We Shan’t Overcome: Peter Seeger, Racism and Castro


Humberto, at the Babalu blog, makes an interesting point about Pete Seeger and his flirtation with Castro.

In 1999 famous peacenik Pete Seeger proudly visited the Stalinist dictator who brought the world closest to nuclear war of any person in history to eagerly accept an award “against racism” from the Stalinist/Apartheid regime that jailed and tortured the longest suffering black political prisoners in modern history. In 2007 this very regime booted the visiting black American jazz musician Youman Wilder.

His offense?

Straying from the Stalinist regime’s official song-list and singing the famous Pete Seeger arrangement, We Shall Overcome!

This last fascinating datum courtesy of Henry Gomez in the inimitable Babalu Blog!)

In brief: the arranger and populizer of We Shall Overcome was honored to be honored with the highest cultural award by the regime that banned the singing of his most famous song!

There is a history of this with leftist musicians finding that protest songs were less welcome in Communist countries where protests are banned.

Paul Robeson singing Go Down Moses was far more controversial in the USSR where lines like “When Israel was in Egypt land, Let my people go!” had a whole different resonance with large numbers of Jews who wanted to leave for Israel.

  • Lee

    I know it fits your story line but it wasn’t Castro who “brought the world closest to nuclear war of any person in history”; rather it was Khrushchev, leader of the USSR. Castro was not in control of the situation.

    (And it also may have been Truman if Japan and/or the Nazis had developed nuclear weapons sooner, considering the facts have shown that the US had not really known how far along they were in their nuclear weapons development.)

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I’m quoting someone else, not offering my own option.

      • Omar

        Mr. Greenfield, Mr. Fontova is right about the Castro dictatorship’s history of terrorism. More people need to be aware about how evil the Castro dictatorship ruling Cuba really is.

    • objectivefactsmatter


      Castro may have had control over tactical nukes. It’s been reported that he was pushing for a preemptive strike or to use them in response to US reconnaissance missions.

    • Omar

      Actually, it was the Castro dictatorship that came closest of anyone to launching a nuclear war. Even Khrushchev didn’t want a nuclear war. Castro wanted it because he hates the United States (that hatred originated with his father, who was a Spanish colonial officer during the Spanish-American War in 1898). The Soviet leadership removed the missles from Cuba because Khrushchev thought that the Castro brothers and Che Guevara would get too close to the buttons and launch a nuclear war. The Castro dictatorship’s response to the Missile Crisis resolution was to plot a terrorist attack in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan during the holiday season in November 1962, one month after the Missile Crisis. The Castro dictatorship used some of its diplomats from its diplomatic mission to the United Nations to plant bombs in Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Bloomindale’s, and Grand Central Terminal. The explosives weight about a total of 500 kg and they were set to detonate on Black Friday in 1962. The FBI infiltrated the plot and arrested the Cuban diplomats responsible for the plot. The diplomats were sent back to Cuba. The story on the plot was reported in the New York Times.

  • john spielman

    why couldn’t some one with Pete Seeger’s mind see the utter hypocrasy in the communist state where “all pigs are equal but some are just more equal than others”
    The only place in history where communist style principles have worked is in Christian groups like convents and monasteries and Amish communities whose sole purpose is to serve God not man. Communism (and strict socialism) cannot succeed without that foundation because some people are inherently LAZY and /or CORRUPT and thus take advantage of others ( as happened in the Soviet Union China Cuba etc.)

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Because Seeger, like most lefties, thought of himself as being more equal

  • Omar

    Remember that this is the same Communist Cuba that incarcerated the longest-served black political prisoner in modern history, who was Eusebio Penalver. Penalver served in the Cuban prisons from 1960 to 1988 before being released and exiled to the United States and lived in Miami, Florida until his death in 2006. Few people have heard of him because of the undeserved praise that his oppressors receive regularly from the international left. This is also the same international left that demands the U.S. government to release Cuban spies guilty of violating America’s sovereignty (Communist Cuba has violated America’s sovereignty many times over the past five decades, as Cuban agents have repeatedly interfered in U.S. domestic affars, including the politics of Puerto Rico, over the years) as well as murder (one of the so-called “Cuban Five” agents gave information about the Cuban exile humanitarian group, Brothers to the Rescue, to the Cuban Air Force, which proceeded to shoot down two unarmed Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996, killing all four pilots, two from each plane). The Castro dictatorship has also conducted terrorism against its own people, both in Cuba and abroad, as well as tried to frame Cuban exiles for terrorist attacks committed by the regime. In 1976, the Castro dictatorship hired a double-agent, Ricardo Morales Navarette to blow up a Cuban airliner in order to blame the attack on some of the militant Cuban exiles. The regime paid Morales Navarette $18,000 to commit the atrocity. The attack was planned in the Cuban embassy in Mexico City in March of 1976, about seven months before the actual attack happened. In October of 1976, Cubana Airlines Flight 455 exploded shortly after taking off from Barbados. All 73 people on board died. The Castro dictatorship blamed the attack on a militant exile named Luis Posada Carriles, who was living in Venezuela at the time. The Castro dictatorship falsely claimed that Posada Carriles hired militants to plant a C4 bomb in the plane’s rear bathroom. But the truth is far different. Morales Navarette had actually placed the bomb (which was commercial dynamite, not C4) in the baggage compartment of the plane. Furthermore, Britain’s ARDE agency (which investigates damages caused by manmade atrocities, like the Islamist terrorist attack on the London Underground in 2005), which did the investigation over the Cubana 455 incident, even offered to raise the entire plane from the sea’s bottom. But Fidel Castro refused to let the ARDE do that, knowing that doing so would further destroy his case against Posada Carriles, who was innocent. It is also important to note that the mastermind of the plane bombing, Morales Navarette, confessed to the crime in a Miami-Dade County court in 1982, shortly before his death. In addition, Posada Carriles was acquitted twice by a Venezuelan military and civilian court (one time each). But Venezuela doesn’t have a double jeopardy law. So, when Hugo Chavez became Venezuela’s president in 1999, he demanded that Posada Carriles return to Venezuela to face bogus charges about his “role” in the Cubana plane bombing. The Cubana plane incident is one of many instances where the Castro dictatorship in Cuba has tried to give opponents of its oppressive rule a negative image by accusing opponents of atrocities that the regime itself has committed. The Castro dictatorship is evil and must be defeated in order for Cuba and the rest of Latin America to fully return to democracy.