Humberto Fontova

Last July one of America’s biggest TV networks craved to interview Senator Marco Rubio. Univision is the biggest Spanish-language network in the U.S., reaching thirteen and a half million households, (95 percent of the “Hispanic” total) making it 4th biggest in the U.S., just ahead of NBC. Mexican-Americans make up most of its viewers so the network’s editorial tone essentially echoes that of the Democratic-controlled Hispanic Congressional Caucus.

Univision’s owner is actually an Egyptian-born Israeli-American named Haim Saban, who ranks among the Democratic party’s most lavish benefactors "I don't say this lightly," said Democratic National Committee head Terry McAuliffe back in 2007, "Haim Saban saved the Democratic Party."

This summer Senator Rubio was asked to appear on the network’s top show, Al Punto, for an interview with, Univision’s star anchorman Jorge Ramos, hailed as “the Brian Williams of Hispanic TV” by AdAge. Ramos is a multi-Emmy winner and author of a bestseller titled “Open Borders,” which pretty much sums up his position. Marco Rubio opposes even the Dream Act. So the plan called for “Hispanic” Univision tinkling the tune and “Hispanic” Senator Marco Rubio either stepping and fetching, tapdancing or being outed in front of the vast majority of America’s “Hispanic” households as anything “but a credit to his race,” more like a traitor. Herman Cain knows something about this.

And like Herman Cain, Senator Rubio declined the role of Mr Bo Jangles. So Univision cranked up the inducements. They had the goods on Rubio, they explained in a meeting with his staff. Marco’s brother in law had been busted for drugs in 1987 and they planned a prime-time expose of the scandal. Marco’s cooperation with an interview just might prompt Univision to “soften” or even kill the program altogether.

Marco was 16 years old at the time and this was his brother in law. If this strikes you as hardly scandalous for the freshman Senator, such is the desperation among the “Hispanic” (i.e. Democratic) establishment to damage Marco Rubio that offering to silence this item struck them as an offer he couldn’t refuse. Then the Democratic-Hispanic establishment would tuck Rubio in their pocket as surely as the Corleone’s tucked Nevada Senator Geary in theirs.

When Marco’s sister refused Univision’s offer to “contribute” to their report, the network parked a huge news truck in front of her house, to further harass her and apparently also to demonstrate their investigative prowess. "I always knew Univision to be a professional organization until this happened," said Rubio of the blackmail attempt.

The “expose" on Rubio’s brother-in- law ran for two days last July and instantly fizzled, despite a publicity blizzard by Univision to their MSM soulmates. Apparently the tangent proved too embarrassingly tenuous even for most Rubio-bashers. Univision’s sleaze factor also nixed their planned Republican debate this January. “Even in this time of ever-changing media techniques, Univision’s unethical tactics stand out,” wrote Rick Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan to Univision’s CEO. “Therefore, Gov. Perry will not consider participating in the Jan. 29, 2012, Univision debate until your network addresses this ethical breach and takes action to correct it.” All candidates except Ron Paul are in lockstep with Gov. Perry on this issue.

Last week came time for Target Rubio’s plan B. A front-page story in the Washington Post by Manuel Franzi-Roig (a frequent visitor to Castro’s Cuba which he gushes over as “intriguing and extraordinarily exotic!”) accused Rubio of “embellishing” his family history.

The WaPo’s Rubio-gate boils down to this: Documents they “uncovered” (in fact they’ve been prominently displayed on a Birther blog since May) reveal that Rubio’s parents came to the U.S. in 1956 rather than in 1959 as he has claimed in some interviews and on his Senate website. Castro took over Cuba in January of 1959. So because his parents weren’t fleeing Castro’s rule at the instant of arrival in the U.S. Marco “embellished” his family’s Cinderella story. He’s technically not the son of glamorous “political exiles,” as his Senate bio claims but of tacky “economic immigrants”--legal ones to boot, making them super-tacky in WaPo eyes.

Shame on Marco’s parents. If only they’d SNUCK into the U.S. Then the mildest inquiry into his family history would ignite a media pile–on of “racist kook!”, “bigot!” “Nativist!” against the enquirer.

“If The Washington Post wants to criticize me for getting a few dates wrong, I accept that,” wrote Senator Rubio in his official rebuttal. “But to call into question the central and defining event of my parents’ young lives – the fact that a brutal communist dictator took control of their homeland and they were never able to return – is something I will not tolerate. They stayed because, after January 1959, the Cuba they knew disappeared. They wanted to go back...”

In fact, the back and forth of Cubans between the U.S. and pre-Stalinist Cuba, for both business and pleasure, was common and considered unremarkable at the time. Same for the back and forth of Americans themselves. Think Ernest Hemingway. In 1953 more Cubans vacationed in the U.S. than Americans in Cuba.

And why not? "One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class,” documented a report by the UN’s International Labor Organization in 1957. Both this writer’s maternal grandparents were born in Florida of Cuban parents here legally for a few years. But their parents returned with their infant children to Cuba, where all spent the rest of their lives--until Castro’s Stalinism made their 1962 stay in the U.S. permanent.

So imagine: these Hispanic parents voluntarily vacated the U.S. with their invaluable “anchor babies!” And my grandparent’s case was hardly exceptional among pre-Castro Cubans. The cultural, ethnic and business ties between former Spanish colony Florida and former Spanish colony Cuba made such things commonplace. Even as Spain’ “crown” colony, in the 19th century Cuba did more business with the U.S. than with Spain.

The notion of people with Spanish surnames departing the U.S. for their native countries smiling and accompanied by their families instead of glowering and accompanied by The Border Patrol or Sherriff Arapio just doesn’t register in today’s America. But it was routine throughout the 20th Century for Cubans. In the 1950’s when Cubans were perfectly free to emigrate with all their property, family, etc. and U.S. visas were issued to them for the asking only around 25,000 Cubans lived permanently in the U.S. About the same number of Americans lived in Cuba.

But The Godfather II shows none of this, you see. Their exclusive educational source on pre-Castro Cuba omits it--so liberals remain (willfully) oblivious. Sounds flippant? Well, here’s Chris Matthews from this very Sunday, while hosting the author of the WaPo hit-piece “I mean everybody who saw Godfather II knows what it was like when Castro took over!”

Right after hailing Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo as his primary historians on Cuba, Matthews gushed that his guest Manuel Franzi-Roig should win a Pulitzer Prize for his Rubio hit-piece.

You simply cannot make this stuff up.


Humberto Fontova

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.