I have just enjoyed reading John Fund’s new piece, although “enjoyed” may not be the word: John has certainly written a valuable piece (as usual). It’s mainly about the opening speaker at the recent mayoral inauguration in New York. That speaker, ringing in Bill de Blasio, was Harry Belafonte.
As John says, Belafonte is a hateful old leftist. (More than says it, he shows it.) John further says that Belafonte was an “inappropriate speaker for the inauguration.” In one sense, I agree. But in a different one, I don’t. Belafonte was the perfect speaker for de Blasio, you could say: They are ideologically at one.
Belafonte is a great admirer of the Castro dictatorship, having expressed that admiration many times. I believe de Blasio has been less full-throated — but he did choose to have his honeymoon in the Castros’ land (on their plantation, so to speak). Cuba has been an ideal destination for American leftists since the island went totalitarian.
Every day, some horror out of totalitarian Cuba crosses my desk (or, in the modern fashion, lands in my inbox). I have a press release from the Directorio Democrático Cubano: “Cuban political police beat the children of human rights activist.” This is par for the course — yawn-making. I’m now looking at an article: “Dissident Leaders Arrested Following Raul’s Speech.” Again, a yawner.
Hey, this is sort of interesting: At the end of that article, there is an update, saying that Berta Soler has been arrested, along with her husband, Ángel Moya. Soler is the leader of the Ladies in White, the human-rights group. For reasons of its own, the dictatorship allowed her out of the country for a while last year. I was able to interview her at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway.
One of the great myths of the Castro dictatorship, of course, is that it has been good for black people (“Afro-Cubans”). The Belafontes and the de Blasios will tell you this till the cows come home. I have addressed this myth, and others, many times. And I brought it up with Soler, too.
Let me excerpt a paragraph from the piece I wrote from Oslo:
I tell [Soler] I have a couple of questions that will make her laugh, one of which is this: Have the Communists been good for black people, just as the Communists and their many supporters around the world say? She laughs her wonderful laugh — and again says, “Para nada.” She continues, “Neither the black man nor the white man has ever gotten anything from the government. All we have managed to get comes from our own sacrifices. The government has never given us anything but misery and need.” She explains how the ruling Communists discriminate against black people. And she says that, when they beat her, they are sure to talk about her race. “Nera!” they say. “Why are you protesting against us? You should be thankful to the revolution. If you went to America, you would be killed by the Ku Klux Klan.” . . . “Obama may be president,” say the attackers, “but you’re just an ordinary black woman.”
Why do people in free countries support regimes that deny freedom to people in other countries? Specifically, why do so many Americans support, or excuse, the dictatorship in Cuba? Why do our media ignore the heroics of dissenters from that dictatorship? Many years ago, I put that question to Jeane Kirkpatrick. She said, “It is both a puzzling and profoundly painful phenomenon of our times.”
In Cuba, the people have no say in who or what governs them. They live under a totalitarian dictatorship. Here in America, we the people have complete say. I wonder what Cuban political prisoners would think of the New York mayoral inauguration, if they found out about it (and maybe their persecutors are eager for them to know). Would they think we were mad? Bad?
I’d like to say something about the Clintons’ role at this inauguration, but I will save that for later. (You’re welcome.)