A year ago many prominent Israelis seemed smitten with Fidel Castro. "I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” wrote Israeli President Shimon Peres to Fidel Castro on Sept. 24, 2010. "I must confess that your remarks were, in my opinion, unexpected and rife with unique intellectual depth. Your words presented a surprising bridge between a harsh reality and a new horizon. You tried to sail to bigger seas, to show that a small geographical size doesn't have to reflect human smallness.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not to be outdone: "The remarks attributed to Castro demonstrate his deep understanding of the history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel."Now this:
“The Italian daily Corriere della Sera is reporting that Hezbollah is setting up a base of operations in Cuba in order to extend its ability to reach Israeli targets in Latin America…According to the Tel Aviv daily Yedioth Ahronoth, three members of Hezbollah have already arrived in Cuba to set up the cell, which will allegedly “include 23 operatives, hand-picked by Talal Hamia, a senior member tasked with heading the covert operation. The clandestine terror operation is reportedly called "The Caribbean Case."
Peres’ and Netanyahu’s sentiments last year sprung from an interview Castro had bequeathed the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, where he outed himself as a lifelong but closet Likudnik. Not coincidentally, perhaps, the interview was arranged by the CFR’s Julia Sweig, alleged to be a Cuban “agent of influence” by the Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuba spycatchers, retired Lieut. Col. Chris Simmons.
“Ahmadinejad should be ashamed of himself for denying the Holocaust,” chided the man who as an adolescent carried his dog-eared Mein Kampf everywhere and who copied his “History will Absolve Me” speech straight from Hitler’s courtroom speech defending his Rathhaus Putsch.
“Israel has a definite right to exist,” kibitzed the Stalinist who a year earlier declared that: “The Fuhrer’s swastika is today Israel’s banner!”, who co-sponsored the 1975 UN resolution branding “Zionism as Racism,” and who sent some of his top troops to try and erase Israel during the Yom Kippur War.
“I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews,” rued the mass-murderer whose media runs these cartoons.
Castro’s Zionist shtick to Jeffrey Goldberg went viral last year. But amazingly, without being recognized as such-- not only by Goldberg—but even by the world’s pre-eminent Zionist experts on shtick-detection.
“So what was up with all that pro-Israel hype?” you ask.
Elementary, my dear Watson. Cuba-Watchers know that Castro plumbs the workings of the U.S. legislature better than most home-grown lobbyists, and well knows the main power brokers. As proof, he’s been smooching U.S. farm interests for over a decade. Coincidentally, perhaps, over the last decade the U.S. became one of Cuba’s biggest food suppliers. (Some “Embargo”!)
Last year it was time to schmooze Israel-backers. At the same time Castro seemed poised for a pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall last year, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Relations was poised for a vote vital to the financial health of his fiefdom. Steadfast Israel-backer Howard Berman chaired this House Committee at the time and steadfast Israel-backer and Committee member Senator Gary Ackerman held what looked like the deciding vote. So you see the importance.
Some background: as often explained here at Townhall, Castro’s military and secret police own Stalinist Cuba’s tourist industry practically lock stock and barrel. As used to be common knowledge during the Cold War, secret-police and military (the only outfits with guns in such places) maintain Communist regimes in power. The HCFR vote would decide a further opening of U.S. tourist travel to Castro’s fiefdom. So you see the importance of the issue.
Even with Rep. Ackerman taking Castro’s bait, Rep. Berman saw that the vote for Castro’s bail-out was a lost cause and postponed it. “Hay Caramba!” snarled Castro while ripping off and stomping on his yarmulke. A few weeks later his roaming ambassador Aleida Guevara (Che’s daughter) was in Lebanon posing next to Hezbollah missiles aimed at Israel.
The Cuban-born (and steadfast Israel-backer) Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, was among those bemused with Netanyahu and Peres last year. “Look, this guy has been an enemy of Israel, “wrote Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen to Netanyahu, “just because he said something that a normal person would say - after 50 years of anti-Israel incitement, it's one phrase from an old guy who doesn't even know where he's standing."
Fortunately for Israel (and unfortunately for Castro) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen recently succeeded Berman as the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign affairs and is currently leading legislative efforts for the U.S.-- not exactly to get out of the U.S.—but at least to start de-funding it. Hey, it’s a start.
The biggest question now is whether Hezbollah will content itself with Israeli targets. The arrest of a Hezbollah member tasked with setting up a cell in Tijuana was confirmed in a memo from the Tucson Police Dept. in April 2010. "Many experts believe Hezbollah and drug cartels have worked together for decades.” wrote U.S. Rep. Sue Myric R-NC to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. “Hezbollah operates almost like a Mafia family in Northern Mexico, often demanding protection money and "taxes" from local inhabitants." She also noted that lately gang tattoos of many prisoners in Arizona jails are written in Farsi.
"Several reports, citing U.S. law enforcement and intelligence sources, document that Hezbollah operatives have provided weapons and explosives training to drug trafficking organizations that operate along the U.S. border with Mexico,” testified Roger Noriega (former U.S. Ambassador to the OAS) to the House Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence on July 7th.
“If our government and responsible partners in Latin America fail to act,” continued ambassador Noriega’s testimony. “I believe there will be an attack on U.S. personnel, installations or interests in the Americas as soon as Hezbollah operatives believe that they are capable of such an operation without implicating their Iranian sponsors in the crime.”
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.