Cuba Castro (copy) (copy)

Cuban President Fidel Castro met with a delegation of South Carolina elected officials — here, speaking to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer — and businessmen in Havana, Cuba on Jan. 9, 2004 and into Jan. 10. Their visit was designed to establish agricultural trade with the island nation. File/Wade Spees/Staff

In the neither-here-nor-there department, it’s a sad irony that politicians around the world, socialist leaders and dictators frequently end up with untold riches not uncommonly at the expense of the common man that they purport to represent.

That’s sad, but what’s laughable are the limousine liberals who are so rich that whatever programs they champion won’t even begin to affect their personal bottom lines. It’s called being falsely magnanimous, the art of making no meaningful sacrifice for that which you end up taking credit.

Anyway, back to the first point and a couple of interesting articles that have appeared in Forbes over the years, which reported back in 2006, for example, that the personal net wealth of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was estimated a decade earlier to be about $900 million. Castro died at the age of 90 on Nov. 25, 2016, exactly 53 years and three days after the assassination of his nemesis, President John F. Kennedy. Interestingly, the two bore certain similarities: Both were born into wealth via extremely ambitious fathers, both loved sports, had mistresses and fought for their country to oust dictators. That’s about where the similarities end.

One of the Forbes articles lists a few interesting factoids about Castro that the average American might not know.

1. He was born on his father’s prosperous 25,000-acre, 400-employee sugar plantation, in the small Cuban town of Biran. The property now serves as a Castro Museum.

2. Castro’s privileged background (although non-bourgeois) contradicted his political message and to give himself credibility he’d describe his grandparents as “exploited Galician peasants” from Spain.

3. He was sent to boarding school where he received a quality education. At the age of 14 (claiming to be 12) he sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt congratulating him on his re-election while also brazenly asking for “a 10 dollars bill green American.”

4. The Biran estate was more than a working plantation. Castro’s father Angel also established a primary school, hotel, pub, post office, a market store and a ring for cockfighting.

5. Castro ruled Cuba for 49 (understandably) paranoid years and moved frequently due to an estimated 600 assassination attempts by the CIA and other foes. The failed plots were occasionally Bond-esque and included exploding cigars and poison milkshakes. Castro eventually ceded power to his brother Raul and retired to Punto Cero (Point Zero), his top secret 75-acre spread in a gated community in suburban Havana that resembled a vast military compound.

6. Punto Cero was a far cry from the “fisherman’s cottage” Castro publicly claimed as his main asset. According to Castro’s bodyguard (and as reported by InCuba Today), the dictator also had residences in Cayo Piedra (a short distance from the Bay of Pigs), La Caleta del Rosario (which featured a private marina), and La Deseada, a chalet in Pinar del Rio — reportedly one of Castro’s favorite duck hunting spots.

7. Despite his Jesuit background, Castro was an atheist (or at least professed to be) but nonetheless met with three popes and even exchanged religious books with them.

What’s particularly ironic about Castro (and leaders of his ilk around the world) is that he wrongly lived the life of a billionaire capitalist that was only obtained through the subjugation of his people’s freedoms and aspirations rightly and fairly to try to accomplish the same.

Edward M. Gilbreth is a Charleston physician. Reach him at