As he attempted to address them this week, one third of the UN General Assembly walked out on Iranian “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Then he was pointedly snubbed by all U.S. political figures and hard-balled by the media, who grilled him on human rights abuses and nuclear weapons.
Fidel Castro’s sides must be hurting as he ponders the scene. Perhaps he’s offering his friend Ahmadinejad some advice: “Ahmadinejad you sorry chump! When I visited New York in 1995 for the UN’s 50th Anniversary bash, and accused the U.S. of murdering thousands of Cubans with “silent Atomic Bombs” not only did I get the loudest and longest ovation from the General Assembly, but Time magazine hailed me as “The Toast of Manhattan!” and Newsweek as “The Hottest Ticket in Manhattan!” These accolades appeared in the same week’s issues!”
“You’re rumored to be working on nuclear weapons. I had them, and am on the record for craving to fire them at the very city and people that insulted you and feted me!” sorry…sorry let me catch my breath here, Mahmoud. This stuff just slays me!”
“Your regime holds a few hundred political prisoners, Mahmoud. But mine jailed them at a higher rate than Stalin’s during the Great Terror!….When my dearly departed little poodle, Che Guevara, visited the UN in 1964, loudly boasted of our mass executions, and denounced the U.S. as ‘the perpetrator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples of the world and against a large part of its own population!’ and as ‘a carnivorous animal feeding on the helpless!’ the ovation was not quite as long or loud as the ones I got, mind you, but plenty loud and long enough. That night Che was the guest of honor at ‘Bobo’ Rockefeller’s Manhattan suite, where cocktail guests from Norman Mailer to Eugene McCarthy lined up for his autograph!”
“And remember what my dearly departed little poodle had admitted just two years earlier: ‘If the Missiles had remained, we would have shot them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York City‘ (Che Guevara to Sam Russell of the London Daily Worker in November 1962.) Indeed, during that New York visit, my little poodle Che also met with the Black Liberation Front, whom we were funding to blow up the Statue of Liberty during that time!
“Anyway, those Time and Newsweek headlines I mentioned earlier hailed the social swirl that engulfed me on my 1995 visit to Manhattan. After my whooping, hollering, foot-stomping ovation in the General Assembly, I was feted by the New York’s best and brightest, hob-knobbing with dozens of Manhattan’s glitterati, pundits and power brokers. First, I had a late luncheon at the Council of Foreign Relations. After holding court there for a rapt David Rockefeller along with Robert McNamara, Dwayne Andreas and Random House’s Harold Evans, I flashed over to Mort Zuckerman’s 5th Avenue pad, where a throng of Beltway glitterati, including a breathless Mike Wallace, Peter Jennings, Tina Brown, Bernard Shaw and Barbara Walters all jostled for brief verbal tryst, cooing and gurgling to my every comment. All clamored for autographs and photo-ops. Diane Sawyer was so overcome in my presence that she rushed up, broke into that toothy smile of hers, wrapped her arms around my neck and smooched me warmly on the cheek.
“You people are the cream of the crop!” I beamed at to the smiling throng surrounding me.
“‘Hear-hear!’ chirped my delighted hosts while tinkling their wine glasses in appreciation and glee.
“And I had barely scratched the surface of my New York fan club, Mahmoud. My friends at the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council inform me that I had gotten over 250 dinner invitations from Manhattan celebrities and power-brokers.
“My New York reception at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 was no less rapturous. After my UN speech, with my ears still ringing from the ovation, I made my way to Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, where pastor Calvin Butts gushed: ‘It is in our tradition to welcome all who are visionaries and who seek the liberation of all people. God Bless you, Fidel!’
“Here I’ll quote from People’s Weekly World: ‘The mainly African American audience, which included New York Democratic representatives Charles Rangel and Nydia Velasquez, enthusiastically greeted the Cuban leader with a ten minute standing ovation. Chants of ‘VIVA FIDEL!’ resounded from the rafters.’
“I recall fondly how the delirious ovation rose to the level of an earthquake – to a hurricane. The very walls and rafters shook with shrieks of ‘FIDEL! VIVA FIDEL!’ Elombe Brathe, head of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and chair for the meeting, then asked the audience, ‘Who would you rather come to Harlem? Fidel or Giuliani?’
“‘FIDEL!’ They erupted. ‘FIDEL! VIVA FIDEL!’ Then, with Congresswoman Maxine Waters looking on in rapture, my old chum Charlie Rangel waddled up to the podium and – oomph! – engulfed me in a mighty bear hug.
“The trick, amigo Mahmoud, is you that gotta have tried to NUKE these New Yorkers first, you gotta have tried to INCINERATE THOUSANDS of New York Holiday shoppers!
“Then you visit and VOILA! You’re feted as: ‘The Toast of Manhattan’ by the very people you indeed tried to toast. Try it next time, Mahmoud.”