“Getting attacked by a shark just might be the scariest event in nature!” gasps a Discovery Channel narrator during Shark Week. “Australia recorded 56 fatal shark attacks between 1956 and 2008!” he gasps again. “Find out what it's like from people who've lived to tell the tale!”
So the Discovery Channel goes back over half a century and to a distant continent to interview the victims and dramatize the attacks. But why the distant timeline and setting, ask many people in South Florida?
“The Florida Straits probably record 56 fatal shark attacks every few years,” says Matt Lawrence, who spent years rescuing desperate Cuban rafters. "Probably every month during the early 90’s,” adds Bay of Pigs vet Arturo Cobo who ran the rafter rescue center in Key West and for years heard the sobbing, gut-gripping details of these attacks almost daily.
“Something was moving in this raft,” recalls an airborne rescuer. “So I went in lower. The water all around the raft was turning red…the cloud spreading. Then I saw the shark—about the same length as the raft. The rafter was in fact a Cuban woman in her early twenties. Upon her rescue we found she had two bullet wounds in her legs from Castro’s frontier police. All others in the raft, including two infants had died, as did the shark, from being repeatedly stabbed by the pointed end of a broken oar by Maria. The Shark had bitten the oar in half as Maria pounded him...I started flying rescue missions full-time after that.”
“The boys’ father, delirious from thirst and exposure, finally jumped in the water,” recalls another rescuer. “So the sons threw him a rope tied to the raft and he clutched it. They turned away for a second, slightly relieved—but only to spot a huge shark approaching, then another. Soon an entire school surrounded the raft and they ripped into their father…The water turned red as their father was eaten alive….. I can tell you from decades of and heart-breaking work from our center here in Key West that in the Florida straits every week is shark week.
Where the “root-cause” of this drama and horror more politically-correct can you imagine its popularity in movies? Docudramas? Reality TV? But as usual, Castro also escapes censure for this form of torture and mass-murder.
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.