“I love Cuba!” bellowed comedian Jim Belushi last week from a Havana stage. The comedian who cashed-in on his comedian brother’s name was giving a stand-up routine as guest of honor of a regime whose “constitution” mandates two years in prison for any subject overheard cracking a joke about his host.
Jim Belushi was basking as Master of Ceremonies of Cuba’s Cigar Festival, which—while auctioning cigars to millionaire and billionaire businessmen from around the world-- raised over one million for the regime that jailed, exiled and murdered most of Cuba’s businessmen. Fidel Castro’s son Tony was chuckling from a ringside seat.
Cuba’s tobacco farmers and cigar makers all had their livelihoods stolen at Soviet gunpoint in 1960. The recalcitrant (people who balked armed at having their life’s work stolen by Stalinists.) were sent to firing squads, torture-chambers, forced labor camps and exile. Shortly afterwards Cuba’s Minister of Industries, Ernesto “Che” Guevara “nationalized” and “consolidated” Cuba’s cigar industry.
“Certainly we execute!” beamed Che Guevara at the UN in December 1964. “And we will continue to execute! This is a war to the death against our revolution’s enemies!” Many of these bullet-riddled enemies had simply resisted the armed theft of their family tobacco farms by Che Guevara’s KGB-trained gunmen.
As he chummed it up with regime apparatchiks in Cuba (where the average annual salary is $230) Jim Belushi was fresh from last month’s $38,500-per-plate Obama fundraiser in Beverly Hills where he shared the honors alongside George Clooney.
Note to Jim Belushi’s agent: Your client’s Cuba visit is probably providing more entertainment to many more Cubans, but in more private venues--and more onerously-- without proper compensation. To wit:
"My job was to bug visiting celebrity’s hotel rooms," says high-ranking Cuban intelligence defector Delfin Fernandez. "With both cameras and listening devices. And famous Americans are the priority objectives of Castro's intelligence," says Fernandez. “Most people have no idea they are being watched while they are in Cuba. But their personal activities are filmed under orders from Castro himself."
And according to some sources, Havana, given the desperation of its brutalized and impoverished residents, has recently topped Bangkok as the world mecca for child sex.
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.