- - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“If I were a U.S. citizen, I’d vote for Obama for president,” boasted Mariela Castro during her San Francisco conference last week. “I think he is sincere, I think he speaks from the heart.” To cheers and applause from the San Franciscan crowd, Raul Castro’s daughter also proclaimed, “what we want [is] the power of emancipation through socialism.”

Last year, former Democratic President Jimmy Carter thoroughly charmed Mariela’s father and uncle in Havana. “We greeted each other as old friends,” Mr. Carter gushed regarding his meeting with Fidel Castro.

“In 2002, we received him warmly,” reciprocated Fidel Castro. “Now, I reiterated to him our respect and esteem.”

“Jimmy Carter was the best of all U.S. presidents,” Raul Castro gushed while seeing his American guest off personally and jovially.


In fact, for many prominent Democrats, the Castros’ Cuba resembles the Land of Oz, with Cubans laughing the days away - “ha-ha-ha! ho-ho-ho! and a couple of tra-la-las!” If this sounds hyperbolic, here’s Conscience of the Democratic Party George McGovern after a visit to Cuba in 1975: “Everywhere we were surrounded by laughing children who obviously loved Fidel.”

Then there is late Frank Mankiewicz, a lifelong Democratic factotum who served as campaign chairman for presidential candidate George McGovern, press secretary for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and head of NPR from 1977 to 1983. Mankiewicz was greatly impressed by “the enthusiasm and unity of the Cuban people … they are proud of their accomplishments and sing songs about themselves and their country that reflect this self-pride.”

Mariela’s Uncle Fidel ringingly endorsed Mr. Obama the first time around, while greatly fearing for the Democratic candidate’s life. “A profound racism exists in the U.S.,” Fidel revealed in an October 2008 essay. “It’s a miracle that the Democratic candidate [Mr. Obama] has not suffered the fate of other Americans who dreamed of equality and justice like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.”

For the record: Fidel Castro forcibly overthrew a black Cuban head of state (Fulgencio Batista) and replaced his government with one where just 9 percent of the ruling Stalinist party is black and the prison population is 80 percent to 90 percent black. He jailed the longest-suffering black political prisoner of modern history (Eusebio Penalver, who suffered longer in Mr. Castro’s dungeons than Nelson Mandela suffered in South Africa’s.) He sentenced other blacks (Dr. Elias Biscet and Jorge Antunez) to 20-year sentences essentially for quoting Martin Luther King in a public square.

Chris Matthews isn’t alone in swooning over Mr. Obama’s charisma, verbal agility and smarts. Fidel’s leg also tingles:

“[Mr. Obama] has a habit of looking at his adversary with serenity and laughing at the verbal gaffes of an opponent who looks blankly into space,” continued Fidel Castro’s endorsement, in which he also denounced Sen. John McCain as “a habitual liar, who lacks an ethical code and is an instrument of the “Miami Mafia” (i.e., overwhelmingly Republican Cuban-Americans).

Mr. Castro lamented over the “brutal measures” the George W. Bush administration had adopted during “the capitalist crisis,” of that time, because those “will provoke more inflation, more devaluation and more loss of markets.” A McCain victory would be “economically disastrous” because “he knows nothing about economic complications.”

For the record: Fidel Castro converted a nation with a higher per capita income than half of Europe, the lowest inflation rate in the Western Hemisphere and a huge influx of immigrants into one that provoked an exodus of 20 percent of its population against enormous odds and at the cost of their every possession. This after Mr. Castro’s fiefdom was lavished with Soviet subsidies that totaled almost 10 Marshall Plans (into a nation of 6.5 million). This economic feat defies not only the laws of economics but seemingly the very laws of physics.

Actually, Castroites have been associates of Mr. Obama’s associates for decades. “I have been affiliated with the Cuba Council of Churches since the 1980s,” boasted the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a sermon on July 16, 2006. “I have several close Cuban friends who work with the Cuba Council of Churches, and you have heard me preach about our affiliation and the Black Theology Project’s trips to Cuba. The Cuban Council of Churches has been a nonpartisan global mission partner for decades. I have worked with them for two decades.”

“Nonpartisan,” Mr. Wright? Not according to Cuban intelligence defector Juan Vives, who from hands-on experience reports that the Cuba Council of Churches is, in fact, an arm of Cuba’s Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People), itself an arm of the nation’s secret police, founded and mentored by the KGB and East German Stasi.

Humberto Fontova is author of “Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant” (Regnery, 2005).