June 13, 2011

The Truth About Cuba

Humberto Fontova has long pointed out the media falsehoods regarding the communist takeover of Cuba in 1958, one of the darkest affairs in Latin America. The communists are presented as heroes, life in Castro’s dictatorship is described as a paradise, and Cuba’s health care is described as free and fantastic. The government they overthrew is portrayed as oppressors controlled by the U.S. Mafia, supported by the U.S. government. None of which is true

The Cuban Economy

Cuba under President Fulgencio Batista in 1958 was a prosperous nation. Cubans had a higher standard of living, and earned more money, than half of Europe. Cubans had a higher standard of living than Ireland and Austria, and almost double the per-capita income of Spain and Japan. Cuba had more doctors and dentists per capita than Britain, and lower infant mortality than France and Germany – the 13th lowest in the world. All of this wealth was built from nothing, after a devastating turn-of-the-century independence war that had destroyed the economy and killed a quarter of its inhabitants.

Today Cuba’s infant mortality rate is the 24th highest.

In 1958, 80 percent of Cubans were literate. Cuba budgeted more than any other Latin American country, 23 percent of national expenses, for public education. Had Cuba been allowed to remain free from left-wing extremism, the remaining 20 percent of illiteracy would soon have been gone. Cubans would also be allowed to read and write freely. 

Yet Rupert Murdoch’s London Times talks about how Fidel Castro has “erased poverty” and created “literacy” in Cuba.

Left-wingers like to claim that Cuba was owned by American interests. In fact,  of Cuba's 161 sugar mills in 1958, only 40 were American-owned. United Fruit, the usual villain in leftist stories from this time, only owned a third of these. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in 1958 American investments in Cuba only accounted for 13 percent of Cuban GNP.

“44 per cent of Cubans a higher percentage than Americans are covered by social legislation,” starts a report on Cuba dated 1957. “One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class. Cuban workers are more unionized than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8-hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany.

According to the Geneva-based International Labor Organization, the average daily wage for an agricultural worker was also among the highest in the world, higher than in France, Belgium, Denmark, or West Germany. Cuban labor received 66.6 per cent of gross national income. In the U.S. the figure was 70 per cent, in Switzerland 64 per cent.

According to a UNESCO report, before Castro, Cuban industrial workers had the 8th highest wages in the world. Cuba had an eight-hour work day in 1933, thirty years before the Social Democracies in Europe introduced it.

Yet within the first years of the communist takeover, with Ernesto "Che" Guevara as Minister of Industry, the economy was destroyed. The Soviet Union poured in the equivalent sum of eight Marshall Plans, but this could not raise Cuba from the poverty the communists created.

Mafia Control?

T.J. English wrote a book in 2008 called “How the Mob Owned Cuba, and Lost it to the Revolution”. This book sounds like something straight out of Castro’s propaganda ministry, and indeed, his primary sources are Cuban communist officials. The book's premise is that Cuba was a Mafia center, nothing but a big Mafia-controlled casino street. The view was also presented in the Godfather movie from 1972, where the Mafia is seen riding high in Cuba, while heroic rebels are prepared to die for freedom.

The truth is that Cuba's GDP in 1957 was $2.7 billion. Cuba's foreign receipts in 1957 were $752 million, of which tourism was only $60 million. The casino business was a small fraction of those 60 million. How could those operating in the casino business “own” Cuba’s much larger economy?

Another interesting statistic, showing the wealth of Cuba at the time, is that more Cubans vacationed in the U.S. than Americans vacationed in Cuba. They went to the casinos in Las Vegas and Tahoe – and the young men came for the prostitutes in New Orleans, who were cheaper than those in Cuba.

The media will talk about the Mafia in Bautista’s days, but they will never mention how Fidel Castro’s junta has made hundreds of millions of dollars in collaboration with the cocaine cartels in Colombia during the 1970s and 1980s. “We lived like kings in Cuba,” revealed Carlos Lehder and Alejandro Bernal, heads of the Medellin Cartel, during their trials. “Fidel made sure nobody bothered us.”

The Communist Takeover

Says historian Arthur Campbell in Guerrillas: A History and Analysis: “The Guerrilla war in Cuba was notable for the marked lack of military skills or offensive spirit in the soldiers of either side.” The “war” in fact only totalled 182 dead – on both sides. The Cuban communists took power more by bribing soldiers with Soviet money than by doing any fighting. Had American politicians been willing, they could easily have saved the Cubans from communist tyranny.

After the takeover, the communists killed 20,000 Cubans. A higher ratio of the population than Stalin killed in Russia. They jailed countless others for decades.

As mentioned before, the Soviets ended up pumping the equivalent of eight Marshall Plans into Cuba. And Cuba was not a war-ravaged continent of 300 million in 1960. It was a nation of 6.5 million whose citizens formerly earned more than those in Taiwan, Japan and Spain. But when Fidel Castro took power and Ernesto Guevara was made Minister of Industry, the industry crumbled.

Today Cubans have to scramble even to find a piece of fish to eat with their rice. They can’t even go out fishing unless they can buy some fuel for their boat engine on the black market.

Nevertheless, Forbes in 2006 estimated Fidel Castro as the seventh richest head of state, with a fortune at $900 million. He personally owns roughly ten percent of Cuba’s GDP, according to Forbes’ calculations, due to his part-ownership of Cuban industries – although he of course has complete control of all of them. Many of these industries have been joint ventures with foreign investors after the communist takeover, and many of these investors were thrown out of Cuba and given not a cent back on their investments. Just like in 1960, when 5,911 businesses valued at $2 billion were stolen at gunpoint from their U.S. owners and investors. A few owners who resisted like Howard Anderson, who had his Jeep dealership stolen, and Tom Fuller, whose family farm was stolen, were arrested and murdered.

Cubans in the “worker’s paradise” are forbidden from going on strike to protest against their poverty; if they do so they can be punished by prison terms or execution.

According to some sources, the impoverished Havana has now topped Bangkok as the world’s largest center for child sex.

Fidel Castro, according to Forbes good for $900 million

Cuban Health Care

Left-wing extremists today like to say that “Cuban health care is free.” This health care is practically non-existent. A Cuban cannot get surgery or any treatment for serious disease. Left-wingers then talk of how “healthy” Cubans are. Yes, if you live a life where you constantly have to walk, and you can’t afford fat food, the young will be slim and have good leg muscles. But being in shape on one hand, and having good health care when you need it, is not the same thing. A Cuban who breaks a leg is in real trouble, and so is his whole family. 

Furthermore, Cuban doctors screen babies before birth. If a baby is shown to have any handicap, it is killed, and any parent who would protest too much is jailed. This way health costs are kept down. (But that is not something the leftists will ever write about.)

Even the babies that survive are in peril, since impoverished Cuba has lousy hospitals. As mentioned above, Cuba's infant mortality rate is now the 24th highest in the world. It used to be the 13th lowest.

American Aid?

It is a fact that in January 1959 the U.S. gave diplomatic recognition to the Castro regime faster than they had recognized President Batista in 1952.

The U.S. imposed an arms embargo on the Batista government and refused to ship arms the Cuban government had already paid for. U.S. State Department records show that U.S. ambassador Earl T. Smith personally told Batista that he had no American support, and strongly recommended that he leave Cuba when the communists started attacking. Batista was then denied political asylum in America.

In 2001 Robert Reynolds visited Havana for a conference with Fidel Castro. He was the CIA’s “Caribbean Desk’s specialist on the Cuban Revolution” from 1957-1960, and he boasted: “Me and my staff were all Fidelistas.”

Says Robert Weicha, CIA operative in Santiago, Cuba: “Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State were pro-Castro, except ambassador Earl Smith.”


The Story of One Killing

To picture the tens of thousands killed in Cuba, and hundreds of thousands imprisoned for decades, consider just one victim. Pierre San Martin was among those jailed by Castro and Guevara. He escaped execution and eventually fled. He told El Nuevo Herald how one day the soldiers dragged a boy, 12-14 years old, into the overloaded cell. He was beaten bloody. “What did you do?” the other prisoners asked him. “I tried to defend my papa,” the boy gasped. “I tried to keep these communist sons of bitches from murdering him!”

The next day the soldiers came back to take him to the execution square right outside the cells.

“Then we spotted him, strutting around the blood-drenched execution yard with his hands on his waist and barking orders  the gallant Che Guevara” said Pierre San Martin. Here, Guevara was in his element. While he was a sad, bumbling joke on the battlefield, he loved executing prisoners. 

“Kneel down!” Guevara snarled at the boy. “I said kneel down!”

The boy stared at him. “If you’re going to kill me, you’ll have to do it while I’m standing! MEN die standing!”
The prisoners yelled from their cells that Guevara should leave the boy alone. But Guevara pulled out his gun, put the barrel to the back of the boy’s head, and fired. The boys head nearly exploded.

“Murderers! Assassins!” the prisoners yelled. Ernesto Guevara looked at the prisoners, raised his gun and shot at them through the bars of the cell door. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! He emptied the clip. Several of the prisoners fell down wounded.

The Real Cuban Guerilla War

Cubans learned bitterly what the communist promise of land meant. In 1959 under much foreign media attention, Castro's “Institute of Agrarian Reform” handed out land titles to thousands of campesinos, country folk. Soon they found out that they were not allowed to sell their land or move away from it. They were also forced to sell all their produce to the government, at prices set by the government. This was of course serfdom, or slavery.

But the charade ended quickly and the peasants were forced to live in collective farms called granjas, like the Soviet kolchos system. The Cuban campesinos then took up arms, and their long, bloody struggle for freedom lasted from 1959 to 1966. With no outside help and trapped on an island, they still fought like tigers against Castro’s soldiers and Soviet soldiers.

This guerrilla war, only 90 miles from the American coast, was completely unheard of in U.S. media. Instead the media masters still praised the “revolution” in Cuba.

In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. Kennedy administration agreed to the 44,000 Soviet soldiers on Cuba, and acknowledged Castro’s dictatorship as Cuba’s legal government. U.S. authorities proceeded to jail any Cuban exiles who gave meager financial aid to the freedom fighters on Cuba, for “violating U.S. neutrality laws.” This clever agreement was handed to the Soviet-Cuban camp for free, along with a U.S. promise to remove missiles from Turkey, simply by threatening to put nuclear missiles on Cuba. 

Cuban militia units commanded by Soviet officers used flame throwers to burn down cottages in the Escambray countryside. The peasants were accused of aiding the counter-revolutionary guerrillas. In 1962, one of every 17 Cubans was a political prisoner – a higher ratio than in Stalin’s Soviet Union. Fidel himself admitted that they faced 179 groups of “counter-revolutionaries” and “bandits.”

In response, the communists ripped hundreds of thousands of Cubans from their ancestral homes and herded them to concentration camps on the opposite side of Cuba.

This Cuban guerrilla war involved ten times as many rebels as the communists fighting Batista, and lasted twice as long.

Of course, the fate of these guerrillas will never be shown in a Hollywood movie.

Zola Aguila who, after her husband was arrested, took up fighting and escaped capture in the countryside for a year, and who then suffered horribly for years in a Cuban prison, will never be praised by feminists like Susan Sarandon, Gloria Steinem or Hillary Clinton. Had she been fighting Augusto Pinochet the Hollywood bosses would do everything to make sure people heard her story.

Meanwhile, Laura Berquist of Look Magazine, Jean Daniel of The New Republic, Lee Lockwood of Life, and other reporters were in Cuba – not to interview anti-communist rebels, but to interview Fidel Castro and Ernesto Guevara.

Today Castro has set up local spy programs – “Committees for the Defense of the Revolution” – in every neighborhood. Cubans are held in fear by Rapid Response Brigades, to a large degree consisting of Blacks, roaming the streets armed with chains and pipes, ready to attack anyone who might complain about the tyranny.

Media Propaganda

“In all essentials Castro's battle for Cuba was a public relations campaign, fought in New York and Washington.”
--British historian Hugh Thomas

Journalists such as Herbert Matthews of the New York Times and Jules Dubois of the Chicago Tribune, TV figures such as Ed Sullivan and Robert Taber from CBS, all went to Cuba in 1957-1958 with cameras and notebooks to interview Fidel and his rebel comandantes, presenting them as heroic Robin Hoods. Even a reporter from Boy’s Life magazine came over. The reporters told the American public that Batista’s Cuba was suffering under a stifling and murderous dictatorship. With so many reporters coming and going, Fidel Castro finally set up a separate building at his camp site with the sign “Press Hut.”

Ed Murrow from CBS interviewed Fidel Castro on February 6, 1959. At the time, Castro had filled the prisons with ten times as many political prisoners as under Batista, and murdered hundreds of Cubans in executions. Peasants were beginning to fight back against forced serfdom in a seven-year guerilla war. So what hard-hitting questions did Murrow ask?

“That's a cute puppy, Fidelito!” Ed Murrow said to Castro’s son. “What's its name?” Murrow talked about meeting Castro in his “home” in Havana – even though Castro slept in a different stolen mansion every night. (And he had never provided for his son before taking power.) “When will you visit us [in the U.S.] again?” a smiling Murrow asked Fidel. “And will that be with the beard or without the beard?” he asked jokingly. You can only wonder why they didn't exchange baking recipes.

Rupert Murdoch’s so-called conservative London Times has written: “Castro has some real accomplishments to point to. Under his rule, the impoverished Caribbean island has created health and education systems that would be the envy of far wealthier nations ... and there is near full literacy on the island.”

The media and history textbooks all completely ignore that Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot John F. Kennedy, was a communist who had not only lived in the Soviet Union, but also infiltrated anti-Castro Cuban associations in the U.S. on behalf of the Castro regime. (What would the media say if a man paid by a Fascist government had shot an American president? Suppose we would have heard about it?)

The same leftist media who otherwise love all immigrants, hate Cuban immigrants in Florida, because they are not socialist and they vote Republican. Gumbel sneers at “those pampered ingrates.” Katie Couric and Dan Rather call them the “Miami Mafia.” Alexander Cockburn calls them "rabble" that he proposes “we nuke.”

Another example of the pro-communist media propaganda is a History Channel documentary about Ernesto “Che” Guevara. In this documentary,  they say about Guevara that his idealism will rarely be equaled, He never abused his power, he is a potent symbol of rebellion, liberation and resistance to imperialism. He was “valiant until his last moment alive.” And he was “a newly qualified doctor.” Furthermore, “At his (Guevara’s) orders around fifty men were executed.”

History Channel’s main source, quoted extensively throughout the documentary, was Jon Lee Anderson, a Guevara biographer. This leftist got the figure of only fifty executed men from one of the communist prosecutors, Orlando Borrego. In fact, Jon Lee Anderson wrote his biography while living in Cuba, using communist officials as his main sources. 

The New York Times journalist Herbert Mathews reported from Cuba in 1958 about “massive battles” with “thousands of casualties.” The U.S. embassy in Cuba conducted an independent investigation in 1960 and found that casualties in these two years of “war” totaled 182 - on both sides. Yet the New York Times labelled the Batista government’s soldiers “war criminals.”

Fidel Castro and socialist terrorist Nelson Mandela, who would go on to bomb civilians at airports

Benicio del Toro, who acted as Ernesto Guevara in Steven Soderbergh’s two-part biopic “Che” (2008) compared Guevara to Jesus Christ. “There's just something cool about people like that. The more I get to know Che, the more I respect him.” He won the Cannes Film Festival’s “Best Actor” award, which he dedicated to Guevara. Variety hailed it as Cannes’ “most-anticipated film.”

Steven Soderbergh said explicitly that the purpose of the movie was “to give you a sense of what it was like to hang out with this person [Ernesto Guevara].”

Author Christopher Hitchens wrote: “[the hippie year] 1968 actually began in 1967 with the murder of Che. His death meant a lot to me, and countless like me, at the time. He was a role model.” He marvels at Guevara’s “untamable defiance” and assures us that “Che was no hypocrite.”

Time magazine wrote in May 1968: “With his hippie hair and wispy revolutionary beard, Che is the perfect postmodern conduit to the nonconformist, seditious ‘60s.”

Time magazine also lists Che Guevara among The 100 Most Important People of the Century. Still not satisfied, they list him in the Heroes and Icons section.

The socialist actor Robert Redford made the movie The Motorcycle Diaries in 2004, glorifying a young Ernesto Guevara before he became a mass murderer. The movie was cheered at the Sundance Film Festival by people such as Al Gore, Sharon Stone and Meryl Streep. Robert Redford showed the film to Guevara's widow and Fidel Castro for approval before release. (We can only imagine the cries of “Censorship!” and “Selling out!” from the Sundance crowd if, say, Robert Ackerman had asked for Nancy Reagan's approval for HBO's movie The Reagans that same year.)

Jack Nicholson, who openly admits to being a socialist, gushed that “Fidel Castro is a genius!” after meeting with the dictator in 1998. “We spoke about everything,” he went on. “Castro is a humanist. Cuba is simply a paradise!”

Francis Ford Coppola, Kevin Kostner, Woody Harrelson, Kate Moss, Leonardo DiCaprio and Chevy Chase are also among those Hollywood actors who have praised Castro and communist Cuba. So have Harry Belafonte, Jew Steven Spielberg, Jew Oliver Stone, Jew Norman Mailer, Ted Turner, Dan Rather. Since they praise left-wing extremism, they are welcome in Hollywood and the media. 

On a trip to New York in 2000 for the United Nations Millennium Summit, Fidel Castro received a warm welcome. Likewise when he later visited Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church, where the Black pastor Calvin Butts exclaimed: “It is in our tradition to welcome all who are visionaries, revolutionaries and who seek the liberation of all people. God bless you, Fidel!”

On a Fidel Castro trip to New York in 2006, media figures rushed to be seen near the dictator. David Rockefeller, Robert McNamara and more swooned over the tyrant at a dinner with the Council on Foreign Relations, which sets much of U.S. foreign policy. Then he visited Jew Mort Zuckerman’s home for another party, with famous media dignitaries like Peter Jennings, Jew Mike Wallace and Jew Barbara Walters. ABC News anchor Dianne Sawyer rushed up to give him a big hug before the cameras.

On that visit alone, according to the U.S. Cuba Trade and Economic Council the communist dictator received more than 250 dinner invitations from Manhattan celebrities and power brokers.

Ironically, Nicholson, Redford and all other actors and politicians who have visited Cuba were all spied on

“My job was to bug their hotel rooms,” says the high-ranking Cuban defector Delfin Fernandez. “With both cameras and listening devices. Most people have no idea they are being watched while they are in Cuba. But their personal activities are filmed under orders from Castro himself.” Castro shows the films to his closest aides like movie premiers. Famous Americans are a priority. When Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss came to visit Cuba, there was a top-priority alert, because it was rumored they would be sharing rooms with Leonardo DiCaprio. (The possible sex scene prompted the eavesdropping crew to install all the most modern filming equipment at their disposal.)

Not everyone is that gullible, however. When the Pope visited Cuba his assistants searched his hotel room first, and removed a mass of listening devices and cameras. The Pope has also excommunicated Castro and forbidden Catholics from voting for communists or pro-communist politicians. One would wish that the U.S. media world would have the same conscience.