There’s been much made recently about the vaunted Cuban medical system since propagandist Michael Moore traveled to Havana with 9/11 heroes in tow searching for "free" health care. It’s Mr. Moore’s idea of a clever way to criticize America and the capitalist system he exploits so brilliantly. Of course, it never actually occurred to him that while he was "free" to film in Cuba there were political prisons suffering in Castro’s gulags simply for doing exactly what Moore thinks is his sole universal right; speaking out. A big mouth coupled with a small mind is a dangerous combination.
That Moore would use his craft to spew the Castro party line isn’t surprising when you consider they are both geniuses at hypocrisy and self-promotion. Castro supposedly wanted power in order to depose a dictator and re-establish the "power of the people," but nearly five decades later without an election, he has become one of history’s most despicable tyrants, the full indictment of whom won’t be known until the inevitable fall of his particularly vehement brand of communism in Havana. Moore, for his part, pretends to care about social issues so long as he makes bundles of cash; only pathologically anti-American leftists don’t seem to notice or care.
Unfortunately for Moore, the totalitarian regime’s misinformation machinery doesn’t work quite as efficiently as it did when Castro was at the helm. So Thursday morning, in the middle of Moore’s defiant defense of Castro and his "accomplishments," Raul, perhaps in one of his notorious drunken stupors, ordered the detention of Gorki Aguila. For those unfamiliar with the Cuban punk rock scene, which would mean just about everyone, Mr. Aguila is the outspoken lead singer of "Porno for Ricardo," a punk rock band profiled recently by CNN. (That CNN would air any internal criticism of Castro is in itself incredible).
Gorki, an unlikely threat to the state, had the gumption to criticize the Cuban system so longingly worshipped by Michael Moore. Yet unlike Moore, who gets to challenge a former senator and likely presidential candidate to debate, Gorki gets a prison term. I guess the US system isn’t quite so terrible after all, Mr. Moore.
So now that Mr. Moore has decided to immerse himself into Cuban politics debate, when will he and the rest of the activist American left begin calling for the release of Gorki Aguila? The short answer is "never." Our elitist protesters are nothing more than self-serving narcissists who can only dream of having the courage of a Gorki Aguila.
Speaking out against America is cheap and easy but is far from courageous. America doesn’t have a secret police or nasty little military to anchor a leader’s repression regardless of the disturbed claims from an unhinged left to the contrary. Courage means facing consequences; real consequences not simply a dip in the popularity scale.
So despite the self-aggrandizing calls from a George Clooney to "keep making courageous films," these faux activists are cowards. While Clooney may ask for help in Darfur, he doesn’t dare criticize the biggest accomplice to the tragedy, China. He understands fully that the consequences of criticizing the Chinese government might mean a ban on his movies; so he walks a fine line instead calling on President Bush to "stop the genocide" as if the US had any control. But such is the modus operandi of the "courageous" Clooney who has always been outspoken and quick to criticize the US, where, of course, there are no consequences. So will George Clooney speak out for the release of Gorki Aguila and other political prisoners in Castro’s prisons? Not likely, at least not unless Raul cozies up to the wicked "big oil" cabal and its cohort, the CIA. Until then, the brave Clooney will take a "courageous" stand and rid the world of the evils of the ruthless paparazzi. Good luck with that, Captain Courage.
Perhaps Dixie Chick Natalie Maines will step up and demand for Gorki Aguila the same freedom she enjoys. Surely she must appreciate that criticizing your government is a fundamental right, if not for every citizen, at the very least for artists like her. There but for the grace of God go you, Natalie. His lyrics of protest are not much different than your own. Gorki is in prison merely for suggesting to others not to choose communism (as if Cuba had "chosen" communism). Luckily, or predictably, your nemesis was an American president and not the Castro brothers who would not have taken it well had Gorki made a similar suggestion of "shame" for their leader. Weak record sales and low attendance figures are the least of his worries.
Code Pinkster Cindy Sheehan won’t dare criticize Castro and his minions for incarcerating Gorki for simply speaking his mind. Cindy apparently believes it’s okay for her to stage very long, very public protests outside an elected official’s home and call for his execution but a Cuban resident, somehow her inferior, must shut his mouth or have it shut for him. What is even more hypocritically appalling is that Cindy must think that her loss of a son is much more tragic than the losses of "The Ladies in White" who she refused to meet with or even acknowledge on her recent publicity stunt to the island prison instead choosing to embrace the man responsible for the murder and imprisonment of their loved ones. Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink have a greater solidarity to a heartless repressor of human rights than to the mothers of his victims. So don’t wait for Cindy or the "elitist communists" of Code Pink to denounce Gorki’s imprisonment and call for his release, he and his opinions like the many lives of the relatives of the "Ladies in White" mean nothing in their political end game.
Regrettably, we will not hear a single American "activist" call for the release of Gorki Aguila or any other Cuban political prisoner for that matter. Regrettable because Gorki Aguila is just like them; an activist artist. Yet, unlike our Hollywood elite, Gorki faces real consequences. There is no courage without consequences and Gorki Aguila has shown more courage in a single interview than Michael Moore, George Clooney, Natalie Maines and Cindy Sheehan have shown in a lifetime.
Gorki Aguila is courageous; they are cowards.