WASHINGTON -- Stop the presses! Finally, after a half-century of staunchly disagreeing with Dr. Fidel Castro, I see that the Cuban dictator has rendered a judgment with which I heartily agree. Responding to the Prophet Obama's friendly conversation with his brother Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas in steamy Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Fidel, in the words of The Associated Press, "blasted the new U.S. president for showing signs of 'superficiality.'" But given all the Hollywood stars Fidel has hosted on his island paradise, you can rest assured that Fidel is a connoisseur of superficiality.
Fidel apparently was angered by the Prophet's response to President Raul Castro's offer of having Cuban diplomats convene with their American counterparts to discuss "todo." That is Spanish for "everything." Pardon my swanking, but while at the summit, the Prophet did some swanking with his bilingualism, too. He called Hugo Chavez, another Latin American dictator, "mi amigo" with near-perfect accentuation.
President Castro had mentioned human rights, press freedoms and political prisoners as topics for discussion, and our president, in his innocence, thought Castro was talking about … well, political prisoners, for instance the prominent opposition leaders who were imprisoned six years ago, many of whom still suffer in Cuba's ghastly hellholes. He also mentioned the Cuban government's larcenous policy of taxing the money that Cubans abroad send back to their families. That really irked Fidel, whose denunciation of our president could put him in bad odor with his Hollywood fans. Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore and the rest have had warm relations with Fidel over the years. The political awareness and activism of our actors and actresses goes back generations to the selfless political engagement of the late John Wilkes Booth. Always, our actors are passionate about their beliefs.
There is something curious about the frenetic pace of the 44th president's foreign trips this month. Not since the summer of 1998 has an American president made so many dashes abroad. Have any of the sleuths in the Washington press corps checked on President Obama's relations with his interns? I josh, but his energetic globe-trotting is unusual, given his obligations at home. Here we are struggling with recession and a sour banking system. The Prophet adds to them the most colossal domestic package since the New Deal, whereupon he hastens off to Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Mexico. Increasingly, it appears that the Prophet Obama is conducting not so much a presidency as a world tour. He left for London April 2 and hit Strasbourg, Baden-Baden, Prague, Istanbul and Iraq, and he returned early on April 8. Eight days later, he went off to Mexico and then Trinidad, returning to his empty White House April 19. What will be next for our restless president, Disneyland?
As I mentioned last week, to hear this president run down America, you would think it was a failed state until he was transformed from junior senator of Illinois to president of the United States. He has surpassed Jimmy Carter's precedent of being the first ex-president to criticize a sitting president while on foreign soil. President Obama has become the first sitting president to criticize America while on foreign soil, and he does it with the practiced zeal of a person who has been feeding on anti-American myths for years.
During his visit with President Chavez, President Obama received from his new amigo a copy of the virulently anti-American book "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent." As the book, abounding with exaggeration and arrant falsehoods, appeared in the early 1970s, I would not be surprised if the president already had a copy. Doubtless, he heard similar anti-American canards during the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's (his former pastor) anti-American rants. Certainly, our president's friend Bill Ayers, alumnus of the Weather Underground, believes every word in "Open Veins." Its anti-Americanism was at the heart of the New Left back in the days of the Cold War. Its thesis is that Europe and America have exploited Latin America for centuries, leaving it impoverished and governed by corrupt leaders.
Now, of course, Latin America has such democratic exemplars as Presidents Chavez and Castro, as well as Nicaragua's president, Daniel Ortega, and Bolivia's Evo Morales. So maybe good government is at hand for Latin America. Possibly, it is only a matter of time before these political geniuses return Latin America to the glory of the Incas and the Aztecs. Perhaps President Obama, too, can succeed in bringing civilization to America. Meanwhile, think of all the frequent flier miles he is accumulating.
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