In August, three months before the election that will determine the new President of the United States, the Games of the XXXI Olympiad will take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Who will prevail in the medal count is open to speculation. As fans ponder the prospects, a past Olympic moment offers a perspective on President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba.
During the 1972 Munich Olympics, a young United States men’s basketball team came from behind to defeat a more experienced squad from the Soviet Union by a score of 50-49. The buzzer sounded and the Americans began to celebrate. Then Renato William Jones, secretary-general of the International Federation of Amateur Basketball (FIBA), came out of the stands. Reportedly a good friend of the Soviets, Jones prevailed on Olympic officials to put time back on the clock. They did so three times and on their third try the Soviets scored a basket and stole the victory from the Americans. That outcome foreshadowed what would later take place in Cuba.
Under Fidel Castro, a Stalinist, sadist and economic crackpot, Cuba proved a loser on every economic indicator, not only in comparison to the United States but virtually every nation in the hemisphere. Cuba was a Soviet colony and the regime could not have survived without massive subsidies. A US trade embargo failed to gain reparations, dislodge the totalitarian regime, or promote democratic reforms.
In return for lifting the embargo, many observers would agree, it is reasonable that the Cuban regime should hold free and fair elections for the first time in more than half a century. Many would also consider it reasonable that the Castro regime, whose human rights violations take up so much space in Amnesty International reports, should allow freedom of speech, association, and assembly. The current President of the United States made no such demands.
Many of the Cuban dissidents and political prisoners are black, but the first black American president failed to name a single one and call for his release. Instead, as Richard John Neuhaus used to say, he chose to jolly it up with the jailers. Like the Olympic officials in 1972, his approach to Cuba put time back on the clock for the totalitarian regime. New Left Castro apologists such as Tom Hayden had already been hailing Obama’s overture as completing the objectives of the Cuban Revolution and “recognition of the sovereign right of its people to revolt against the Yankee Goliath and survive as a state in a sea of global solidarity.”
This is a regime so repressive that Cubans would risk their lives to flee, at the first opportunity, leaving loved ones behind. That kind of flight continued as the American president’s visit approached. As the Guardian reported, nine Cubans died at sea and a Royal Caribbean cruise ship rescued 18 others. They had been at sea 22 days, suffered severe dehydration, and according to the report could barely walk off the vessel. So even with the Obama overture, the Florida straits remain a graveyard without crosses. Indeed, Cuban fighter jets have shot down the civilian airplanes of groups attempting to rescue those who flee.
The President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, put time back on the clock for the regime that does that. Barack Obama will still be president in August during the Rio Olympics and that recalls another issue from Munich.
During those Olympic games Palestinian Black September terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes. They shot weightlifter Yossef Romano when he fought back, left him to die in front of the other hostages, then castrated him. German authorities knew about the mutilation of Yossef Romano and the savage beatings of others but kept this information under wraps. Meanwhile, the prospects of a terrorist attack in Rio cannot be taken lightly.
Islamist terrorists have been busy in Paris, San Bernardino, and Brussels, where the bodies pile up. The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, with athletes, dignitaries and countless spectators in attendance, will serve up a target-rich environment. Should a massive attack occur, the President of the United States might call it “athletic violence” in the style of the “workplace violence” that claimed 13 victims at Ford Hood in 2009. Based on his record of seven years, he would not call it Islamic violence or Islamic terrorism. With this president, Muslim mass murderers and Communist dictators always get preferential treatment.