December 2, 2009
Castro's Berlin Wall -- Alive and KickingBy Humberto Fontova
OK, a decent interval has passed since Freedom-Week, so I'm no party-pooper. The fall of the Berlin Wall certainly merited all the festivities. Its construction eventually whacked many of the "enlightened" on the head, grabbed them by the ears, and shoved their faces in for a close-up of an enclosure that had gone up fourteen years earlier: the Iron Curtain.
After September 1961, there was no denying it: the term "captive nations" was not a "McCarthyite" confection. All that barbed wire, those minefields, and those machine guns were not ornamental. Those big, steely-eyed dogs were not trained to beg and roll over, but to rip apart anyone seeking freedom. The Berlin Wall (FINALLY!) bellowed high-decibel proof, even to the deafest leftist, that Communism was pure slavery (but obviously not for the slavemasters).
Now for some "party-poopery." Between two and three hundred people died trying to breach the Berlin Wall (i.e., the "anti-fascist protection barrier," as dubbed by the Reds and as probably thought of by the type of people who believe Cuba has free and exquisite health care and who pay to see Michael Moore movies). Between sixty-five and eighty thousand people (men, women, and children, entire families at a time) have died trying to escape Castro's Cuba. The former is now happily torn asunder. The latter is alive and kicking and glorified by everyone from the Congressional Black Caucus to Michael Moore and lavished with economic succor by many of the same governments who celebrated the collapse of East German Communism two weeks ago.
More tragically, I daresay that many of the Cuban freedom-seekers died more horrifically than the German freedom-seekers. He'd be loath to admit it, being a Che-T-shirt-wearer and all, but Eric Burdon of the Animals wrote a song that resounds with many Cubans: "We gotta get outta this place -- if it's the LAST thing we EVER do!"
The last thing, indeed, for an estimated one in three of the desperate Cuban escapes during the '60s, '70s and '80s. This is according to a study by the late Cuban-American scholar Dr. Armando Lago. This hideous arithmetic translates into those tens of thousands of estimated deaths at sea over the past half-century. And from people desperately fleeing a nation -- this cannot be repeated often enough -- that previously enjoyed net immigration, that pre-Castro/Che took in more immigrants per capita than the U.S., including during the Ellis Island years.
Many Cuban escapee-rafters perished like captives of the Apaches, staked in the sun and dying slowly of sunburn and thirst. Then there are others, gasping and choking after their arms and legs finally give out and they gulp that last lungful of seawater, much like the crew in The Perfect Storm. Still others are eaten alive -- drawn and quartered by the serrated teeth of hammerheads and tiger sharks, much like Captain Quint in Jaws. Perhaps these last perished the most mercifully. As we've all seen on the Discovery Channel, sharks don't dally at a meal.
"In space no one can hear you scream," says the ad for the original Alien. Same for the middle of the Florida straits -- except ,of course, for your raft-mates. While clinging to the disintegrating raft, while watching the fins rushing in and water frothing in white -- then red -- they hear the screams all too clearly. Elian Gonzalez might know.
Every year in South Florida, the INS and Coast Guard hear scores of such stories. Were the cause of these horrors more politically correct -- say, if they could somehow pin it on George Bush, Glenn Beck, or Sarah Palin -- we'd have no end of books, movies and documentaries. We'd never hear the end of it.
Alas, the agents of this tropical holocaust consist of the Left's premier pin-up boys. 'Nuff said.
"Pin-up" along with "tattoo idol" boys, I should have clarified, as exemplified by many including Angelina Jolie. According to Trisha Ziff, curator of a world-traveling Che-glorification museum show, Ms. Jolie sports a Che Guevara tattoo somewhere on her epidermis. More interestingly, a few years back, Ms. Jolie won the U.N.'s "Global Humanitarian Award" for her "work with refugees."
Will someone please inform Angelina Jolie that her tattoo idol, with his firing squads and prison camps, provoked the most macabre refugee crisis in the history of this hemisphere?
A consistently hot item on Cuba's black market is used motor oil: poor man's shark-repellent, they call it. Perhaps for a few minutes. I suppose we all cling to false hopes when desperate. And people get no more desperate than when they have a chance to flee the handiwork of Norman Mailer's, Oliver Stone's, and Charlie Rangel's hero.
"I Hate The Sea" is the title of a gut-gripping underground essay by Cuban dissident Rafael Contreras. It's about some young men Rafael met on the beach near Havana. They stared out to sea, cursed it and spit into it. "It incarcerates us," they fumed, "worse than jail bars."
Yet mankind has always been drawn to the sea: it soothes, attracts, infatuates. The most expensive real estate faces the sea. "Water is everywhere a protection" writes anthropologist Lionel Tiger, trying to explain the lure, "like a moat. As a species we love it."
Yet Cubans now hate it. Che was right: the Cuban Revolution indeed created a "New Man," but one more psychologically perverse than what even Che's fevered brain could conjure. In Cuba, Castro's and Che's totalitarian dream gave rise to a psychic cripple beyond the imagination of even Orwell or Huxley: the first specimens in the history of the species to actually hate the sea, the first to regard it not as protection, but as equivalent to the barbed wire and machine guns of the late Berlin Wall.
Yet all we hear about Cuba is the horrors at Gitmo, where the criminals and terrorists are behind bars. On the rest of the island, this sort runs the country.
A seventeen-year-old named Orlando Travieso was armed with only a homemade paddle when he was machine-gunned to death in March 1991. His crime was trying to flee Cuba on a tiny raft. Loamis Gonzalez was fifteen when he was machine-gunned to death for the same crime. Owen Delgado was fifteen when Castro's police dragged him out of the Ecuadorian Embassy where he sought asylum and clubbed him to death with rifle butts.
After so many machine-gun blasts kept disturbing their coastal subjects, the Castro brothers hit upon the scheme of having their Soviet helicopters hover over the escaping freedom-seekers, and rather than machine gun them to death, simply drop sandbags onto their rafts and rickety boats to demolish and sink them. Then the tiger sharks and hammerheads could do the Castroites' deputy-work.
Four years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Michael Moore's, Jesse Jackson's and Charles Rangel's gracious hosts were machine-gunning desperate Cubans who tried to swim into our Guantanamo Base, then retrieving their corpses with gaffing hooks. "This is the most savage kind of behavior I've ever heard of," said Robert Gelbard, deputy assistant secretary of state for Latin America during the Clinton administration (no less!). "This is even worse than what happened at the Berlin Wall!"
So what's the alternative if you can't flee Cuba? Well, in 1986, Cuba's suicide rate reached twenty-four per thousand -- making it double Latin America's average, making it triple Cuba's pre-Castro rate, making Cuban women the most suicidal in the world, and making suicide the primary cause of death for Cubans aged 15-48. At that point, the Cuban government ceased publishing the statistics on the self-slaughter. The figures became state secrets. The implications horrified even the Castroites.
But apparently not the MSM's gynocracy. Take Barbara Walters: "Castro's personal magnetism is still powerful, his presence is still commanding. Cuba has very high literacy, and Castro has brought great health care to his country."
Here's NBC's Andrea Mitchell: "Castro is old-fashioned, courtly -- even paternal...a thoroughly fascinating figure."
Humberto Fontova is the author of four books including Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant and Exposing the Real Che Guevara. Visit hfontova.com