Sean Penn was Hugo Chavez's guest of honor (again) last week, serving as keynote speaker at graduation ceremonies for Venezuela's Salvador Allende Medical School. "Allow me to impart a little anecdote," beamed the two-time Oscar winner to the enchanted crowd. "I had the privilege to introduce my children to comandante Fidel Castro and as he posed for a photo between them I told him: 'President, I'll now be denounced in the U.S. for educating my children as socialist revolutionaries.'"
So Castro responded: "That's among the best things that could happen to them.”
Besides his fame as a baseball bat-swinging wife beater, Sean Penn also claims fame as an advocate against the death penalty. His Oscar–winning role in "Dead Man Walking," where he played a convicted rapist and murderer who perished by lethal-injection in Louisiana seems to have made a deep impression upon Penn.
Unlike Louisiana’s penal system, however, the role model for Penn’s kids used firing squads, forced labor and prison beatings to murder his thousands of defenseless victims. And their “convictions” were curtly explained by Castro's chief hangman, Che Guevara: “Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail. We execute from revolutionary conviction,” he once said.
Castro himself confirmed: “Legal proof is impossible to obtain against war criminals. So we sentence them based on moral conviction.”
Among these “war criminals" were farm-kids younger than Penn’s children. Carlos Machado was 15-years-old in 1963 when a volley from Castro’s firing squad shattered his body. His twin brother and father crumpled beside Carlos from the same volley and tumbled into the same mass grave. All had resisted Castro and Che's theft of their humble family farm, all refused blindfolds and all died sneering at their Communist murderers, as did thousands of their valiant countrymen.
This “moral conviction” allowed the role model for Sean Penn’s children to jail more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin and murder more people (out of a population of 6.5 million) in his first three years in power than Hitler murdered (out of a population of 65 million) in his first six.
Enlightened opinion, including most “liberal,” “human-rights” and “peace” groups worldwide, either yawned or actually applauded the bloodbath. Harvard Law School merits special attention regarding the latter.
By April 1959, almost a thousand Cubans had been “judged” (see above) and murdered by Castro and Che’s firing squads. Cuba’s prisons were packed to suffocation with ten times the number of political prisoners as during "the Tyrant" Batista's reign. Among Castro and Che Guevara’s prisoners were hundreds of women, a Stalinist horror utterly unknown in our hemisphere until it was introduced by the “leader” swooned over by Barbara Walters, Andrea Mitchell and Diane Sawyer.
Furthermore, the death penalty was being applied retroactively (none had existed under the unspeakable Batista regime). Habeas Corpus had been abolished. Cuban defense lawyers attempting to defend the accused were being jailed themselves.
That’s when Fidel Castro received a fawning invitation from Harvard Law School asking the honor of his addressing them. Seems that both the student body and faculty were smitten with the Cuban Revolution's shining 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 [italics mine] in person!"
“Viva Fidel!” roared these fervent foes of capital punishment and double jeopardy upon first glimpsing their hero. Though the adoring crowd was too enormous to fit in any campus arena they remained chipper, "even if we didn't see Castro at as close a range as might have been desired," an attendee was quoted as saying.
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, (later to serve as JFK's national security advisor). "Caught up in the exuberance of the event," continues 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."
“Viva Fidel!” The Dean’s quip brought the house down and shook the very roof. “Viva Fidel!” roared and cheered the cream of America’s law students (and their faculty)
Alas, given the law of averages, an independent thinker was bound to pop up -- even among ten thousand Harvard students and faculty. 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!”
Well, this assembly of America’s most nimble verbal gladiators went absolutely wild over Castro’s brilliant riposte. They erupted again, roaring and whooping at the mass-murderer's incontestable rejoinder. This creme de la creme of America’s most cunning 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 ingenious and best-tutored law students (along with their tutors) went absolutely berserk 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 its top journalists. Not one snigger or frown from the top cut of America’s adversarial press. Not one raised eyebrow from the nation's most hard-boiled investigative reporters.
So let’s be fair: why pick on Sean Penn?
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