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Jimmy Carter Charms the Castro Brothers in Havana

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Embracing a recent invitation by the Castro brothers Jimmy Carter visited Cuba this week. “We greeted each other as old friends,” gushed Carter regarding his meeting with Fidel Castro.

“In 2002, we received him warmly,” reciprocated Castro. “Now, I reiterated to him our respect and esteem."

“Jimmy Carter was the best of all U.S. Presdients,” gushed Raul Castro while seeing his American guest off personally and jovially.

Jimmy Carter earned all this warmth and joviality from Cuba’s Stalinist rulers by doing everything within his power to dismantle the so-called embargo against them. “The embargo of Cuba is the stupidest law ever passed in the U.S.”, he remarked in 2002. And yet President Jimmy Carter imposed more economic sanctions against more nations than any American president in modern history. These sanctions were against, Chile, Iran, Rhodesia, Nicaragua, South Africa, Paraguay and Uruguay. President Carter was extremely selective in imposing his sanctions, let's give him that. He was careful to punish only U.S. allies.

In Cuba, Carter also took time to visit and console some bereaved Cuban families. According to the Black Book of Communism (no outpost of the vast-right wing conspiracy much less of the “Miami Mafia”) Carter’s Cuban hosts murdered 12-14,000 Cubans by firing squad. According to Freedom House over half a million Cubans have suffered in Castro’s various Gulags, dungeons and torture chambers, an incarceration rate higher than Stalin’s. According to the scholars and researchers at the Cuba Archive, the Castro regime’s total death toll—from torture, prison beatings, firing squads, machine gunning of escapees, drownings, etc.—approaches 100,000.

So President Carter would seem to have little trouble in finding bereaved Cuban families to meet. And he did meet the grieving families of some Cuban-born prisoners. But these prisoners were serving time in U.S. prisons, after conviction by U.S. juries for espionage against the nation that elected Jimmy Carter President and for conspiracy to murder his fellow citizens. These Cubans, you see, are the ones who tugged at Carter’s heartstrings.

Some background: On September 14, 1998, the FBI uncovered a Castro spy ring in Miami and arrested ten of them. Five were convicted by U.S. Juries (from which Cuban-Americans were scrupulously excluded) and became known as “The Cuban Five” in Castroite parlance.

According to the FBI's affidavit, these Castro agents were engaged in, among other acts:

• Gathering intelligence against the Boca Chica Air Naval Station in Key West, the McDill Air Force Base in Tampa and the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Homestead, Fla.

• Compiling the names, home addresses and medical files of the U.S. Southern Command's top officers, along with those of hundreds of officers stationed at Boca Chica.

• Infiltrating the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command.

• Sending letter bombs to Cuban-Americans.

• Spying on McDill Air Force Base, the U.S. armed forces' worldwide headquarters for fighting "low-intensity" conflicts.

• Locating entry points into Florida for smuggling explosive material.

One of these Castro agents, Gerardo Hernandez, also infiltrated the Cuban-exile group Brothers to the Rescue, who flew unarmed Cessnas to rescue Cuban rafters in the Florida straits, also known as “the cemetery without crosses.” The estimates of the number of Cubans dying horribly in the “cemetery without crosses,” run from 30,000-50,000. Brother’s to the Rescue would often drop flowers into the sea for those they’d been unable to rescue.

These pilots risked their lives almost daily, flying over the straits, alerting and guiding the Coast Guard to any balseros, and saving thousands of these desperate people from joining that terrible tally. (Prior to Castro’s Revolution, by the way, Cuba was deluged with more immigrants per-capita than the U.S.)

In Feb. 1996 Castro agent Gerardo Hernandez fulfilled his mission by passing the flight plan for one of the Brothers’ humanitarian flights to Castro. With this info in hand, Cuba’s Top Guns, saluted and sprang to action. They jumped into their MIGs, took off and valiantly blasted apart (in international air space) the lumbering and utterly defenseless Cessnas. Four members of the humanitarian flights were thus murdered in cold blood. MIGs against Cessnas, cannon and rockets against flowers.

Three of these murdered men were U.S. citizens, one a decorated Viet-Nam vet. The other was a legal U.S. resident. No record exists of Jimmy Carter ever meeting with their families. But in Havana this week Jimmy Carter smilingly met with the families of the man convicted in U.S. courts of helping murder them, and with Raul Castro himself who personally gave the order to shoot down the defenseless Cessnas.

"I had the opportunity to meet the families of the five Cuban patriots, (Hernandez’ among them)” said Carter during an interview with Castro media apparatchik this week, “with their wives and with their mothers.....I'm well aware of the shortcomings of the U.S. judicial system (but apparently NOT the Cuban!) but hope that President Obama will grant their pardon. He knows my opinion on this matter, that the trial of the Cuban Five was very dubious, that many norms were violated."

In Castro’s fiefdom people are sent to the firing squad and prison (at the above-mentioned rates) based on Che Guevara's famous legal dictum: “Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail. We prosecute and execute from revolutionary conviction!” This system jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s.

So during an interview with a Castro apparatchik in Havana on Wednesday Jimmy Carter saw fit to castigate “the shortcomings of the U.S. judicial system,” and hailed Castro’s KGB- trained and U.S. convicted spies as “patriots.”

No wonder P.J. O’Rourke famously dubbed Jimmy Carter, “that most Ex of America’s Ex-Presidents.”

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