As a general rule, and for going on twenty years,
the Rev. Al Sharpton simply opens his mouth on any topic from Tawana Brawley to
Don Imus, or from test-bombing in Vieques to boycotting Colonel Sanders for cruelty,
and headlines start popping up. His incomparable pompadour then pops up on a
dozen or so mainstream chat shows and TV interviews.
Last week was a startling exception. On July 22nd Rev. Sharpton took a break
from his customary activities to lead a delegation of protesters in front of
the Castro regime's offices at the United Nations and hold an on-location press
conference to publicize the plight of Cuba's black political prisoners. The
conference was attended by some of these prisoners' relatives.
You will search the mainstream media in utter vain for any mention of this
event. On one hand, it was hosted by one of the left’s biggest draws. On the
other hand, such an event diverges from the left’s usual depiction of
victimhood and cruelty in Cuba. It’s certainly not about Guantanamo.
Some years back, some black Cubans had attempted a public reading of the United
Nation's Declaration of Human Rights and passages from the works of Dr. Martin
Luther King in Castro's fiefdom. Others were overheard saying things about
Castro similar to the things Al Sharpton (and Jesse Jackson, and Charles Rangel
and Danny Glover, and Nancy Pelosi, etc.) routinely bellow into microphones
about George Bush.
All of these Cubans are currently locked up in Castro's dungeons and torture
chambers, suffering sentences three times as long as Alexander Solzhenitsyn
suffered under Stalin.
The most “famous” (least ignored by the international media) of these political
prisoners is Oscar Elias Biscet, who currently suffers a 25-year sentence in
Castro's lice and roach-infested dungeons. This past October President Bush
honored Dr Biscet with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, handing them to the
heroic man's son and daughter who were guests of the White House. If you missed
it, welcome to the club. The event was almost a media-blackout.
Now if only a Guantanamo prisoner was awarded a medal by Raul Castro or Hugo
Chavez!! Havana's CNN, ABC, NBC,
Reuters bureaus would all be camping
out with their cameras and jostling for the best position!
Another of the Cuban prisoners mentioned was Jorge Antunez, who suffers house
arrest after a 17-year jail sentence, much of it spent in solitary confinement.
“My brother suffers the scourge of racial hatred every day,” secretly reported
his sister, Berta Antunez last year. “His beatings are always accompanied by
racial epithets. They set dogs on him. They deny him medical attention. They
kept him from attending his mother's funeral. The racist mentality is so
ingrained among Cuba's agents of repression, that when mixed race groups are
stopped on the street, only the blacks are asked for their identification
papers. The only think I have to thank the Cuban revolution for," she
quoted her brother, "is for restoring the yoke of slavery that my
ancestors lived under."
"The Cuban government tries to fool the world with siren songs depicting
racial equality in our country,” she continued. "But it is all a farce, as
I and my family can attest, having suffered from the systematic racism directed
at us by Castro's regime.”
Interestingly, the Rev. Al Sharpton was himself quite susceptible to Castro's
siren song. "He (Castro) was brilliant,” wrote Sharpton in his book Al on America when describing a visit
with Castro in 2000. “He was absolutely awesome -- and it takes a lot to
“I want to extend an invitation to Raul Castro for an open dialogue,” said
Sharpton at the July 22nd “Conference.”
It only took a half century, and Al Sharpton's tiny and unreported
press-conference hardly constitutes a mass-movement to highlight the crimes of
the International Left's premier pin-up boys (Fidel, Che.) But given what these
prisoners and their families (along with other forgotten hundreds of thousands)
have suffered in Castro's Gulag, it's something.
Given the decades of being shunned, if not actually scorned, by America's black
“leadership,” of watching Charles Rangel publicly suffocating Fidel Castro in
bear hugs on his last two visits to New York, of Jesse Jackson bellowing “Viva
Fidel!” with the longest suffering black political prisoner in modern history
(Eusebio Penalver) locked up in a dungeon almost within hearing range—given all
this, the families of these long-suffering Cuban political prisoners aren't
about to look such a gift-recognition-horse in the mouth.
“We’re going to investigate the facts of this troubling civil rights issue,”
said the director of Sharpton's National Action Network, Charlie King. “If
these allegations are true, we will send a request for a humanitarian mission
to be sent to Cuba, and we will do anything and everything we can to ensure
It's not exactly, “Mr Castro tear down this wall!” But it sure beats Jesse
Jackson's “Viva Fidel!” while arm in arm with the mass-murderer in Havana. And
it sure beats Sharpton's own former “Fidel is simply awesome.”