation to revolution.”

Mr. Castro’s revolution, like all revolutions, turned oppressive, as it turned to the Mother of All Oppressors, Soviet Russia, for relief against the punitive embargo imposed by the United States, and the Soviet empire was delighted to take up the cause.

Let us hope Cuba does not have to give in to Donald Trump’s aggressive intimidation. As for The Globe’s statement that it “would at least have been understandable” if the PM had praised “say, a Chinese leader” on his death, I say: Have you no shame?

Irene Tomaszewski, Ottawa

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Fidel Castro is a giant of history whose dedication to the ideals of the revolution he led never wavered and whose love for his country and its people was prodigious. Like the fathers of the American Revolution, he led a band of idealistic rebels who toppled an oppressive regime and replaced it with a new system of government.

In Cuba’s case, the system which evolved is a de facto one-party “democracy” controlled by an autocracy which marginalizes and suppresses opponents of its system. In the U.S., the system which evolved is a chimerical multiparty “democracy” controlled by a corporate oligarchy which marginalizes and suppresses opponents of its system.

Canada, being a country that embraces diversity, is a friend to both. The Prime Minister appears to get all that.

Dermot P. Nolan, Hamilton

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Cash. Access

Re Trudeau’s Marijuana Czar Lobbied During Cash-For-Access Fundraiser (Nov. 29): It is way off base to suggest that a brief conversation between Bill Blair and a marijuana lobbyist violated Liberal Party rules on political fundraisers. As the head of the marijuana task force, it is Bill Blair’s job to talk to anyone and everyone about marijuana. The issue is not who talks to whom about what; it is whether the access to the politician in question is privileged, and that is a function of the attendance fee.

A charge of $10,000 a person is unacceptable as it limits access to the well-off, but a charge of say, $300 per person, is fine because that is within range of many pocketbooks.

Adam Plackett, Toronto

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Tuned in to CBC

Re Our Public Broadcaster Has Lost Its Way (Nov. 28): Konrad Yakabuski suggests Canadians do not watch CBC’s Canadian drama, sitcoms etc. Murdoch Mysteries regularly draws over one million Canadian viewers, The Book of Negroes was watched by an average 1.6 million per episode. These numbers are impressive, given market fragmentation.

CBC is mandated to make shows the private broadcasters will not – Canadian content about our culture and history. The private networks focus on procedurals and medical dramas.

At the same time, CBC is a woefully underfunded public broadcaster. Per capita public funding to the BBC, for example, is four times greater. Canadians deserve stories that they won’t see elsewhere, whether that’s drama like John A: Birth of a Country or sitcoms like Kim’s Convenience.

Maureen Parker, executive director, Writers Guild of Canada

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Referendum biases

Re A Vote To Vote (Nov. 28): A letter writer is on the right track in trying to simplify the referendum question by focusing on anticipated results. But Larry Jacobi does give rather short shrift to the plurality voting side of the equation.

My own, equally biased wording suggestion would be: “Do you want a system that tends to produce majority governments that can be held accountable for their decisions after a set period OR do you want a system that tends to produce coalition governments, in which all decisions will be negotiated, and where the public will periodically be given the opportunity to reweight the coalition?”

Social democrats would have us believe their only interest is in fairness and democracy. Formulating the question this way would point more clearly to their own so far largely concealed reasons for wanting a change.

Peter Conroy, Ottawa

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Not taking the hit

Re Governor-General Takes Lead On Concussions, As NHL Ducks Issue (Nov. 28): As a former player and coach (football, judo, hockey) and the parent of five boys involved in highly competitive sports, I dare say I am not alone in saluting the courage of new leadership in pursuit of answers to this problem. Too long, we have laboured under the bully-boy cheer that only the weak and cowardly avoid hits to the head; some old-time warriors still think of the brain as a muscle.

The long-time fight for helmets in hockey and the continuing failure to outlaw fighting and blindside hits illustrates ingrained attitudes that inhibit progress. How many careers have been destroyed, how many lives altered with concussions? Then there are the insults to injury with slurs such as “too bad he wasn’t man enough to take the hit.”

How long will it take to recognize that ultimate success is dependent more on the power of the brain than the strength of the back?

Ian R. Sisett, Kelowna, B.C.

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