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FONTOVA: Beyonce, Jay-Z and the racists
Touring Havana only adds to suffering of black Cubans
Beyonce and Jay-Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana last week as official guests of a regime that busily beat and arrested black civil rights activists known as the "Rosa Parks Civil Rights Movement."
The Stalinist apartheid regime that hosted the superstar couple murdered more political prisoners in its first three years in power than Hitler murdered in his first six and jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin did during the Great Terror. Among these victims are the longest-suffering black political prisoners in modern history.
Their visit coincides with a wave of racist repression by Cuba's white rulers. Cuba's black human-rights activists are being beaten, arrested and tortured at a rate that sets a 10-year record for racist torture and terror in the Castro family fiefdom.
Heartbreakingly, many of these Cuban human-rights activists admire the U.S. civil rights movement, unaware that the current standard-bearers of this movement far from championing their cause actually champion their torturers."Viva Fidel! Viva Che!" yelled Jesse Jackson while arm in arm with Fidel Castro at the University of Havana in 1984.
"[Raul Castro] is one of the most amazing human beings I've ever met," gushed Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, upon visiting the Castro family fiefdom three years ago.
As Beyonce and Jay-Z swanked it up around Havana, every penny they spent landed in the pocket of the regime currently beating and arresting Cuban blacks peacefully protesting under the banner of the civil rights leaders the U.S. superstars claim to venerate. Cuban dissident Sonia Garro has spent the past two Easters in Raul Castro's dungeons without even being charged. She was beaten, arrested and beaten again for the crime of carrying flowers in a peaceful religious demonstration honoring other peaceful Cuban blacks murdered by Castroite firing squads.
"The Negro," sneered Jay-Z's T-shirt idol Che Guevara, "is indolent and lazy, and spends his money on frivolities, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized and intelligent."
Many Cuban blacks suffered longer incarceration in the dungeons of Che and the Castros than Nelson Mandela suffered in South Africa's. In fact, victims of the Castro regime qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history. Eusebio Penalver, Ignacio Cuesta Valle, Antonio Lopez Munoz, Ricardo Valdes Cancio and many other Cuban blacks suffered almost 30 years in the Castros' prisons. Bloodied in their fight against Beyonce's hosts, they remained unbowed.
Have you ever heard any of their names mentioned by the U.S. media? Eusebio Penalver became a U.S. citizen and lived in Miami for almost 20 years. He would have been a cinch for the media to track down. Has CNN interviewed any of them? Have you ever see any of them on "60 Minutes," or read about them in The New York Times? Have you ever heard of them on National Public Radio during Black History Month, seen them on the History channel or A&E? Has the NAACP or Congressional Black Caucus mentioned them?
Just last month, black activist Roberto Rivalta Junco died from maltreatment in Raul Castro's dungeons. Did the media report on this racist repression on our very borders? Yet Cuba hosts media bureaus that include CNN, ABC, NBC and The Associated Press. These media outlets reported exhaustively on racist repression when it took place in apartheid South Africa.
Today, the prison population in Cuba is about 80 percent black, while only 9 percent of the ruling Stalinist party is black. Many of a certain age remember many of Beyonce's musician predecessors mounting a campaign called "Artists United Against Apartheid," aimed at boycotting South Africa, reviling any musicians who played there, and showcasing the human-rights abuses suffered by South African blacks. Should we hold our breath for the same bunch to organize "Artists United Against Castro-Stalinism"?
Cuba's racist rulers are enjoying a record windfall of almost $3 billion from tourism. This gravy train arrives courtesy of a deluge of tourists 10 times the number who visited Cuba during the 1950s when it was a "tourist playground." The result of this tourist windfall? A fat, rich and happy Stalinist regime, accompanied by a 20-year high in repression against the Cuban people. The military mostly owns Cuba's tourist industry in majority partnership with some European robber barons. Did the media inform you that many Cuban hotels currently crammed with tourists were stolen at Soviet gunpoint from Cuban and American owners and stockholders in 1960? Or that they're being run by European and Castroite millionaires who laugh in the face of the fleeced and rightful owners? I didn't think so.
Did the media inform you that this armed robbery, totaling $7 billion in current dollars, followed by 50 years of snickering and finger-flipping by the thieves at the legal owners features in the U.S. sanctions known as the Cuba "embargo?" Of course not.
Every shred of observable evidence proves that travel to Cuba enriches and entrenches the KGB-trained and heavily armed owners of Cuba's tourism industry and, thus, the highly motivated guardians of Cuba's Stalinist status quo.
I know that in all the libertarian and liberal think tank computer models, the results of ending the Cuba "embargo" plays out differently. Observable facts, though, are otherwise.
Humberto Fontova is author of "Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant" (Regnery, 2005).
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