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Should American Taxpayers Fund Cuba's Media?

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Where is the mainstream media reporting on sexist, racist oppression and cruelty 90 miles from our shore?

Fidel Castro smokes a cigar. (Photo Credit: Guardian.org)

Recently, National Public Radio (lavished with over $4 billion by U.S. taxpayers over the past decade) ran a week-long “special series” on - and from - Cuba. Such was its propaganda value for the Fidel Castro regime that Cuba’s own KGB-founded and mentored media gleefully ran some of the programs - in their pristinely unedited form.

Given totalitarian media practices that’s quite a “compliment” to NPR’s producers. To wit:

"Everything within the Revolution, nothing outside of it." (Castro speech, June, 1961.)

"Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state." (Benito Mussolini, Doctrine of Fascism, 1932.)

Fidel Castro smokes a cigar. (Photo Credit: Guardian.org) Fidel Castro smokes a cigar. (Photo Credit: Guardian.org)

In his famous speech on June 16, 1961 Castro - whose KGB-designed jails and torture chambers at the time incarcerated one of every 19 Cubans for political “crimes” - was warning the rest of his subjects how they might stay out of them. He set the barbed-wire and machine-gun guarded boundaries of “artistic freedom.” If your prose, poetry, films, or journalism served the purposes of the totalitarian regime (i.e. if you succumbed to lackeyism) you might remain outside of such enclosures. Otherwise?

As usual, as seen above, even with this declaration Castro was stealing - from his hero Mussolini this time. Earlier he also stole from his hero Adolf Hitler.

“Condemn me, it doesn’t matter,” declared Castro during the 1953 trial for his failed Moncada putsch. “History will absolve me.”

“You may pronounce me guilty,” declared Hitler during the 1924 trial for his failed Rathaus putsch. “But the eternal court of history will absolve me.”

Over the decades NPR and Public Broadcasting Service (NPR’s parent taxpayer-subsidized company) have run literally dozens of pieces on Nelson Mandela. So many in fact that an innocent bystander could easily conclude that the plight of “political” prisoners (especially black ones) greatly concerns NPR.

But all of NPR’s “reporting” from Cuba proves otherwise.

While NPR conducted canned interviews with KGB-trained Communist apparatchiks in Cuba last week, many Cubans (male and female, black and white) suffered in KGB-designed jail-cells for such crimes as quoting Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi. In fact, NPR’s (lily-white) Cuban hosts hold the distinction of jailing and torturing the most black political prisoners in the modern history of the Western Hemisphere - many more than the Vorster and Botha regimes jailed in South Africa.

And unlike Mandela, these Cuban freedom-fighters were jailed either after secret Stalinist trials or after no trial whatsoever. This Castro practice, best we can tell, does not seem to offend NPR. None of the Cuban political prisoners were so much as mentioned during the week-long PBS series. One of these, a black Cuban dissident named Sonia Garro, has spent the last three years in a KGB-designed dungeon without even being charged. This peaceful (but anti-communist) lady was beaten, arrested - and beaten again - for the crime of carrying flowers in a peaceful religious demonstration honoring other peaceful Cuban blacks murdered earlier by Castro’s firing squads.

More than 20 democracy activists arrested in protest in Santa Clara, Cuba. Picture posted by Human Right's Voices.  More than 20 democracy activists arrested in protest in Santa Clara, Cuba. Picture posted by Human Right's Voices.

Think about it for a second, amigos: Here’s a savagely victimized person who qualifies as black and Hispanic and female - and is being tortured by a lily-white all-male military regime 90 miles from U.S. shores. Here’s racism! Here’s sexism! Here’s a brutal and full-fledged military dictatorship propped up by greedy billionaires committing these horrors daily!

And here’s utter silence by the mainstream media.

Who else in modern history could conceivably get away with anything even approaching this level of sexist, racist oppression and cruelty without a peep of protest from U.S. media and civil rights “leaders?”

Oops! Forgive me. You see I’m implying that the U.S. media and U.S. civil rights “leaders” merely ignore the jailing and torture en masse of Cubans. This is wrong. Actually many of these fine folks go out of their way to glorify the jailer and torturer:

“Fidel Castro could have been Cuba’s Elvis!” - Dan Rather

“Fidel Castro is one hell of a guy! You people would like him!” - Ted Turner

“Fidel Castro is old-fashioned, courtly - even paternal, a thoroughly fascinating figure!” - Andrea Mitchell

“Castro has brought very high literacy and great health care to his country. His personal magnetism is powerful, his presence is commanding.” - Barbara Walters

“Viva Fidel! Viva Che!” - Jesse Jackson

"It was quite a moment to behold! Fidel Castro was very engaging and very energetic!" - Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Cali.)

"He's one of the most amazing human beings I've ever met!" Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)

Students gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) Students gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The June 24 NPR infomercial on Castro’s fiefdom featured a hard hitting interview with Castro official Josefina Vidal, during which NPR’s David Greene unearths such scoops as: The U.S. embargo of Cuba is very wicked. Raul Castro is an earnest reformer and all around swell fellow. And don’t even get us started on his swell big brother Fidel!

Here’s how NPR introduces their gracious Cuban interviewees: “Josephina Vidal is director of U.S. relations for the Cuban government.”

In fact, Vidal is a KGB-trained Cuban agent who was expelled from the U.S. along with 13 other Cuban agents in June 2003 for espionage. Look carefully at the date of Vidal’s expulsion from U.S. shores. Castro’s agents (including Vidal), you see, were stealing U.S. military secrets and selling them to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. How many Americans died as a result of Vidal’s treachery?

We’ll never know - certainly not from (American-taxpayer bankrolled) NPR, who is too busy feting this KGB-trained spy and proven enemy of America to bother informing the Americans who bankroll their programs about such trivial details.

NPR should be quite proud of themselves.

Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of five books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro.

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