This week, I am writing about David Horowitz, and the second installment of our series, “A Witness,” appears today. (Here.) Horowitz cast his first Republican ballot in 1984. It was for President Reagan, who was running for reelection against former vice president Walter Mondale. Horowitz voted for Reagan, he explained, “because he was opposing the efforts of the Sandinista Marxists to turn Nicaragua into a socialist gulag like Cuba.” Horowitz further explained, “I had supported Fidel; I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.”
Fidel is still in charge, as he has been since 1959 — even if he has given his equally wicked brother, Raúl, a newly prominent role. Readers of my columns are well familiar with Juan Carlos González Leiva, the lawyer and human-rights activist in Cuba. He is one of the bravest, most admirable people I know of. (Blind, by the way.) If the commanders of our culture — in the news media, in Hollywood, and in academia — did not feel so tenderly toward the Cuban dictatorship, González Leiva would be famous. As the heroes in apartheid South Africa were.
Last week, the Castros’ police beat the hell out of González Leiva and his wife, Tania Maceda Guerra. This is perfectly routine in that island paradise — the place where Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife honeymooned, the place where Jay-Z and Beyoncé celebrated their most recent wedding anniversary. (This was a few months after Beyoncé sang — lip-synched — at President Obama’s inauguration.) The police pummeled a blind man with their fists, as his hands were tied behind his back. Then they choked him till he passed out. There was the wife, too, of course. Blind men and girls. What a lovely system this is. (For a report on the latest incident, go here. Several others were beaten as well, including a deaf man.)
I am always amazed that the Chinese Communists — our great partners — torture old women to death. Especially Falun Gong practitioners. These reports reach me, from activist groups, all the time — though our media ignore them. It’s hard enough to imagine that a government would torture to death healthy young men. But old ladies?
In New York this month, we inaugurated de Blasio. We also have a new city-council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, another fan of the Cuban dictatorship, apparently. And the inauguration was led off by Harry Belafonte, a great friend and defender of Fidel Castro.
To me, it is sickening that men and women in a free country would support dictatorships that deny freedom to the people they rule. That deny basic human rights. But then we go and elect these people, these supporters of dictatorships, to office. We do so freely and democratically. Whose fault is that, but ours? Eliot Engel, the fine Democratic congressman from New York, once told me that his party has a “blind spot” on Cuba. America in general, I think, has a blind spot on Cuba, and much else.