Was it remotely conceivable that someone with Jeremiah's Wright's worldview and connections had somehow avoided a pilgrimage to the world capitol of Yankee-hatred, to worship and commiserate with its high priests?
Not a chance. Reverend Wright was part of Revered Jesse Jackson's 300 person entourage to Havana in 1984. “Viva Fidel!” bellowed Reverend Jackson while concluding his speech at the University of Havana. “Viva Che Guevara!..Long Live our cry of Freedom!”
“He (Jesse Jackson)is a great personality,” reciprocated a beaming Fidel Castro, “a brilliant man with a great talent, capable of communicating with people, very persuasive, reliable, honest. Jackson's main characteristic is honesty. He is sincere and there is not a single bit of demagoguery in his conversations.”(italics mine)
As mentioned, this was summer of 1984, so at the time the world's longest-suffering black political prisoner suffered his incarceration and tortures in stoic defiance. “Nigger!” taunted his jailers between tortures. “We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!”
I do not refer to Nelson Mandela. No, this prisoner was being tortured a few miles away from the Revs. Jackson, Wright and their entourage of black American luminaries. The prisoner was a black Cuban named Eusebio Penalver and he was being tortured by Reverend Wright's gracious hosts. Mr Penalver's incarceration and tortures stretched to 29 years which makes him the longest-suffering black political prisoner in modern history, surpassing Nelson Mandela's record in time behind bars and probably doubling the horrors suffered by Mandela during this period.
Eusebio Penalver was bloodied in his fight with Castroism but unbowed for almost 30 years in its dungeons. He's what Castroites call a "plantado"--a defiant one, an unbreakable one. "Stalin tortured," wrote Arthur Koestler, "not to force you to reveal a fact, but to force you to collude in a fiction."
"The worst part of Communism," wrote Solzhenytzin, "is being forced to live a lie."
Eusebio Penalver refused to collude in this lie. He spit in the face of the liars. He scorned any "re-education" by his jailers. He knew it was THEY who desperately needed it. He refused to wear the uniform of a common criminal. He knew it was THEY who should don it. Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson and Jeremiah Wright all toast his torturer. But through 30 years of those tortures Eusebio Penalver stood tall, proud and defiant.
"For months I was naked in a 6 x 4 foot cell," Eusebio recalls. "That's 4 feet high, so you couldn't stand. But I felt a great freedom inside myself. I refused to commit spiritual suicide."
Sr Penalver served several months of this 30 year sentence naked in a "punishment cell" barely big enough to stand in, where he languished naked and in complete darkness. Shortly before his death in 2006, Senor Penalver told this writer, "Castro's apologists, those who excuse or downplay his crimes-- these people be they ignorant, stupid, mendacious whatever--they are accomplices in the bloody tyrant's crimes, accomplices in the most brutal and murderous regime in the hemisphere."
Imagine, say, Jesse Helms or Pat Buchanan, visiting South Africa at the same time Wright and Jackson visited Cuban, then yelling “Viva Botha!” Our ears would STILL be ringing from the media uproar.
But have you ever heard of Eusebio Penalver? He lived in Miami for almost 20 years and would have been a cinch for the media to track down. Ever see a CNN interview with him? Ever see him on 60 Minutes? Ever read about him in the New York Times? The Boston Globe? Ever hear about him on NPR during Black History Month? Ever hear the NAACP or Congressional Black Caucus mention him?
Why do I bother asking?
Jackson and Wright's Cuban pilgrimage was arranged by the Cuban Council of Churches, who sprang for the full $300,000 tab. “ I have been affiliated with the Cuba Council of Churches since the 1980s,” boasted Reverend Jeremiah Wright in a sermon just last year. “I have several close Cuban friends who work with the Cuba Council of Churches and you have heard me preach about our affiliation and the Black Theology Project’s trips to Cuba.” And naturally the kicker: “Our denomination’s Global Ministries is committed to calling for an end to the U.S. sanctions against Cuba.”
This same denomination, needless to add, clamored FOR sanctions against South Africa.
The Cuban Council of Churches, according to Cuban intelligence defector, Juan Vives, is an arm of Cuba's ICAP (Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos) itself an arm of Cuba's DGI, Cuba's secret police, founded and mentored by the KGB and East German STASI. the ICAP's long-time chieftan was Rene Cruz Rodriguez whose meteoric rise through Cuba's Stalinist bureaucracy was facilitated by his diligence as an early executioner, often beating out Che Guevara and Raul Castro themselves in his zeal to shatter the firing-squad victim's skull with a coup d' grace from his .45. Also, on Nov. 5, 1982 a Dade County, Fla., grand jury indicted Rene Rodriguez Cruz, for drug smuggling.
Courtesy of Cuban-American professor, Tony de la Cova, we have dramatic proof of how some of Jeremiah Wright's “close friends” distinguished themselves as Cuban Revolutionaries.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.