Tom Morello Defends Fidel Castro: 'Huge Hero Throughout the Third World'

Rolling Stone
Tom Morello Defends Fidel Castro: 'Huge Hero Throughout the Third World'
Tom Morello defended late Cuban president Fidel Castro's legacy in a lengthy social media post where the guitarist praised the controversial leader.

Tom Morello defended late Cuban president Fidel Castro's legacy in a lengthy social media post where the Rage Against the Machine guitarist praised the controversial leader.

"While I don't agree with all that Fidel Castro did there is ample reason why he is vilified in the U.S. and yet remains a huge hero throughout the Third World," Morello wrote.

The Prophets of Rage mastermind then listed Castro's lesser-publicized achievements: "By defying Yankee imperialism for 50 years, instituting the best healthcare, child immunization and literacy systems in the Western Hemisphere (surpassing the US and Canada), exporting doctors to countries in need all over the globe (the Bush administration turned down his offer to send medical teams to New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina), and being an unrepentant advocate of the poor and exploited it is no surprise that millions will mourn his passing."

Morello, with Audioslave, became the first U.S. rock band to perform in Cuba when they staged a free Havana concert in 2005; Morello's previous band Rage Against the Machine often employed iconography and philosophies from Castro's friend and fellow revolutionary Che Guevara during their tenure.

"That experience will be one I will always treasure," Morello said of the Audioslave visit to Cuba, "especially the trip we took to a former country club of the wealthy that had been turned into a free college for gifted musicians."

Morello added the hashtags #VivaLeRevolucion and #RIPFidel.

In 2013, during Jay Z and Beyoncé's controversial vacation to Cuba before the U.S. reestablished diplomatic relations with the nation, Morello was asked about his time visiting Cuba.

"It was very interesting and very different from the portrayal of it in a lot of the mainstream U.S. media," Morello told TMZ at the time. "One of the unexpected side effects of the embargo – which, by the way, does a number of things… you can't bring in children's cancer medicines either, the United States stops that from happening, let's be clear – the cultural embargo is one that Audioslave broke."