Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sep 18/05 - On the welcoming nature of New Yorkers: Do you remember " Fidel, may I please have your autograph?"

Fidel Castro Ruz in Central Park in the early 50's, before he had powerful friends
in the Big Apple, and millions of enemies among his own people.

PMBComment: below you will find a random excerpt from a totally random Op-Ed about Fidel Castro’s 1995 visit to NY on the occasion of the UN’s 50th Anniversary. This one popped up when I googled “Fidel Castro hosted Bronx” prompted by Hugo Chavez's "put-anti-Bush-obsession-ahead -of-your country" offer to force CITGO to fund a study on how to clean the Bronx River. With his wallet full of our money, the apprentice sought to outperform his master's PR tour of the Big Apple.

As an additional factoid on that occasion, Castro was hosted by David Rockefeller to a celebrity studded dinner at his Westchester digs. The Council on Foreign Relations hosted a lunch at which la crème de la crème of NY's intelligentsia and power constellation were invited and laughed, non-stop, at the stories and antics of a dictator considered by all as an historic relic – an old dinosaur - in his last days. Little did they know that Hugo Chavez's triumph was just around the corner. As a result of it, Castro got a potent “second” wind that today allows his cronies in Cuba and in NY (not to mention in Atlanta, home of both CNN International and Jimmy Carter’s Center for Moral Relativism) to be fairly optimistic about the survival of both his legacy and best-practices even when his is FINALY gone.

On that same trip, Morton Zuckerman, Editor of US News and World Report, hosted an even better attended and, some say, more jovial dinner for Castro in his impressive Fifth Avenue apartment. According to the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, on that visit, Castro received 250 dinner invitations from celebrities, power brokers, millionaires, pundits, and socialites, So do not be surprised about the reception tyrant-on-training-wheels Hugo Chavez got from New Yorkers these past days.

Just a few weeks ago, Chavez - in one of his TV marathons - regretted having dressed up once to attend dinner with the likes of Henry K in NY. Maybe due to this unfriendly remark Chávez got somewhat of a cold shoulder from the top political voyeurs. For now (por ahora!), he had to settle for Jesse Jackson and Congressman Serrano. Maybe in a few years, when he has browbeaten and jailed a lot more people, the truly powerful in NY will pay attention to him again and rush to invite him over for drinks and dinner. PMB

Note: for the Marxist version of Castros’ 1995 visit to NY you can go to . Any resemblance to the current coverage of Chavez’s visit is clearly just intentional.

LIBERTAD Act, Not U.S. Subsides, Will End Castro Dictatorship

[Excerpt from article published on February 6, 1996]

Christopher Cox*


When Fidel Castro attended the United Nations 50th anniversary festivities last October, he was welcomed to the United States as an honored guest by a number of journalists and Democratic members of Congress.

Dan Rather and Bernard Shaw conducted major interviews with Castro on CBS and CNN respectively, lending him an undue air of credibility as a senior statesman. Shaw's October 22 interview typified the media's fawning treatment, given free rein to propagate rationalizations for and lies about his autocratic rule. Castro told a national audience:

"Actually, according to our way of thinking, we believe that the multi-party system is not what is more convenient for our country now, because we cannot divide our country. We cannot fragment our people. We need to keep it united. We cannot divide it in 100 pieces....In Cuba, we do not have the presidentialist system. President Clinton has much more power than I do, and in general, the Latin American presidents are more powerful than I am....I do not have personal ambitions, that I simply discharge my duties, the ones that have been imposed on me."

That same Sunday night, Castro also spoke at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem where despite having called Castro a despot on the House floor, Rep. Charles Rangel welcomed him warmly. The next day Rep. Jose Serrano hosted a gathering in Castro's honor at Jimmy's Bronx Cafe, where he was again greeted with an ostentatious embrace by Rep. Rangel, who sat next to him throughout dinner. Rep. Nydia Velazquez also enthusiastically took part in this tribute to Castro in the Bronx.

Castro's welcome and the accompanying calls for a lifting sanctions as a means of promoting Cuba's liberalization reflects acute amnesia about Castro's heinous legacy. Clinging to power over a bankrupt and imprisoned island, the Castro regime remains one of the world's last relics of communism and the only one in the Western Hemisphere where for 37 years, he has promoted Marxism-Leninism. Today he is attempting to extend the life of his dictatorship by a massive "fire sale" of Cuban national assets and property stolen from U.S. citizens, while continuing to forcibly suppress the Cuban people's aspirations for freedom and democracy. …..

[end of excerpt]

* Chairman, House Republican Policy Committee