“Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates!” raved Che Guevara in a famous speech in 1961. “The very spirit of rebellion is reprehensible!” commanded this icon of Flower Children. “Instead the young must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service.”
Youth, wrote Guevara, “should learn to think and act as a mass.” Those who “chose their own path” (as in growing long hair and listening to Yankee-Imperialist Rock & Roll) were denounced as worthless “delinquents,” and herded into forced labor camps at Soviet bayonet-point. In a famous speech Che Guevara even vowed, “to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!” he raved.
In keeping with this fine tradition, after beating and arresting Wilman Villar, his Castroite jailers demanded he wear the uniform of a common criminal (a traditional Stalinist practice as elaborated by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his Gulag Archipelago.)
But Villar refused (a traditional response by many Cuban political prisoners as elaborated by Armando Valladares in his prison memoirs Against all Hope.) “I refused to commit spiritual suicide,” explained Valladares’ prison-mate Eusebio Penalver, a black Cuban who suffered longer in Castro’s prisons and torture chambers than Nelson Mandela suffered in Apartheid South Africa’s Robben Island. Granted, you’d never know this from the MSM, or Hollywood- much less The Congressional Black Caucus.
“For months I was naked in a 6 x 4 foot cell,” recalled Senor Penalver. “That’s 4 feet high, so you couldn’t stand. But they never succeeded in branding me as common criminal, so I felt a great freedom inside myself. I refused to commit spiritual suicide.”
“They would leave him naked and handcuffed,” reports Wilman Villar’s widow in a recent samizdat from Cuba. “They beat him. They wrapped his body in chains so he could not take them off they told me that they were not going to give him any medical attention, that if he died, his would be just another death.”
Villar died a week later of "multiple organ failure due to general sepsis," as explained by the Stalinist regime, and dutifully disseminated by all MSM outlets graciously granted Havana press bureaus.
"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 Solzhenitsyn, "is being forced to live a lie."
At the risk of torture and death, Wilman Villar and his fellow Cuban prisoner-heroes refused to collude in this lie. So they enraged the torturers commanded by Jimmy Carter’s “old friend.” and Jesse Jackson’s good buddy. Through it all, they refused to wear the uniform of common criminals, standing tall, proud and defiant.
Many of the longest suffering political prisoners in modern history live as exiles in the U.S. today. Men (and women, many of them black) who suffered in Castro and Che’s gulag two and three times as long a Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Natan Scharansky suffered in Stalin’s live within a short cab ride of most MSM studios, including CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS.
As I recall, Nelson Mandela sure didn’t lack for U.S. media coverage. You’d think victims of Castroite torture might make ideal fodder for interviews on 60 Minutes, History Channel, A&E, Nightline, chat shows, etc.
Alas, these heroes were victims of the Left’s premier pin-up boys.
"Castro's apologists,” said Eusebio Penalver shortly before his death during an interview with this writer, “those who excuse, downplay or hide his crimes--these people, be they ignorant, stupid, mendacious, whatever--they are accomplices in the bloody tyrant's crimes, accomplices in the most repressive and murderous regime in the hemisphere."
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.