Sunday, June 27, 2004

A Reminder

Jose Contreras.

Recognize the name? If the answer is no, then I'll tell you. He is a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees who is currently working with a 5-3 record. But the purpose of this article is not to discuss his pitching, but to shed some light on his recent newsworthiness. Namely, his wife and two daughters' defection from the prison island of Cuba. The reunion of a man with his family, a family which braved the dangerous waters between Cuba and Florida on a small craft with the prospect of being brought back to Cuba if they didn't make it or dieing at sea which has been the fate of countless defectors, is a beautiful story, and one that is unique for America. What other country do people seeking a better life and freedom think to defect to? It certainly isn't Canada and definitely not Cuba. But will this reminder of what kind of place Cuba is and what kind of man Castro is mean anything to some seriously derranged people? Not likely. What follows are statements by the rich and famous about Cuba and the butchering dictator running it. This stands as a reminder that in our struggles against communism, islamist fanatacism, and whatever else may confront us in the future, it is not they who will win, but us who will lose.

"[Castro] has brought a greater equality in terms of wealth distribution than I guess any country in the world today." - Saul Landau, filmmaker

"[My time with Castro] was the eight most important hours of my life." - Steven Spielberg

"He [Castro] is a genius. We spoke about everything." - Jack Nicholson

"[Castro is] a source of inspiration to the world." - Naomi Campbell

"Socialism works ... [and] Cuba might prove that. I think it's conclusive that there have been areas where socialism has helped to keep people at least stabilized at a certain level." - Chevy Chase

"It was an experience of a lifetime to sit only a few feet away from him [Castro] and watch him relive an experience he lived as a very young man." - Kevin Costner

More from Saul Landau, this is an excerpt from an article by Marc Morano from December 17, 2002 The previous quotes are also from the article.

'Cuba is King'

Filmmaker Saul Landau, an Emmy award-winning filmmaker who produced four separate documentaries on Castro's Cuba for PBS and CBS, including a 1974 CBS documentary with Dan Rather, thinks Hollywood's assessment of Cuba reflects reality.

Landau rejects the idea that Castro is duping celebrities.

"How the hell is he duping them? They've got two eyes, they've got two ears," he told

"Cuba is the king of all of Latin American countries," Landau said.

He believes Hollywood stars have seen the truth in Cuba.

"You don't have millions of homeless people in Cuba, you don't have 42million people who don't have access to medical care," Landau said, comparing Cuba to the United States.

Cuba outperforms the United States "when you talk about the right to food, the right to shelter, the right to a job, the right to a retirement," according to Landau. These issues are "less than rigorously enforced in the U.S." he added.

Landau also believes Castro's detractors have exaggerated his human rights abuses.

"I have not seen any evidence that he is a sadistic monster or a brutal dictator," he explained, adding that he has little regard for Cuban American refugees.

"People in Miami who are running their anti-Castro lobby, are, in my opinion, not representative of the Cubans in the country," Landau said.

"Cuban human rights violations take the form of procedural violations. They involve legal and political rights rather than economic and social rights," he added.

Landau did not deny that Castro's rule has included suppression of a free press and multi-party electoral process, but said like in any revolution, "they broke a lot of eggs" to achieve their goals.

He also made it clear that he is no fan of President George W. Bush.

"It's very difficult coming from the U.S., to imagine a political leader with whom you could have an intelligent conversation. Well, I guess you could with Bill Clinton, but you certainly can't with the moron that is in there today," Landau said.

Castro has a "religious aura" about him, according to Landau.

"When he comes into room, a wind follows him. He intimidates people by his very presence, he emanates, he vibrates power," he explained.

"I am opposed to capital punishment by any country, by any persons. I disapprove of Mr. Castro's executing. I understand that the trial was very fair, that the death penalty is exercised in Cuba and therefore, by Cuban standards, the trial was fair and judicious even though I abhor the death penalty." - Ed Asner on the trial, conviction, and execution of three men who attempted to come to America by hijacking a boat.

"We should look to (Castro) as one of the Earth's wisest people, one of the people we should consult." - Oliver Stone

"For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent." - Barbara Walters narrating her interview with el presidente.

"The worst that could be said is that, in Cuba, you were in jeopardy of receiving free health care whenever you needed it, an excellent education in one of the few countries that has 100% literacy, and a better chance of your baby sister being born and making it to her first birthday than if she had been born in Washington, DC." - Michael Moore in an Open Letter to Elian Gonzales on the virtues of going back to Cuba.

Congratulations if you made it through all that. Should these people succeed we will surely collapse as a country, for they are explicit communists and communist-sympathizers. But for the Contreras family Cuba is but a fading nightmare, as it is for other celebrities who escaped and now rail against the "worker's paradise," people like Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan. Hopefully when Fidel dies he will be torn apart so that no funeral will take place for all of his friends, people like Michael Moore, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton to pay homage and lament that they could not be as powerful as their departed comrade.


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