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Anniversary of a Fake News Classic by The New York Times

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

“One Thousand Killed in 5 days of Fierce Street Fighting!” read a New York Times headline on Jan 4, 1959. The fake news headline dealt with the (utterly bogus) “battle” of Santa Clara in central Cuba where Ernesto “Che” Guevara earned much of his enduring (and totally bogus) martial fame.


 “Commander Che Guevara appealed to Batista troops for a truce to clear the streets of casualties,” continues the breathless The New York Times article. “Guevara turned the tide in this bloody battle and whipped a Batista force of 3,000 men!”

A year later, Che’s own diaries revealed that his forces (which actually numbered a few dozen) suffered exactly ONE casualty (“El Vaquerito”) during this Caribbean Stalingrad, as depicted by The New York Times!

True to New York Times-form, during this “battle,” the paper didn’t have a reporter within 300 miles of Santa Clara! Instead, it relied on trusty Cuban Castroite “correspondents.” So who could blame Fidel and Che for GUFFAWING at the scam they pulled! (thanks to the New York Times.)

Your humble and hard-working servant interviewed several eye-witnesses (on both sides) to this “battle” and their consensus came to about five casualties total for this Caribbean Gettysburg, as depicted by The New York Times.

And true to Che Guevara-form, the genuine bloodbath in Santa Clara came a week after the (utterly bogus) “battle,” when Che’s opponents (real and imagined) were utterly defenseless. That’s when Che sent his goons to drag men and boys from their homes and set his firing squads to work in triple shifts.

But absolutely nothing appeared in the trusty New York Times on the genuine bloodbath at Santa Clara. True to Castroite practice, only when “Peace was Given a Chance,” only when their enemies were utterly defenseless, did the bloodbath crank into high gear.


And true to (proud Walter Duranty employer) practice, The New York Times helped cover-up yet another communist atrocity.

Any more questions about why Castro honored New York Times’ reporter Herbert Matthews with his Stalinist regime’s most prestigious medal/awards?  “To our American friend Herbert Matthews with gratitude. Without your help,” a beaming Fidel Castro said decorating Herbert Matthews during a visit to the New York Times offices in April 1959, “and without the help of the New York Times, the Revolution in Cuba would never have been.”

To be fair, the New York Times was hardly alone in its mendacity and/or stupidity:

Upon entering Havana on January 7, 1959, Cuba's new leader Fidel Castro broadcast the following promise into a phalanx of microphones. "Cuban mothers let me assure you that I will solve all Cuba's problems without spilling a drop of blood." As the jubilant crowd erupted with joy, Castro continued. "Cuban mothers let me assure you that because of me you will never have to cry." 

The following day, just below San Juan Hill in eastern Cuba, a bulldozer rumbled to a start, clanked into position, and started pushing dirt into a huge pit with blood pooling at the bottom from the still -twitching bodies of more than a hundred men and boys who'd been machine-gunned without trial on his brother Raul Castro’s orders. The murder victim’s wives and mothers wept hysterically from a nearby road (absolutely nothing from the New York Times about this, however.)


On that very day, the U.K. Observer ran the following headline: "Mr Castro's bearded, youthful figure has become a symbol of Latin America's rejection of brutality and lying. Every sign is that he will reject personal rule and violence."

These two events perfectly symbolize mainstream media “reporting” on the Castro regime, even 60 years later: The regime oppresses, steals and murders while issuing a smokescreen of lies not merely devious but downright psychopathic. The worldwide media abandons all pretense as "investigators" or "watchdogs" and adopts a role, not merely as sycophants, but as advertising agency. 

By the time of his delirious, deafening, foot-stomping receptions at Harvard Law School and the National Press Club (most of whose members oppose capital punishment) in April 1959, three months after the New York Times headline, "Mr. Castro's" and Che Guevara’s firing squads had slaughtered 1,168 men - and boys, some as young as 15.

By the time Norman Mailer (another opponent of capital punishment) was hailing Fidel Castro as "the greatest hero to appear in the Americas!" his hero's firing squads had piled up 4,000 corpses and one in 18 Cubans was a political prisoner, an incarceration rate that surpassed Stalin's.

By 1975, when George McGovern (another opponent of capital punishment) was calling him "very shy and sensitive, a man I regard as a friend," the bullet-riddled bodies of over 10,000 Cubans lay in unmarked graves, and Cuba still held the most political prisoners as a percentage of population on earth, surpassing Nazi Germany's prewar rate by several multiples.


He brought the world closest of anyone to nuclear Armageddon by pleading, begging, and finally trying to trick Nikita Khrushchev into launching a surprise nuclear strike on the U.S. Yet he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian parliamentarians.

He jailed and tortured at a rate higher than Stalin. Yet Cuba sits on the UN's Human Rights Committee.

His legal code mandated 18 months in prison for anyone overheard cracking a joke about him. Yet “comedians” Jack Nicholson and Chevy Chase sang his praises.

He abolished habeas corpus while his chief hangman, Che Guevara, declared that “judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail. We execute from revolutionary conviction.” A month later Harvard Law School invited him to address them and erupted in cheers and tumultuous ovations after his every third sentence. 

He drove out a higher percentage of Jews from Cuba than Czar Nicholas drove from Russia and Hafez Assad drove from Syria. Yet Shoah Foundation founder Stephen Spielberg considered his dinner with Fidel Castro "the eight most important hours of my life." 

He overthrew a black Cuban head of state (Fulgencio Batista) and jailed the longest suffering black political prisoners in the modern history of the Western hemisphere. He sentenced black dissidents to 20-year sentences in horrible dungeons essentially for quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in a public square. Yet he's a hero to the Congressional Black Caucus and received passionate bear hugs from Charlie Rangel.


His firing squads murdered pregnant women, his coast guard machine-gunned mothers with their children for trying to escape on rafts, and his regime made Cuban women into the most suicidal in the world, tripling their pre-Revolution suicide rate. Yet “feminist” Barbara Walters hailed "the great health he has brought to Cuba"; Andrea Mitchell referred to him as "an absolutely fascinating figure!"; and Diane Sawyer was so overcome in his presence that she rushed up, broke into that toothy smile of hers, wrapped her arms around the mass-murderer and smooched him warmly on the cheek.

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