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.
In fact, most who climb to positions of authority in Castro's regime did so as accomplices in mass-murder. Its part of the deal, named El Compromiso Sangriento (The Blood Covenant.) This tried and true Soviet scheme was presented by Soviet GRU agent Angel Ciutat to Che Guevara just days after he and Fidel entered Havana in January 1959. The scene was a meeting at Che's palatial (and recently stolen) estate in Tarara just west of Havana. Every candidate for regime officer, suggested Soviet officer Ciutat, would take his place in a firing squad and pull the trigger with live ammo.
From his prison-cell window Tito Rodriguez Oltmans, a former Cuban freedom-fighter and political prisoner, watched this blood covenant in action. "Every evening the military cadets and regime officials would be bused in and armed with Belgian .308 caliber FALs as they lined up for the firing squad," recalls Mr. Oltmans, a prisoner in La Cabana prison in the early 1960s. “As darkness fell the condemned patriot -- shirtless and gagged -- would be dragged to the execution wall and bound. The cadets and officials would line up only four meters in front of the patriot and all had loaded weapons." ... FUEGO!
A brief aside: historically and almost universally, most members of a firing squad shoot blanks, to assuage their conscience. But such assuaging would contradict the Cuban firing squads' most vital purpose.
The point of the Blood Covenant was to bond the murderers, especially those in line for future leadership, with the murderous regime. The more shooters the more murderers. The more murderers thus manufactured the more people highly-motivated to resist any overthrow of their system. After 16,000 firing-squad murders (according to the Black Book of Communism) Cuba's officer and regime official corps (Jeremiah Wright’s “friends”) was plenty "bonded" to the regime.
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.