Humberto Fontova

Last week’s 60 Minutes featured another in its long line of joint CBS-Castro productions. This time Anderson Cooper and his production crew partnered with the Stalinist regime’s Centro de Investigaciones Marinas for a propaganda piece on the marvels of Cuban coral reef conservation. The co-host of the CBS show and conduit for this fruitful Communist infomercial was Dr David Guggenheim, senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation in Washington, D.C. who chairs its Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program. Dr Guggenheim toasts himself as a “Cubaphile” and toasts Castro’s fiefdom (which he has visited over 40 times in recent years) as a “magical place!”

Needless to remind (or perhaps not given that the cold-war supposedly ended over 20 years ago) such a goldplated visa is not handed-out haphazardly by Stalinist regimes. And such a welcome mat and red carpet are not rolled out randomly.

“Cultural exchanges with foreign countries are our most effective propaganda,” reads a declassified KGB document from May, 20, 1981.

“We cannot for a second abandon propaganda” wrote Fidel Castro in a letter to revolutionary colleague Melba Hernandez in 1954. “Propaganda is vital — propaganda is the heart of our struggle.”

“Foreign reporters, preferably American, were much more valuable to us than any military victory. Much more valuable than rural recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda.”(Che Guevara in his diaries)

It’s a long shot of speculation here, but just maybe the sentiments mentioned above had something to do with Cooper’s and Guggenheim’s instant Cuban visas and VIP pampering?

Dr Guggenheim’s “magical place,” by the way, just decreed three days of mourning for Kim Jon IL. When Fidel Castro visited North Korea in 1986 his paeans to his hosts sounded much like n Cooper’s and Guggenheim’s to theirs last week. “I was astounded by the magnificent achievements of the heroic Korean people!” wrote Castro. “There wasn’t a single topic I could not discuss with my illustrious host (Kim Il Sung)”

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