“And that bit about. “My father was a political prisoner in Cuba.” “Dios mio, Billy!” None of the people who will influence your career give a rat’s derriere about that stuff. Who cares that Castro’s Cuba jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin! You’re now living in a nation where the tern “that’s history” is a pejorative, Billy. Remember that.
“If you’re gonna mention Cuba at all with media folks, Billy, mentally bookmark this valuable advice--and like Mr McGuire to Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate,I’ll limit it to one word. “Plastics,” Mc Guire famously advised Benjamin.
“Healthcare, I now advise you, Billy.” Now repeat it after me: “Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare.”
‘Got it? “Free and Fabulous healthcare—world-class healthcare. Healthcare that’s the envy of U.S. citizens.” Got it?
“I know, I know I KNOW, Billy! You were born in Cuba. You actually LIVED in Cuba most of your life, Billy. But please, please, PLEASE—for the sake of your career, Billy--please don’t set yourself up as somehow more knowledgeable in these matters than, say, Michael Moore or Andrea Mitchell, Billy!
“Didn’t you hear Andrea Mitchell just last week from Havana itself hailing: “The advantages of the Cuban system, the low infant-mortality rate… which is legendary around the world.”?
“Sure, a few years back actual videos of actual conditions in actual Cuban hospitals were smuggled out of Cuba at great peril to the smugglers. These were then spirited to Sean Hannity by some insufferable reactionary named Humberto Fontova. And Hannity ran two shows featuring the horrors.
“But first thing you gotta learn when you leave Cuba, Billy, is that (outside of Fox News) nobody wants to hear what you have to say about the realities of life under Castroism. Now THERE’S a reality show to beat all reality shows! And I’ve been dreaming about one for years. But unlike Michael, Moore, Stephen Soderbergh, Benicio Del Toro, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, etc. who all get Cuban visas for the asking—unlike them, I can’t beg, borrow or steal one, Billy. And for the simple reason that my show would not be co-produced with Castro’s Propaganda Ministry, as were The Motorcycle Diaries, Che, Sicko, etc.
“My show would upset many apple-carts, obliterate too many fond fantasies. Remember when you learned that Santa Claus didn’t—oops, sorry! Forgot that while you were growing up in Cuba Castro had outlawed Santa Claus as a symbol of Yankee Imperialism. So OK, remember when you learned that the Easter Bunny—oops, again! Forgot that Castro outlawed Easter too!
“At any rate, it is very important that whenever you mention Cuba in front of any camera or mic, you quickly follow up with “free-healthcare.” And you might throw in “free education” too. The powers-that be-in this industry just eat that stuff up, Billy. I’ll pick you up at seven for dinner and more advice.”
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.