The propaganda sheet of Cuba's Stalinist regime has almost outdone the mainstream international media in vilifying Jesse Helms. It's a close-run thing. You be the judge:
“To many around the world,” recently wrote London's Financial Times,“he was little less than a monster.”
"Few senators in the modern era have done more to resist the tide of progress," concluded the New York Times when Helms retired in 2003.
"He fought for the values of the old confederacy. He resisted the new South. He resisted the opportunity to fight for a more perfect union," said Rev. Jesse Jackson (who bellowed “Viva Fidel!-Viva Che!” while arm in arm with Castro in Havana in 1984.
“It is hard even now to think of him with charity,” runs the obituary in the UK Guardian. Helms was “a baleful influence” with a “malign impact” on American foreign policy. “He caused an international furore by joining forces with Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana to push through the Helms-Burton Act, extending American jurisdiction to international companies trading with Cuba.”
“There are men in the world who become paradigms of disgrace to the human race,” wrote a Castro-court eunuch in Cuba's official paper, Granma, this past Monday.“A titan of intolerance!” continues the scribbling eunuch in this propaganda organ for a regime that jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin's and executed more in its first three years in power than Hitler's murdered in its first six.
“Helms was the head of a gang in Washington that was prepared to destroy the world!” continues the sniveling hack for a regime that brought the world closest to Nuclear devastation by asking, begging and finally trying to trick Nikita Khrushchev into launching a surprise nuclear attack on the U.S.
“He brought tragedy to millions of human beings around the world, including millions in his own nation,” declares this apparatchik for a regime that plunged a nation that enjoyed a standard of liver higher than half of Europe's in 1958, to a level of Haiti's today. In the process, this regime tripled Cuba's suicide rate, making its subjects the most suicidal in the Western Hemisphere, and drove tens of thousands of them to fight bare-handed against Tiger sharks while desperately fleeing the glories of free healthcare and education. All this to escape from a nation formerly swamped with immigrants, primarily fellow first-worlders from Europe.
“Castro has done good things for Cuba,” said a (hopefully oblivious to Cuban history) Colin Powell in 2001. Castro was quick to return the compliment. “Mr Powell is a man with his own character and authority." That someone with Powell's level of “character and authority” appears poised to join the Obama campaign as reported recently by Robert Novak, should not be surprising, especially to Fidel Castro.
The enlightened world's tantrum against Jesse Helms is a showpiece of hypocrisy and ingratitude. Imitation, as we all know, is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, Senator Helms by co-authoring the infamous Helms-Burton law in 1996-- the one that ignited an “international furore”according to the UK Guardian-- merely sought to imitate the British Parliament, the United Nations, the European Union, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, Charles Rangel, Jesse Jackson, The World Council of Churches, the Council on Foreign Relations, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the London Times, etc.
With this act, Senator Helms and his Republican colleague Dan Burton of Indiana, merely sought to apply the measures all the enlightened parties and persons mentioned above urged against an authoritarian regime (segregationist South Africa) to a totalitarian regime (Stalinist Cuba), by applying similar economic sanctions.
He has never been forgiven for so dramatically (if unwittingly) showcasing their hypocrisy.
You'd never know it from the mainstream media, much less the academic 'Cuba experts” they habitually interview, but the so-called Cuban embargo-- far from a malicious ploy by a bullying superpower to starve and cow a tiny, innocent nation wishing only to exert its independence—was in fact a last-ditch response to Stalinist mass larceny of U.S. property involving the murder of U.S. citizens.
In the summer of 1960, Castro ordered his KGB-trained security forces to storm into 5,911 U.S owned businesses in Cuba and steal them all at gunpoint. His haul was almost $2 billion, the biggest heist of U.S. property in history—bigger than all the rest combined. Rubbing his hands in triumphant glee, Castro boasted at maximum volume into a phalanx of mics to the entire world that he was freeing Cuba from "Yankee economic slavery!" (Che’s term, actually) and that "he would never repay a penny!"
This is the only promise Fidel Castro has ever kept in his life. A few owners who resisted, like Howard Anderson, whose Jeep dealership was stolen, and Tom Fuller, whose family farm was stolen, were promptly murdered by Castro and Che's firing squads, alongside the thousands of Cubans who resisted the Stalinist theft. Hence “the Cuban Embargo.”
By 1995 the embargo was ridden with loopholes. In 1974, at Henry Kissinger's instigation, all subsidiaries of U.S. companies worldwide were free to transact with Cuba. Much worse, many foreign corporations, primarily Canadian, European and Mexican, had moved into the stolen U.S. plant and property in Cuba and were merrily operating them in joint ventures with Cuba's Stalinist regime, employing a labor force that averages $15 a month in wages and is prevented from striking under penalty of firing squad or torture chamber. These joint venturers found themselves doing quite well.
In 1996 Senators Jesse Helms and Dan Burton sought to put an end to this outrage with their Act, also known as the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, and met hysterical resistance at every turn, primarily from the same sources who shrieked to high heavens about inhuman exploitation in apartheid South Africa.
The Helms-Burton Act, we were led to believe by mainstream sources, was a vindictive an unprecedented political confection by American bigots and their scheming Cuban-American allies. In fact, it sought to enforce a principle that predates the code of Hammurabi. To wit: If you deal in stolen goods you're an accessory to theft. Originally, under the act, Communist theft victims were to be allowed to use U.S. courts to file for compensation against those trafficking in their stolen property.
But the traffickers in this stolen property put up a hue and cry about the usual American “unilateralism” blah, blah. So to get the thing approved, a re-drafting prevented American citizens of Cuban heritage from using U.S. courts to attempt redress against the criminals, because they had not been U.S. citizens at the time of the thefts, jailings and murders.
But the hue and cry continued from the accessories-to-theft and via their agents and mouthpieces in the U.S. media, think-tanks and Congress. So another re-drafting inserted a provision allowing the President to sign-off, and thus prevent ALL U.S. citizens from suing those trafficking in their property. International pressure has been such that ALL Presidents, Democrat and Republican since 1996, have signed off on this waver.
So Helms-Burton, despite the best hopes of its authors, has amounted to little more than a limited travel ban to Cuba. And has merely prevented a handful of European and Canadian CEO's (of companies trafficking in stolen U.S. property) from visiting the U.S. None of these accessories to theft has been brought to trial.
In fact, for the past half-a-decade the U.S has been Cuba's biggest food supplier and 4th biggest trade partner. A few months back, trade delegations from 27 of our 50 states attended a trade fair in Cuba and signed business deals with Cuba 's Stalinist regime. In 2007 the U.S, sold almost half a billion dollars worth of goods to Cuba -- for cash.
That last point is the rub with the Castro regime and with its agents (on the payroll on and off) in the U.S. And accounts for much of the recent hoopla about an "opening" to Cuba.
The current U.S "embargo" of Cuba, even with the “tightening” from the “draconian” Helms-Burton Act amounts to little more than a limited travel ban plus: no U.S. Export- Import Bank financing of any sales to the current rulers of Cuba. In other words: no U.S. taxpayer bailout for politically-connected millionaires entering into business deals with known deadbeats and thieves (and mass-murdering Stalinists). Currently, ADM and every other agricultural company in the U.S. is perfectly free to sell Cuba whatever they want. The embargo simply protects the U.S. taxpayer from being left holding the bag from credit sales to Cuba gone bad—which is the international norm.
Dun & Bradstreet rates Cuba among the world's worst credit risks, right below Belarus and Somalia. Today Cuba 's foreign debt, including to the former Soviet Union, exceeds $40 billion. In 1986 Cuba defaulted on most of its foreign debt to Europe. France 's version of the U.S. government's Export- Import Bank,(named COFACE) recently cut off Cuba's credit line.
The mass robbery at gunpoint in 1960 was bad enough. In fact the Cuban-embargo (even in its emasculated condition ) far from being a “failed” policy in the words of Obama and his staffers, has been a spectacular success. Thanks in large part to Jesse Helms and Dan Burton, U.S. taxpayers are among the few in the industrialized world not screwed and tattooed by the Castro regime.
Now, had Jesse Helms been head of the Senate Foreign Relations committee in 1959-60, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara might have thought twice before ordering the mass robbery of U.S. businessmen and stockholders at Soviet gunpoint –not to mention the mass-larceny, mass-jailing and and mass-murder of Cubans. And had these Stalinists persisted, Senator Helms, as he did with the Nicaraguan freedom-fighters, would have moved major mountains in Washington to secure the same kind of help for Cuba's freedom fight.
Indeed, had a senator named Jesse Helms then prevailed in Washington, a bandit and murderer named Fidel Castro might merit less encyclopedia space today than a bandit and murderer named Pancho Villa.