Torture in Cuba
July 2006
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Miami’s Book “Ban”
By Humberto Fontova | July 17, 2006

A children’s school book titled Let’s Go to Cuba depicts Castro’s
fiefdom as a combination Emerald City and Willi Wonka’s Chocolate
Factory. Some American parents of Cuban heritage noticed it and filed a
complaint with the Miami-Dade school board, who voted to remove the book
from the public school library. The ACLU claims to be scandalized and
filed suit to retain the book. “Today’s precedent if allowed to stand”
said the ACLU attorney, Howard Simon, “opens the door to yank virtually
any book off the shelf of a school library at the whim of a single
parent and a school board judgment that there is some inaccuracy or
omission in a book.”

A little perspective: between 1990 and 2000, the American Library
Association documented more than 6,000 protests against school books by
American parents. For every protest actually recorded, they estimate
that four or five go unreported. The door the learned Simon so dreads to
hear creak open was yanked open long ago. It was propped open with a
sturdy door-stop by a Supreme Court ruling in 1982 when (First Amendment
fanatic) William Brennan wrote that local school boards had “broad
discretion in the management of school affairs,” adding that if they
removed a book based on its “educational suitability” or because the
books were “opervasively vulgar,” such actions “would not be

According to the ALA, over the past two decades, every single year sees
between 400 and 600 such schoolbook protests in the U.S., much of it
over material considered “racially insensitive,” as when The Adventure’s
of Huckleberry Finn was yanked from an Illinois school library. In
brief, attempted “book bannings'” identical to the one in Miami-Dade
have occurred at a rate of over one a day for the last two and half
decades from sea to shining sea. In most of these, the ACLU and the
mainstream Media have been conspicuously mum.

But just let those insufferable Cuban-Americans try it and then the ACLU
promptly blasts its bugles; their media cronies affect grave frowns; the
teachers unions get on their high horse and cries of “censorship!” and
“book-banning!” flood the airwaves and headlines. “Miami-Dade School
Board Bans Cuba Book” read a headline in the New York Times on June 15th.

Lest anyone forget, school boards are elected by their communities. They
have no power to ban or censor anything on the national–or even a
regional– stage, screen or print. That same asinine book, potentially
“banned” at the urging of Cuban-American parents, can be stacked in the
windows of a book store next door to the school library. Indeed dozens
of books twenty times as asinine, from Che Guevara’s Guerrilla War: A
Method (from someone who never fought in a guerrilla war) to Fidel
Castro’s own History Will Absolve Me (from modern history’s most
shameless liar), already blanket the literary landscape and
overwhelmingly influence America’s and most of the world’s academic and
media depictions of Cuba, hence their almost uniform absurdity.

Castro gets enough free publicity and soft-soaping from the worldwide
Media /Academia axis as it is. So some Miami-Dade taxpayers have simply
balked at subsidizing any more of this propaganda, as millions of
taxpayers throughout the U.S. for decades have balked at subsidizing
everything from Heather Has Two Mommies to Huckleberry Finn to Little
Black Sambo to Harry Potter–all without major objection from the ACLU
and The New York Times– indeed often with their accolades.

How the Miami parents’ objections amount to a vile and unprecedented
lust to “censor!” and “ban!” while all the others amount to spreading
“tolerance” and “sensitivity” and “upholding community values” might be
best explained by George Orwell who coined the term “Newspeak.”

“Stalin tortured,” wrote Arthur Koestler, “not to force you to reveal a
fact, but to force you to collude in a fiction.” Ditto for his Cuban
understudy, Fidel Castro. For refusing to renounce principles, a man (or
woman, Castro is an equal opportunity jailer-murderer) was jailed and
tortured for ten, twenty or even thirty years–the longest terms of
political incarceration and torture in modern history, almost three
times as long as Stalin himself tortured his victims.

Now in a wheelchair from the tortures, this U.S. citizen notices his
granddaughter being taught that the regime that tortured him, that
murdered his brother and cousin without trial, that stole his life’s
savings that jailed more people than Stalin’s, that trained and harbored
terrorists for decades and that craved to incinerate his adopted country
with nuclear blasts–this regime, is being depicted in her school books
as wise and kindly.

The depiction is outrageous enough, and the teaching of it to
primary-schoolers is truly outrageous. But that’s not his objection. He
understands perfectly well that his adopted countries’ constitution
defends a book espousing such material (as did the one in his native
country pre-Castro, by the way). But should this torture victim (and
U.S. citizen) also be forced to subsidize this propaganda? Is his
resistance to this subsidizing a dastardly deed while a Black father’s
yanking of Huckleberry Finn from his son’s school library using the
identical means a laudable and conscientious deed? Is the latter an
upright “concerned parent”–or even better, an “involved parent?”–while
the former a “censor” and bigoted “book- banner?”

You’d certainly think so from reading the mainstream media.

The U.S. taxpayers being scolded by the ACLU and the teacher’s unions
for balking at subsidizing Castroite propaganda include, among them, the
world’s longest-suffering political prisoners, jailed and tortured by
Castro. A former political prisoner, in fact, brought the book to the
attention of the school board in the first place and asked for its
removal from the public school library (not its “banning”). He urged
this, not because the book was “insensitive” or “violated community
standards,” but simply because it was wrong–because it sought to teach

“The Soviet Union has already created liberties far greater than exist
elsewhere in the world.” rhapsodized the ACLU’s founder, Roger Baldwin
about the Soviet Union. “Today I saw fresh, vigorous expressions of free
living by workers and peasants all over the land.”

But that was early in the game, you say. Nobody knew how Bolshevism
would play out. It was an honest mistake. Come on, cut the guy some slack.

Actually Baldwin wrote this in 1934. He greatly admired Stalin’s Russia.
And not because of blinders or a Potemkin tour. He seemed to recognize
the repression–and excuse it. “No champion of a socialist society could
fail to see that some suppression was necessary to achieve it. It could
not all be done by persuasion. When that power of the working class is
once achieved, as it has been only in the Soviet Union, I am for
maintaining it by any means whatever. Dictatorship is the obvious means
in a world of enemies at home and abroad.”

Small wonder the book Let’s Go To Cuba has such sentimental value for
the ACLU. It gushes about Stalinis
t Cuba exactly like Roger Baldwin
gushed about Stalinist Russia. The ACLU seems to recognize who picked up
the torch from their founder’s hero. Cuban-Americans’ proud and
unflinching status means the ACLU has a special beef with them. They
remain the most vocal and unashamed anti-communists. Enlightened opinion
regards them, at best, as quaint and musty museum pieces, at worst,
raving maniacs hell-bent on imposing another McCarthyite Dark age.

Because they fought it alone, outnumbered and bare-fisted on the beaches
of the Bay of Pigs and for half a decade in Cuba’s hills, because many
spent the longest political-prison terms in modern history for spitting
in the face of its torturers, because their life savings and dreams were
abolished by armed communists, because these tried to ram an insane
world-view down their throats–for all these perfectly valid reasons,
Cuban-Americans gag at the ACLU founder’s prescription for a better
world. “Baldwin, sir” assert Cuban-Americans with their every public
act, “you were either a scoundrel, an ignoramus or a jackass, probably
all three.” The ACLU cannot let them get away with that.

Typically, Frank Bolanos the Cuban-American School board member who
urges the “book-banning” understands and appreciates the U.S.
constitution better than most of his native born journalistic and legal
opponents with all their multifarious and glittering LLD degrees. “This
is not a First Amendment issue,” Bolanos wrote. “Censorship occurs when
government refuses to allow people to purchase material, not when it
refuses to provide that material at no charge.”

Bolanos, again unlike his illustrious and mega-credentialed native-born
foes, understands and reveres America’s founding fathers. Thus, he
quotes Thomas Jefferson: “To compel a man to furnish contributions of
money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is
sinful and tyrannical.”

Alas, by bringing up Thomas Jefferson in attempting to influence the
ACLU and the teacher’s unions, Bolanos erred grievously. The ACLU’s
founder and guiding light seemed to prefer Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.

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