Please excuse the families of an estimated 50 thousand freedom-seekers (men women, children, infants) who died horribly on Diana Nyad’s exact route from joining her celebration this week.
Many Cubans completed the hundred mile journey on flotation devices most of us wouldn’t board outside a backyard swimming pool. Many more died horribly in the attempt, from dehydration, sunburn, drowning, sharks and machine-gunnings by Diana Nyad’s hosts and facilitators. Diana Nyad describes Castro-regime apparatchik Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich as a "good friend." Escrich runs the Castro-regime’s Hemingway Marina from where Nyad started her swim, and from where the patrol boats and Soviet helicopters would depart to machine-gun the desperate freedom-seekers.
Over twenty-times as many Cubans have died attempting to escape Cuba as Germans died trying to escape East Germany. And prior to Castroism, Cuba was inundated with more immigrants per-capita (primarily from Europe) than was the U.S.
In one day July 13th 1994 43 freedom-seeking Cubans drowned, 11 of them children. Carlos Anaya was 3 when he drowned, Yisel Alvarez 4. Helen Martinez was 6 months old.
“For crying out loud, Humberto!” comes the chorus of complaints. “The entire nation’s rejoicing over Diana Nyad’s amazing and inspiring feat! You’re a buzzkiller with bells on! Can’t you give politics a rest! Nyad herself left all politics out of her triumphal swim! Geeesh!”
Not so fast, amigos. “Millions of us worldwide, but especially here in the United States, have been fascinated by the mystique of this "forbidden" island so close to our shores, “wrote Nyad in her Huffington Post column last year. ”We are aware of the advanced level of medicine and general education on the island. We have installed proud posters of Che (Guevara) on our college room walls… as someone who grew up with many Cuban friends in South Florida someone who has now visited Havana some 30 times..”
Whoops! Let’s stop right there for now. Overlook for a second her Michael Moore-isms regarding Cuba’s “healthcare,” her parroting of the Castro script on this issue. Skip her boastful idolatry of the psychopathic murderer, sadist, coward and doofus Che Guevara, who almost blasted Nyad and her entire family into cinders that would today fit neatly inside her swim cap.
Skip all that for now. Instead note how she boasts of repeatedly visiting Castro’s totalitarian fiefdom. For the benefit of those who came of political age after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Communist regimes do not issue celebrity visitor visas randomly. “The vetting procedure starts the regime receives your visa application,” reports Chris Simmons, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuban spycatcher, now retired. “When you’re smiling Cuban “guides” greet you at the airport they know plenty about you, and from several angles.”
Often they learn much more about you during your stay. “First thing I advised visiting Americans,” an official at the U.S. Interest Section told this writer “was to check their rooms for bugs—the electronic surveillance type.”
"My job was to bug visiting American’s hotel rooms,” confirms high-ranking Cuban intelligence defector Delfin Fernandez, “with both cameras and listening devices. And famous Americans are the priority objectives of Castro's intelligence."
In brief if you’re not there to help the regime’s image abroad, you’re not getting a visa, at least more than once. And if in the Stalinist regime’s estimation you helped their image insufficiently, well, a little “prodding” might be applied, via blackmail. Upon publishing a book critical of the Castro regime’s snooping on visitors and censorship of foreign journalists, for instance, Spanish reporter Vicente Botin promptly lost his Cuban visa. Yet Diana Nyad went back and forth from Castro’s fiefdom repeatedly.
How easy it might have been for Nyad to mention all the watery graves she swam over. Such a dedication during athletic contests is not unheard of. Take the Berlin Ultra-Marathon. “We wanted to organize a 100-mile race partly to commemorate those who lost their lives on the wall and every year we remember a specific victim who was killed trying to cross." Explain the marathon’s organizers.
“(Nyad) said the Cuban authorities would have preferred that she swim toward the island rather than away from it,” disclosed a Miami Herald article during an earlier try in 2010, “as it may be construed as symbolic of the Cubans who flee the island. But she explained she could swim only in one direction because of the strong currents in the Gulf Stream.”
In other words, Nyad fully recognized the symbolism of her swim. She fully recognized that the Stalinist regime was promoting it. Only the direction of the currents prevented her from following the script exactly as delivered by the Stalinist regime. Still, the Stalinist regime should be very proud of her. She kept studiously mum on the issue of the estimated 50,000 un-marked graves she was swimming over.
Should anyone need further proof of Nyad's usefulness to the Castro regime, here's the adulatory coverage of her swims by the Castro regime's KGB-mentored propaganda organ.
An aside: was Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic a lesser feat than Nyad’s swim? Many would say it was a greater one. But Lindbergh very briefly dallied with a totalitarian regime (Nazi Germany before the war and before the Holocaust.) Came the war and Lindbergh volunteered for combat against America’s Axis enemies and flew 50 combat missions in the Pacific.
No matter. That brief dalliance forever contaminated him in view of the establishment. The title of the PBS special on his life summed it up: “Lindbergh; Fallen Hero.”
But today the establishment focuses exclusively on Nyad’s (genuinely praiseworthy) swim. Her long and warm and public romance with the murderous and war-mongering totalitarian regime that facilitated her swim and used it for propaganda purposes matters not a wit, except to those dependably contrarian and buzz-killing Cuban-Americans.
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.