Just as a leopard cannot change its spots, nor a zebra its stripes, an organization whose founder admired the “ideals” of the hammer and sickle can never really abandon those destructive beginnings.
More than a quarter-century after his death, the “legacy” of American Civil Liberties Union founder Roger Baldwin – a self-professed fan of Soviet communism and of Joseph Stalin – is still going strong. With the collapse of the Soviet empire, current ACLU leaders have thrown more of their support to one of the last remaining bastions of the Soviet ideal: Cuba.
In 2005, for example, the ACLU endorsed an amendment lifting the ban on tourist travel to Cuba – a long-distance slap in the face to Cubans, who now watch foreign tourists feed corruption, pesos and dollars to the Communist machine, while they themselves are stripped of nearly all human rights. The insult was multiplied a year later, when the ACLU demanded an end to bans on academic travel, so scholars could lend their support to the regime.
But ACLU leaders are as eager to export Cuban communism as they are to import American tourist dollars. Last week, the ACLU was in federal court, arguing that a Miami-Dade County school board broke the law by removing from its school libraries a book entitled Vamos a Cuba (Let’s Visit Cuba), which offers a strangely luminous view of life in Castro’s island “paradise.” A federal judge has already ruled that the book be returned to the shelves until the case can play out in court.
The school board’s beef isn’t with what is on the pages, but with what isn’t. Parents filed complaints after finding the book to be devoid of any mention of the oppressive regime instituted by Fidel Castro nearly 50 years ago. Instead, its pages are filled with breezy commentaries on how Cubans enjoy chicken with rice (under the country’s subsidized ration plan, the average Cuban is allotted a whopping 8 ounces per month) and boating as a leisure activity (“boating” being a rather ironic term for the fragile, homemade rafts so many launch out onto the ocean, in desperate bids to escape the regime).
The book’s cover, available in both English and Spanish versions, is adorned with beaming children dressed in the uniform of the Pioneers, the Communist youth organization that Cuban children are required to join. They look like Cuban Bobbsey Twins.
Obviously, the Miami children targeted for this book have never been told that questioning the Cuban government is likely to lead to imprisonment … that milk is far too expensive for most on the island to purchase … that access to everyday activities like surfing the Internet is not only severely limited, but closely monitored by the government for any shred of dissent against Castro and his cronies.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.