Mariela Castro’s family regime has jailed and tortured the longest suffering black political prisoners in modern history, several of them suffering longer in her father’s and uncle’s dungeons than Nelson Mandela suffered in Apartheid South Africa’s. Not that you would know any of this from CNN, who 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.
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 per cent of Cuba’s population into exile (from a nation formerly deluged with immigrants.) Imagine the number of Cuban families with gaping holes in their family portraits, many of these 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.
Antunez testimony last week, broadcast from a totalitarian country and at great risk to his liberty, might have been considered newsworthy. Instead he 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 Congress, 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-Calif.) “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). (D-Calif.) “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,” according to “someone who I would favor as a neighbor. It was almost like visiting an old friend,” (former Black Panther Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) (D-Ill.)
During last week’s Senate hearing Antunez denounced the Obama administration’s granting Mariela Castro’s 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?
On Saturday June 8 Antunez’ wife reported from Cuba that a squad of Castro’s police maced her husband, clubbed him unconscious and dragged him off. As we go to press Antunez’ exact condition and whereabouts are unknown. Senator Rubio reacted promptly: “Antunez is a courageous human rights activist. It is clear that he has been jailed and savagely beaten by criminals working for the Castro regime because he testified before the Senate last week. The naïve people-to-people exchanges that have been abused provides Raul Castro’s regime the hard currency it requires to pay thugs to jail, brutalize and even murder innocent Cuban people.”