A friend called me -- "please turn on Charlie Rose's program and watch it". And I did.
Half hour later I feel such impotence that dont know where to start! Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus from the US Congress were talking about their recent trip to Cuba and their personal interview with Fidel Castro in such a reverential way --that it made me sick.
Physically ill. My stomach starting becoming a knot, my head spinned, my hands trembled. And my mind was facing another moment of total disbelief, in which I did not know where to turn for help, to find a rational moment and a place where 'truth and justice' needed to prevail.
These people -so very, very ignorant about the truth about Cuba and the tyrannical Castro brothers- made me angry, and at the same time it was easy to see they were the face of political ignorance and total misinformation about Cuba. So much time has gone by -50 years of a cruel and brutal dictatorship- that these 'polititians' have no idea of all the death and censorship that has been the Law of the Land in what seemed to them an 'Island Paradise'.
From the moment I saw them get off the airport bus in Havana's Hotel Nacional, where they were immediately handed Mojitos- and a little guitar and maracas 'serenade' welcomed them, one could see what happy campers they were! The 'fact finding trip' had ended right there!...There was no way truth and decency could compete with Havana's soft breezes, the rum of the Mojitos and the swaying of the palm trees.
And the blatant admiration and almost reverential way they talked about Fidel Castro blew my mind. How can you be happy to meet a man who has been in power 50 years --and then made his brother his 'succesor'? Didn't they realize something must be wrong with this equation?
Of course, they did not mention black dissident Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, a strong and charismatic Cuban whose only crime has been to 'dissent' --and Fidel Castro has kept in prison for many years. This is a man who can give the Castro brothers some stiff competition in charisma, charm, good looks and great intelligence! But they have kept him silent for many years. They did not visit with any of the brave dissident groups --or with independent blogger Yoani Sanchez whose blog has received every journalism award in the world although she has never been allowed to leave the island and her site is periodicallly shut down.
This is all such a sham! I wish President Obama would understand how damaging it would be to give Cuba all the advantages of our democratic world, without asking for REAL democratic changes. Freeing the political prisoners. Permitting a free press and free political parties to exist. Giving all Cubans access to the Internet!...To associate freely....To express their opinions freely...Logical concessions in the XXI century!
Then we could -and should - change towards Cuba and its government. The President cannot admire the valor of the Czechs for their democratic changes, as he mentioned in Prague --and disregard the value of freedom in Cuba for the Cubans.
This would be a horrible contradiction and an even more horrible betrayal.