In fact the brain-shackled robot Fidel Castro and Che Guevara tried to create with their firing squads, forced labor camps and Stalinist indoctrination makes the Eisenhower era’s “Organization Man” look like a combination of Jimmy Hendrix and Jack Kerouac.
As exhibit A. in this grotesque ideological disconnect let’s take the famous rockers and “political thinkers” responsible for the songs “Four Dead in Ohio” and “Chicago.”
In 1979 when Fidel Castro (whose regime murdered more political prisoners than pre-war Hitler's and jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin's) invited Stephen Stills to perform in Cuba at a Communist propaganda-palooza known as “Havana-Jam,” the famous Woodstocker could hardly contain his elation. The fervent champion of human-rights, civil rights and free-speech (indeed Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s last tour was titled “The Free-Speech Tour”) not only took up the offer to perform at this “Havana-Jam,” but also composed a song in Castro’s honor, titled “Cuba al Fin!” (Cuba at Last!)
Jazz-master and Cuban exile Paquito‘d Rivera, living in Cuba at the time, recalls watching Stephen Stills on stage at Havana’s Karl Marx theatre lovingly crooning his songs to the families of Cuba’s Stalinist nomenklatura as if Havana-Jam were a personal performance for the mass-murderer - in-chief himself. Within blocks of this cheeky “Havana-Jam,” (which also included Human-Rights activist Kris Kristofferson along with Billy Joel) Cuban youths, black and white, languished in dungeons suffering longer prison sentences than Nelson Mandela’s. The Cubans’ crimes were attempting free speech.
“They (Castro’s Stalinist regime) invited me because they knew I was politically astute,” gloated Stephen Stills regarding the acumen and good taste of his Cuban hosts, who to this day jail and torture youths for the crime of saying “Down with Fidel!”
“There’s a man with a gun over there, ’tellin me I gotta beware,” wrote Stepen Stills in the 1967 hit For What it’s Worth.” Indeed, Stephen Stills: Cuban youths have much to teach regarding that scenario. If only you’d deigned to part briefly from your Stalinist hosts (the gunmen) in Havana and asked around.
“Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid, you step out of line, the man come and take you away.” The “man who came to take away” Cubans at a higher rate than Russians were taken away by Stalin and Germans were taken away by Hitler was your very host on your Cuban visit, Stephen Stills.
“Young people speaking their minds—a getting SO much resistance from behind..”
“Exactly Stephen Stills, from the people right behind your stage, from the Stalinists who were sponsoring you, who you were brownnosing with you, who were jailing and torturing us, for the crime of listening to YOUR music!” Might reply many Cuban youths of the time.
“You have to give them (Cuba’s Stalinists) due respect because they have a unique form of socialism that’s very significant in the scheme of world history,” Stephen Stills gloated while explaining his Cuba visit.
Oh, it’s unique alright, Mr. Stills. Few 20th Century regimes jailed and tortured youths en-masse for the crime of growing long hair and craving rock music.
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.