Appeasing Stalinist Cuba
Posted: June 26, 2008
1:00 am Eastern
By Humberto Fontova
While Sen. Obama worked a warm audience at the U.S. Conference of Mayors
in Miami last weekend, protesting Bush and McCain's "tax cuts for the
wealthy" and promising billions in federal handouts, a small group of
Cuban-Americans stood outside the Intercontinental Hotel protesting
More specifically, they protested some of Obama's top advisers: Gregory
Craig, who serves as Obama's chief adviser on Latin America, and Eric
Holder, who heads Obama's vice-presidential selection team. Both of
these gentlemen had key roles in "legally" perfuming the shanghaiing of
Elian Gonzalez. At the time, Craig served as lawyer for Elain's father
(i.e., Fidel Castro), and Holder served as deputy attorney general under
"That was eight years ago," Obama responded when plans for the
Cuban-American protest were announced last week. "Obviously, it was a
wrenching situation for the families, but I'm running for president in
2008 and my focus is: How do we create a Cuba policy that will create
political freedom on that island and allow the people who live there to
Florida holds 27 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the
presidency. New Jersey holds 15 electoral votes and the largest
Cuban-American community after Florida. So 16 percent of the 270
electoral votes could depend on a candidates' professed policy towards
Stalinist Cuba. Obama knows this and has high hopes of wooing a few of
these overwhelmingly Republican voters. He's got his work cut out for
(Column continues below)
"My fear is that those who collaborated with Cuba's communist government
and made a great mistake with a defenseless child," said Elian's Miami
uncle, Delfin Gonzalez, "will make the same mistake again against this
nation that is facing danger from terrorism."
In fact, outside of Florida and New Jersey, the Elian Gonzalez issue
should not discomfit the Obama campaign in the slightest. Polls from the
time show that 70 percent of the American public fell for the
Castro/Clinton/Craig media ruse and favored the boy's return to
Dan Rather had a major role in this ruse. On April 16, 2000, his "60
Minutes" segment featured an interview with Elian's father, Juan Miguel.
America saw an innocent, bewildered and heartsick father simply pleading
to be allowed to have his motherless son accompany him back to Cuba, his
cherished homeland. How could anyone oppose this? How could simple
decency and common sense possibly allow for anything else?
"Did you cry?" the pained and frowning Dan Rather asked the "bereaved"
father during the "60 Minutes" drama. "A father never runs out of
tears," Juan (actually, the voice of Juan's drama school-trained
translator) sniffled back to Dan. And the "60 Minutes" prime-time
audience could hardly contain their own sniffles.
Here's what America didn't see: "Juan Miguel Gonzalez was surrounded by
Castro security agents the entire time he was in the studio with
Rather." This is an eyewitness account from Pedro Porro, who served as
Dan Rather's translator during the famous interview.
Rather would ask the question in English into Porro's earpiece whereupon
Porro would translate it into Spanish for Elian's heavily guarded
father. "Juan Miguel was never completely alone," says Porro. "He never
smiled. His eyes kept shifting back and forth. It was obvious to me that
he was under heavy coercion. I probably should have walked out. But I'd
been hired by CBS in good faith, and I didn't know exactly how the
interview would be edited — how it would come across on the screen.
"The questions Dan Rather was asking Elian's father during that '60
Minutes' interview were being handed to him by attorney Gregory Craig,"
continues Porro. "It was obvious that Craig and Rather where on very
friendly terms. They were joshing and bantering back and forth, as Juan
Miguel sat there petrified. Craig was stage-managing the whole thing —
almost like a movie director. The taping would stop and he'd walk over
to Dan, hand him a little slip of paper, say something into his ear.
Then Rather would read the next question into my earpiece straight from
"Midway through watching that '60 Minutes' broadcast, I felt like
throwing up," said Porro. "My stomach was in a knot." His worst fears
But the Craig/Rather "60 Minutes" soap opera was a major national hit.
As polls showed, America ate it up. Craig, after all, had come to Castro
highly recommended. And he performed magnificently, employing a major
media outlet as aides, props and publicists for Castro's case. Fidel
Castro, of course, is an old pro at this.
Amongst those who fell prey to Castroite chicanery were Tony Snow and
Mark Steyn, amazingly enough. The latter sneering at that "crazy Miami
crowd," a "lawless Hispanic mob trashing Miami." Elian's doting cousin,
Marisleysis "may have the cutest butt on network TV," wrote Steyn, "but
most of us dearly wish some FBI sharpshooter would fire a tranquilizer
dart into it."
These commentators, however bright and articulate in most matters, are
innocent of life under Stalinism and without the benefit of the
revelations that come from frequent contact with those cursed by fate to
have suffered such. So we shouldn't judge them too harshly.
If Steyn's current predicament in Canadian courts saw him deprived of
defense counsel and menaced by decades in torture chambers or death by
firing squad he'd have a much better appreciation of that "crazy Miami
crowd's" motivation, I can assure you.
He and Snow simply could not fathom what was going on behind the scenes.
To them the Elian matter came across as a simple custody dispute over a
motherless boy, with some tacky and blockheaded Miami cousins on one
side and a bewildered and sincerely bereaved Cuban father on the other.
Steyn and Snow's hearts were in the right place, but their normally
discerning heads were elsewhere, diverted by the Castro/Craig soap opera.
Upon initially accepting the case, Gregory Craig had flown to Cuba for a
meeting with Fidel Castro. To effectively stage-manage the boy's
shanghaiing, Craig explained to Castro, he needed Juan Miguel in the
U.S. According to most accounts, Castro balked at this. No plantation
owner likes his slaves traveling (unescorted) outside his plantation.
Plus, Castro was no doubt privy to Juan Miguel's early communications
with his Miami cousins, thanking them profusely and saying he'd be soon
make his own escape and join Elian.
So it took a little doing, but Craig finally prevailed. That Juan
Miguel, though visiting a free country, would be constantly accompanied
by Castro's conscientious "escorts" (as witnessed by Pedro Porro) was
undoubtedly the gist of the deal with Craig.
So in effect, the man who currently serves as Obama's top adviser on
Latin American agreed to function as a fully deputized agent for a
Stalinist regime's KGB-trained secret police.
The people protesting in Miami know that such an appointment is not a
promising start in – as Obama himself put it – "creating a Cuban policy
that will create
political freedom on that island."
So save your campaign money and breath, Mr Obama. Forget these voters.