When a recently-freed political prisoner who was foreign and black (and a former communist terrorist by his own admission) visited the U.S. in 1990 to request economic and diplomatic sanctions against the segregationist government that jailed him the U.S. media and political establishment went absolutely bonkers with acclaim and adulation.
“The hero of oppressed people everywhere!" (hailed ABC.)
"A larger than life figure!" (gushed CNN)
"A virtual symbol of freedom!" ( heralded CBS).
"His name has a mystical quality--a worldwide hero!" (rhapsodized Dan Rather.)
“A Hero in America!” (headlined Time magazine.)
Other reports compared Nelson Mandela to the Pope, Jesus Christ, and Moses. The New York Times devoted 23 pages for laudatory articles on Saint Mandela in one week. Ted Koppel hosted an ABC "Town Meeting" with Mandela where every question was sugar and spice and everything nice.
While barnstorming across the U.S, Nelson Mandela made 26 televised speeches, attended 21 meetings and fund-raisers, and addressed five news conferences.
Mandela also met with President Bush and addressed a joint session of both houses of Congress, after receiving the keys to New York City. This followed a ticker tape parade that rivaled Ike’s on his return from Europe in 1945. During his Congressional address Nelson Mandela was interrupted by standing ovations 15 times.
Only those insufferable Cuban-Americans bucked the establishment. These relentlessly contrarian Americans scandalized the mainstream media and political establishment by actually protesting Mandela’s visit! Crowds in Miami (many led by former political prisoners who suffered tortures in Castro’s prisons unimaginable by Mandela in South Africa’s country-club prisons) denounced Mandela as a communist, a terrorist, and an accomplice of their torturer, if you can imagine such impertinence.
These uppity Cuban-Americans even provoked a three-year boycott of Miami’s tourism industry by an African American outfit named “Boycott Miami: Coalition for Progress,” that was quickly joined by the National Organization of Women and the American Civil Liberties Union, if you can imagine such a dishonor.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the principled struggle you waged which resulted in the adoption of the historic, comprehensive anti-apartheid act. (i.e. U.S. embargo against South Africa,)” declared Mandela to his packed and rapt Congressional audience who erupted in an ovation. “We are encouraged and strengthened by the fact of the agreement between ourselves and this Congress, as well as President Bush and his Administration that sanctions will remain in place. Sanctions should remain in place.” Thunderous ovations—especially by Democrats--followed these segments of Mandela’s speech.
“Every dollar we spend with (South Africa’s segregationist government) makes us accomplices in their crimes!” had thundered Congressman Charles Rangel while lobbying for the South Africa embargo, a U.S. diplomatic policy almost unanimously hailed by the U.S. media and political establishment and passed by Congress in 1986 as the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act.
“No true friend of democracy can also be a friend of (South Africa’s segregationist government.) In any business dealings with (this government) we become tainted by association!” continued Congressman Rangel.
On the other hand, when a recently-freed political prisoner who was foreign and black (and the victim of a communist terror-sponsoring regime) visited the U.S. in January 2015 to request economic and diplomatic sanctions against the Stalinist regime that jailed and tortured him the U.S. media and political establishment shunned him like a leper.
Only a small item on FoxNews Latino deigned to embarrass President Obama by mentioning the presence of José Luis García Pérez, (aka “Antunez”) suffering through the SOTU by special invitation of Republican John Boehner –after suffering 17 years in Castro’s KGB-designed torture chambers.
Only a few bothered to mention Antunez’ message, which echoed Mandela’s decades earlier: “I would tell President Obama that these agreements (with the Castro regime,) these negotiations...are illegitimate. Engagement with the Castro regime only strengthens the Castro regime.”
While in a Castroite torture chamber in 1990 Antunez often read and heard (as Castro’s media transcribed the Castro-friendly U.S. mainstream media and quoted his friend Nelson Mandela) that economic embargos against repressive regimes were a wonderful and effective thing, a moral obligation in fact.
Now in the U.S. Antunez heard overwhelmingly (and from the identical sources) that economic embargos against repressive regimes were a terrible thing, the exclusive province of vengeful, small-minded brutes in fact.
"Allowing trade, travel and other goods into Cuba will do more than just open markets and trade with our neighbor.” Antunez heard from this same Congressman Charles Rangel, as he denounced an embargo. “We will (now) be able to transmit American culture and ideals that can help foster democratic principles in Cuba."
The Twilight Zone was not shown in Castro’s prisons (unlike probably in South Africa’s.) But who can blame the perplexed Antunez for thinking he’d stumbled into it?
Granted, the scenarios involving these two black political prisoners are hardly identical.
First off, far from representing any threat to U.S. interests Mandela’s jailers helped the U.S. fight Soviet Imperialism in the vital sea lines around the horn of Africa. Whereas Antunez’ terror-sponsoring jailers came within a hair of nuking the U.S., stole $7 billion from Americans at Soviet gunpoint, and succored virtually every anti-American terrorist group in modern history. All from The Weathermen to Puerto Rico’s Macheteros, to Argentina’s Montoneros, to Colombia’s FARC, to the Black Panthers, to the PLO, to the Al Fatah received training and funding from Castro.
Also, according to anti-Apartheid activists, a grand total of 3,000 political prisoners passed through South Africa’s Robben Island prison in roughly 30 years under the Apartheid regime. Usually about a thousand were held. These were out of a South African population of 40 million.
According to Freedom House, a grand total of 500,000 political prisoners have passed through Castro’s various prisons and forced labor camps. At one time in 1961, some 300,000 Cubans were jailed for political offenses. This is out of a Cuban population in 1960 of 6.4 million. A quick punch of a calculator will easily reveal the grotesque disparity in repression between the South African and Cuban regimes.
Furthermore, Nelson Mandela was found guilty of terrorism during a trial conducted by an independent judiciary and witnessed by scores of international observers. “The [Mandela] trial has been properly conducted,” wrote correspondent for the London Observer Anthony Sampson (who later wrote Mandela’s authorized biography). “The judge, Mr Justice Quartus de Wet, has been scrupulously fair.”
On the other hand, Antunez, (and tens of thousands of other Cubans black, white and everything in between) were condemned by a judicial system founded by Felix Dzerzhinsky during Lenin’s Red Terror, perfected by Andrei Vishinsky during Stalin’s Great Terror and transplanted to Cuba in 1959 by their “Latino” disciples. “Judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail,” Che Guevara stressed to his prosecutors. “When in doubt — execute.”
These “executions” (murders, technically) would surpass Hitler’s during the Night of the Long Knives and the rate of jailings would exceed Stalin’s during his Great Terror, and dwarf those of South Africa’s during Apartheid.
Also, during a trial closed to all media by Castro’s KGB-trained police Antunez was sentenced by a Stalinist kangaroo court for the “crime” of peaceful protest and distributing literature quoting Martin Luther King.
Antunez’ resounding rebuff while in the U.S. by the U.S. media and political establishment came one day after the U.S. media and political establishment celebrated Martin Luther King Day.
I apologize for the clumsy attempt at depicting the above items. I realize that —though completely true and fully-documented-- only Rod Serling or Franz Kafka could do them justice.