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Al Sharpton: Castro Foe? By: Humberto Fontova
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, July 28, 2008


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 impress me.”

“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 justice.”

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.”


Humberto Fontova is the author of Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him. Visit www.hfontova.com


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