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This is precisely when Fidel Castro received a fawning invitation from Harvard Law School to address the university. It seems that both the student body and faculty were smitten with the Cuban Revolution’s shinning judicial record. Castro accepted on the spot, making Harvard the last gig on his 1959 U.S. tour.
“Castro Visit Triumphant!” headlined Harvard’s Law School Forum for April 30, 1959. “The audience got what it wanted, the chance of seeing the Cuban hero in person.”
“Viva Fidel!” roared these fervent foes of capital punishment and double jeopardy. In fact, the adoring crowd was too enormous to fit or contain in any campus facility. But it was worth is, apparently, “[e]ven if we didn’t see him at as close a range as might have been desired,” an attendee was quoted as saying in the Harvard Forum.
Interestingly, Fidel Castro had actually applied to Harvard Law School in 1948. This was brought to light by Harvard’s Arts and Sciences Dean, McGeorge Bundy (who later served as JFK’s Kissinger). “Caught up in the exuberance of the event,” continued the Harvard Law Forum, “Harvard Dean, McGeorge Bundy, declared that Harvard was ready to make amends for its mistake in 1948. ‘I’ve decided to admit him!’ declared Dean Bundy.”
The Dean’s quip again brought the house down and shook the very roof.
Alas, given the law of averages, an independent thinker was bound to pop up– even among ten thousand Harvard students and faculty. Wonders will never cease. One such wiseacre brought up the questionable legal procedures preceding those hundreds of executions in Cuba.
“If the defendant has a right to appeal,” answered Castro.”Then so do the people! And don’t forget, Cuba’s is the only people’s revolution in Latin America!”
The assembly erupted over the bearded prime minister’s brilliant riposte. “Viva Fidel!—Viva Fidel!” they chanted again, roaring and whooping at the mass-murderer’s incontestable rejoinder. This creme de la creme of America’s ratiocinators found the Stalinist’s logic not only perfectly airtight, but positively dazzling in its ingenuity and completely sound in its principle of justice. A delirious pandemonium swept the hall as America’s most best-tutored law students (along with their tutors) overflowed with veneration and joy at this point-blank elucidation of Castroite justice.
Similar receptions had come at the National Press Club, Overseas Press Club, United Nations, and on Meet The Press.
Not one heckler from among America’s brightest and cheekiest college kids. Not one rebuttal from America’s biggest assemblies of top journalists. Not one snicker or frown from the top cut of America’s adversarial press. Not one raised eyebrow or discreet snicker from the nations’ most hard-boiled investigative reporters. The Cuban “prime minister,” as they all called him, was on a serious roll on that tour.
And remember: The Iranian Hostage Crisis was not solved on day 444 when President Reagan, in office mere hours, pledged a financial rescue of Iran. Something else seemed to motivate the Iranian kidnappers. Alas, Obama has just pledged a rescue of Castro.
Update: On February 4th, Alan Gross was finally charged by Cuban prosecutors for “acts against the integrity and independence” of Cuba. They are seeking a 20-year sentence for the 60-year-old captive.
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