The Left's infatuation with Communist dictatorships dies hard. Why else would intellectuals and Hollywood's finest still be supporting Cuba's brutal tyrant, Fidel Castro?
About a month ago, the aging Communist clamped down on Cuba's opposition movement. Castro's government prosecuted and convicted three men in "summary" trials for hijacking a ferry to escape to freedom in the United States. The regime's state-run television reported that the men were given several days to appeal their sentences. Due process, Cuban-style.
Within three days of the convictions both Cuba's Supreme Tribunal and the ruling Council of State rubber-stamped the ruling and the government executed the men by firing squad.
Around the same time the government prosecuted and convicted -- again, in summary, one-day trials -- 75 dissidents for allegedly collaborating with U.S. diplomats to undermine the communist government. The activists, artists and economists were sentenced to up to 27 years in prison.
What specifically did these "counterrevolutionaries" do? About half of them organized a petition drive, called the Varela Project, aimed at peacefully reforming Cuba's one-party government.
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque defended the sentences. "We have been patient, we have been tolerant. But we have been obligated to apply our laws." Speaking of tolerance, one of the offenses for which the journalists were punished was having such books as Who Moved My Cheese?
To their credit, some European leftists finally criticized Castro's oppression. But others abroad and in the United States merely reaffirmed their long-standing, fawning allegiance to El Commandante. Likewise, the United Nations Human Rights Commission voted against condemning Castro's oppression and even rewarded him by re-electing Cuba to another three-year term on the Commission. Cuba triumphantly proclaimed its re-election as "undoubtedly a recognition of the Cuban Revolution's work in human rights in favor of all our people."
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer expressed the administration's contempt for the decision, saying, "Cuba does not deserve a seat on the Human Rights Commission. Cuba deserves to be investigated by the Human Rights Commission."
Many "intellectuals" and a number of Hollywood actors saw it differently. A group of more than 160, including singer Harry Belafonte and actor Danny Glover issued a declaration critical of the United States and supportive of the Castro regime entitled, "to the Conscience of the World."