(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/06/chr.jpg)Given the media’s neurotic hyper-sensitivity to the most microscopic hint of white on black racism here’s a question:
When would a black human rights activist who was jailed and tortured by a lily-white regime for the crime of quoting Martin Luther King be totally ignored by this same media while he testified to a Senate Committee?
And when would the white daughter of his white torturer (almost concurrently) get fawning media coverage, including a forum by CNN for this white woman to insult the black torture victim as a “liar” a “crook” and a “mercenary”—without the slightest rebuttal from her host?
Answer: When the black gentleman was jailed and tortured by the Castro regime and when the white woman is Raul Castro’s daughter, Fidel Castro’s niece and Che Guevara’s goddaughter.
A caveat: I realize that The Godfather remains the top educational source on Cuba for many Americans. But unlike Connie and Michael Corleone, Cuba’s Stalinist Mafiosi aren’t big into religious arcana like assigning godparents. So I admit to imprecision on the identity of Mariela Castro’s godfather. Raul Castro did serve as best man at Che Guevara’s first wedding, however. And Che Guevara later stood in Raul’s. So I’m close.
Mariela Castro’s family regime, by the way, has jailed and tortured the longest suffering black political prisoners in modern history, several of them suffering longer in her father and uncle’s dungeons than Nelson Mandela suffered in Apartheid South Africa’s. Mariela’s “godfather” Che famously denounced blacks as, “indolent and fanciful, spending their money on frivolity and drink.” Not that you would know any of this from CNN, whom Mariela’s uncle bestowed with the first news bureau granted to a U.S. network.
“Fidel Castro is one helluva guy!” Ted Turner gushed to a capacity crowd at Harvard Law School during a speech in 1997. “You people would like him. Most people in Cuba like him.” Two weeks later CNN was granted its coveted Havana Bureau.
And if the above crack about The Godfather as “top educational source on Cuba” sounds flippant here’s Jon Stewart (often touted as the top news source for young Americans) from July 23rd 2008: “All I know about pre-Castro Cuba I learned from The Godfather II.”
Here’s Chris Matthews from Oct. 23rd 2011: “I mean everybody who saw Godfather II knows what it was like when Castro took over.”
When Ann Coulter was asked on ABC’s “The View” if she had ever seen two women having sex, she replied: “Not since Katie Couric interviewed Hillary Clinton.” Christiane Amanpour’s interview of Mariela Castro last week comes close to such a spectacle. While giving the Stalinist apparatchik a forum to denounce American lawmakers (of Cuban heritage and mostly Republican) as “Mafiosi” and Cuban dissidents as “liars,” “crooks” and “mercenaries” Amanpour showed cutesey family pics of the Castro family.
This family regime’s policies—combining firing squads, torture, prison beatings, machine-gunning and drowning of escapees–killed an estimated 100,000 Cubans and drove almost 20 percent of Cuba’s population into exile (from a nation formerly deluged with immigrants). So imagine the number of Cuban families with gaping holes in their family portraits. Many of these people live in the U.S. today within a short ride of CNN studios—to no avail.
A few days after the Amanpour-Castro lovefest, a black Cuban dissident named Jorge Garcia Perez, better known as “Antunez,” testified (via video-conference from Cuba) to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Antunez suffered 17 years in Castro’s dungeons and torture chambers essentially for the crime of quoting Martin Luther King and the UN Declaration on Human Rights.
Two years ago, while Antunez suffered in Castro’s prisons, his sister (today living in the U.S.) declared:
The Cuban government tries to fool the world with siren songs depicting racial equality in our country. But it is all a farce, as I and my family can attest, having suffered from the systematic racism directed at us by Castro’s regime. My brother suffers the scourge of racial hatred every day. The beatings are always accompanied by racial epithets. They set dogs on him. They deny him medical attention. They kept him from attending his mother’s funeral.
Antunez’s sister then quoted her brother: “The only thing I have to thank the Cuban revolution for, is for restoring the yoke of slavery that my ancestors lived under.”
Antunez’s testimony last week, broadcast from a totalitarian country and at great risk to his liberty, might have been considered newsworthy. Instead he was met with a total media blackout.
But when Nelson Mandela addressed Congress in June 1990, after a tumultuous ticker tape parade in New York, every U.S. network carried his every word along with the frequent and thunderous Congressional ovations accompanying them. The ovations from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, needless to add, were particularly thunderous.
But rather than hailing the black torture victim (Antunez) this same Congressional Black Caucus hails his torturer, and in a manner that can only be compared to Ann Margaret’s hailing of Conrad Birdie. If this also sounds hyperbolic, here are direct quotes from CBC members after their visit to Cuba in April 2009:
“He (Castro) looked directly into my eyes,” gasped Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA), “and then he asked: how can we help President Obama? Fidel Castro really wants President Obama to succeed.”
“It was quite a moment to behold,” hyperventilated Rep. Barbara Lee. (D-CA) “Fidel Castro was very engaging and very energetic.”
“He’s one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met,” gushed Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
“Raul Castro was a very engaging, down-to-earth and kind man … someone who I would favor as a neighbor. It was almost like visiting an old friend,” (former Black Panther Bobby Rush (D-IL).
During last week’s Senate hearing, Antunez denounced the Obama administration’s granting of Mariela Castro a U.S. visa as an “insult to all suffering Cubans.” Even worse (better), Antúnez denounced Obama’s “policies of rapprochement with Cuba for strengthening the repressive apparatus and the impunity of the aggressors.” “Neither remittances,” he stressed, “nor travel, nor cultural exchanges will help the democratization of Cuba.”
Any questions why his testimony was blacked out?
According to a recent report from Antunez’s wife in Cuba, a squad of Castro’s police swarmed over her husband with billy clubs – after macing him. They beat him unconscious and dragged him off.
As we go to press, Antunez’s exact condition and whereabouts are unknown. (No word on the arrest from CNN, and we expect none.)
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