Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Part Two: Cubana Flight 455
A Large Part of U.S.-Cuban History
In the pantheon of American politics, the Bush political dynasty has included, among many other things, two members of Congress, a CIA Director, a two-term Vice President, a one-term President, a two-term President, a two-term governor of Texas, and a two-term governor of Florida. And whether or not you disdain or applaud that monarchy, it actually is (God help us all) only in its infancy. That's what democracy-lovers get for allowing money, lobbyists, nepotism, celebrity, and (as you'll see) shady characters dominate our government.
Jeb Bush -- who has always eagerly latched onto the shoulders of his grandfather, father, and older brother -- is currently in a lucrative respite recovering from his two very lucrative terms as Florida's governor. But he plans a lucrative 2016 presidential bid...that is, if he is not "compelled" to yet enter the lucrative 2012 race to overlap an admittedly dreadful Republican field. (I'm a conservative Republican, neither right-wing nor left-wing)
Senator Marco Rubio
In the meantime, the Bush dynasty has succeeded in getting yet another Cuban-American protege/puppet, young Marco Rubio from Miami, in the U. S. Senate. And, in tight conjunction with the Fox "news" network, the Bush dynasty is already thrusting Rubio down America's throat as a VP candidate in 2012...followed, of course, by at least two future presidential bids.
George P. Bush
Further into that future, George P. (for Prescott) Bush is a sure bet to follow his father Jeb and Jeb's anointed Cuban-American puppet Marco Rubio as presidential material. George P. got one prerequisite out of the way in 2003 when he graduated from the University of Texas Law School. And he's awash in the other two even more necessary requirements -- endless bundles of money and the Bush political machine.
Abundant progeny in monarchies allows for a few missteps or, shall we say, really bad apples. For example, Neil Bush, another of George H. W. Bush's sons, had visions of the Oval Office too but, alas, his involvement with the Silverado Savings & Loan scandal, which cost taxpayers billions while his father was Vice President, scuttled Neil's political ambitions...or at least we can hope so. However, he has ample reason to smile for being one of the G. H. W. Bush sons. His name is still golden for lucrative contracts abroad, like the political revolving door even though he's not an ex-politico, just a bloodline Bush. Neil, you see, has a little consulting firm, Crest Investments, that received $2 million for one simple deal with a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin; according to papers revealed in his divorce, Neil received $642,500.00 as his commission for introducing an Asian investor to an American company; etc. (We could go on but I think you get the idea. The Bush dynasty epitomizes the decaying of the U. S. democracy when a Neil Bush, for heaven's sake, makes millions by using the Bush name to secure massive contracts from those always eager to buy clandestine access inside the money pit known as the U. S. government. It also chronicles the alarmingly increasing disparity between the rich and powerful as opposed to the poor, weak, and helpless. The disparity is not just in the widening gap but in the disparity inherent in the ability to create wealth or even a living wage. Born a Bush, you can be shady and incompetent but create obscene wealth; born Neil Smith with a moral compass as well as intelligence and ambition, the odds are stacked very high against you. The Bush dynasty, for example, can keep Neil in the family closet but the Bush political ties now and forever can reach out from even there to wads of insider money, money that is seemingly as ubiquitous as sand in the Sahara).
Prescott Bush and son George Herbert Walker Bush
The Bush political dynasty...or monarchy, if you will...did not start with the now 83-year-old George H. W. Bush. It started with his father, Prescott Bush. Some say it started with Prescott's father Samuel, who made a lot of money dealing in weapons contracts, but I think that's being picky and the really interesting stuff began with Samuel's son Prescott, who was born on May 15, 1895, and began the Bush tradition of going to Yale and getting very involved it its Skull and Bones secret society, like his son and grandson who later found the sometime-secretive (classified documents, you know) Oval Office.
Prescott Bush was preceded at Yale by his grandfather James Smith Bush, class of 1844, and his uncle Robert E. Sheldon, class of 1904. Prescott and his son George both played baseball at Yale. Prescott became a Wall Street banker and represented Connecticut in the U. S. Senate from 1952 to 1963. A rule of thumb in studying most monarchies is to Follow the Money, especially the original stash. The Kennedy monarchy, for example, started with the money Joe Kennedy made when he was aligned with the Mafia in Prohibition days.
Sure, Samuel Bush made enough money in weapons deals to send Prescott to Yale 'n all, but Prescott made the really serious money.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prescott Bush
When he died at age 77 in 1972, Prescott Bush owned, among many other things, mansions in New York, Long Island, Greenwich (Connecticut), and Kennebunkport (Maine), not to mention a 10,000 acre plantation in South Carolina and a secluded island off the Connecticut coast (Fishers Island). In any case, with money like that it is no wonder Prescott ended up in the U. S. Senate and his son George and George's son George W. both ended up in the White House where George W.'s brother Jeb and Jeb's son George P. (for Prescott) expect to reside in the near future. (Monarchies are fascinating, whether in England, Russia, the U. S., or wherever). But where in the world, except from his father and from Wall Street, did all of Prescott Shelton Bush's money come from?
Richard M. Nixon and Prescott Bush
Based in London, The Guardian is one of the world's best and most respected newspapers and easily accessible online (http://www.guardian.uk). On Sept. 25-2004, during the first presidential term of George W. Bush, the major article in The Guardian was entitled "How Bush's Grandfather Helped Hitler's Rise to Power." Here are the first seven paragraphs of that long (and I believe undisputed) article word-for-word:
"George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
"The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.
"His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than sixty years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.
"The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
"The debate over Prescott Bush's behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady Internet chatter about the 'Bush/Nazi' connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.
"Remarkably, little of Bush's dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now the multi-billion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush's business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson, George W., as he seeks re-election.
"While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen's US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war." (The Guardian, UK, September 25, 2004).
Senator Prescott Bush
D. A. Friedrichs wrote a column in which his data was sanctioned and aided by John Loftus, President of the Florida Holocaust Museum, and Tony Rogers of Clamor Magazine. Friedrichs wrote:
"Despite being held and interrogated by the Allies, Fritz Thyssen never told the authorities where his fortune was hidden and ultimately he was released from prison. He died in Argentina in 1951. Upon his death, the Alien Property Custodian released the assets of the Union Banking Corporation. The principles cashed out and the UBC was no more. Prescott Bush received $750,000 for his share of the Union Banking Corporation, a princely sum in 1951, but nothing compared to the millions the Thyssen family got back. Prescott used some of this Nazi cash to bankroll his son George Herbert Walker Bush's first business enterprise and to support his successful bid for the Senate in 1952."
Robert Parry is one of America's most honored and respected journalists. He was awarded the prestigious George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984 for his Associated Press work on the Iran-Contra scandal. He also received numerous awards for his Newsweek reporting that uncovered Oliver North's involvement in Iran-Contra. His investigative journalism is unbiased whether the subjects involve Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives or whomever. He has done financial work for Bloomberg and he owns Consortium News, which is dedicated to investigative journalism. Robert Parry's books include "Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, which was published in 2004.
Robert Parry wrote an essay in April of 2006 entitled "Bush's Hypocrisy: Cuban Terrorists. It began with these exact words:
"Like an aging rock star singing a beloved oldie, George W. Bush can count on cheers whenever he delivers a favorite line from the Bush Doctrine enunciated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks: Any country that harbors a terrorist is equally guilty as the terrorist.
"Bush got a round of applause at an Indianapolis speech on March 24, 2006, when he declared 'one of the lessons learned after September the 11th is that we must hold people to account for harboring terrorists. If you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you house a terrorist, you're as equally guilty as the terrorist.'
"But like much else from the post-9/11 period...this supposedly clear-cut rule applies differently when a Bush ally is implicated in terrorism and the Bushes are the ones doing the harboring.
"While the anti-harboring principle is cited when invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration continues to turn a blind eye to the presence of right-wing Cuban terrorists living in the United States.
"This double standard was underscored again in early April when a Spanish-language Miami television station interviewed notorious Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, who offered a detailed justification for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including the young members of the Cuban national fencing team.
"Another Cuban exile, Luis Posada Carriles, also has been tied to the bombing, but the Bush administration has so far rebuffed Venezuela's extradition request for him, even as he lives in Miami as a free man.
"But there's really nothing new about these two terrorists -- and other violent right-wing extremists -- getting protection from the Bush family.
"For three decades, both Bosch and Posada have been under the Bush family's wing, starting with former President George H. W. Bush (who was CIA director when the airline bombing occurred in 1976) and including Florida gov. Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush.
"The evidence points to one conclusion: the Bushes regard terrorism -- defined as killing civilians for a political reason -- as justified in cases when their interests match those of the terrorists. Moral clarity against terrorism only applies when the Bush side disagrees with the terrorists.
"This hypocrisy often has been aided and abetted by the U. S. news media, which intuitively understands the double standard and largely ignores cases in which the terrorism is connected to U. S. government officials. Bosch's comments on Miami's Channel 41 interview received almost no attention from the mainstream U. S. press. Reporter Juan Manuel Cao interviewed Bosch, who had been jailed for illegally entering the United States but was paroled in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush at the behest of his son Jeb, then an aspiring Florida politician.
"'Did you down that plane in 1976,' Cao asked Bosch.
"'If I tell you that I was involved, I will be inculpating myself,' Bosch answered, 'and if I tell you that I did not participate in that action, you would say I am lying. I am therefore not going to answer one thing or the other.'
"But when Cao asked Bosch to comment on the civilians who died when the plane crashed off the coast of Barbados, Bosch responded, 'In a war such as us Cubans who love liberty wage against the tyrant (Fidel Castro), you have to down planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that is within your reach.'
"'And the fencers?' Cao asked about Cuba's amateur fencing team that had just won gold, silver and bronze medals at a youth fencing competition in Caracas. 'The young people on board?'
"Bosch relied, 'I was in Caracas. I saw the young girls on television. There were six of them. After the end of the competition, the leader of the six dedicated their triumph to the tyrant...she gave a speech filled with praise for the tyrant.'
"Declassified U. S. documents show that after the Cubana Airlines plane was blown out of the sky on Oct. 6, 1976, the CIA, then under the direction of George H. W. Bush, quickly identified Posada and Bosch as the masterminds of the Cubana Airlines bombing...but the Ford administration wanted to keep intelligence scandals out of the newspapers so Bush and other officials kept the lid on the investigations.
"Still, inside the U. S. government, the facts were known. According to a secret CIA cable dated Oct. 14, 1976, intelligence sources in Venezuela relayed information about the Cubana Airlines bombing that tied in Bosch and Posada. Later, a fundraising dinner was held in Bosch's honor by Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez, a close Washington ally. A few days following the fund-raising dinner, Posada was overheard to say that, 'we are going to hit a Cuban airplane,' and that 'Orlando has the details,' the CIA report said. The CIA report was sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, as well as to the FBI and other U. S. intelligence sources, according to the markings on the cable."
Shortly before writing that long essay ("Bush's Hypocrisy: Cuban Terrorists"), Robert Parry's book Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty depicted in even more detail the Bush family's incredible ties to the most radical Cuban exile extremists. Robert Parry is a highly respected and award-winning investigative journalist for the Associated Press and Newsweek Magazine. As far as I know, his writings about the Bush dynasty and the Cuban exiles have never been challenged or denied. He has also written extensively about how he has tried, even begged, the Bush family -- especially George H. W. Bush -- to at least comment on his revelations, and those fervent efforts have all been in vain. Meanwhile, to Robert Parry's chagrin, any member of the Bush family can appear nightly on cable or network news to promote their latest books or other projects and never have to worry about having to hear the questions Robert Parry has spent two decades trying to ask.
In the previous posting ("Cubana Flight 455" Part One), you'll also recall that another truly great investigative journalist, Jim DeFede, stated that he, too, got no reaction when he begged the powerful, Bush-aligned, Cuban-born congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to comment on his famous Miami Herald "Terrorism is Terrorism" column, which excoriated her for defending and protecting a plethora of Cuban-exile extremists, including Posada and Bosch.
The above photo shows former president George H. W. Bush in 2000 meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Faud on behalf of the Carlyle Group and, of course, his own bank account. Mr. Bush had denied the meeting took place, till The Wall Street Journal (on 9/27/2001) and London's The Guardian (on 10/11/01) both proved it did take place via such declassified data as a "thank you" note from the Royal family, which also released the definitive photo. Bush cronies such as former Secretary of State James Baker and former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, who became chairman of the Carlyle Group, crafted the company (created in 1987 in Washington) into one of the world's largest defense contractors, among other lucrative ventures. Washington's revolving door (describing politicians leaving office to use their old contacts for huge monetary gain) was essentially invented, at least perfected, by George H. W. Bush and his dynasty.
Craig Unger's famous 2004 book House of Bush/House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties is, at the least, a chilling reminder of what can happen to a democracy when neither the mainstream media nor the citizenry has the integrity, courage, or intelligence to defend or even care about its most sacred principles or pillars. The Carlyle Group has admitted that on the morning of Sept. 1-2001 Shafig bin Laden, the brother of Osama bin Laden, was in Washington attending the group's annual investor conference regarding the Asian Partners Fund that George H. W. Bush headed, the day his son, the President, grounded all private planes except those carrying members of the bin Laden family. Unger writes: "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbors and supports our country's mortal enemies." Wikipedia states: "Craig Unger explores the relationship between the Saudi Royal Family and the Bush extended political family. Unger asserts that the groundwork for today's terrorist movements and the modern wars that have sprung up about them was unintentionally laid more than 30 years ago with a series of business deals between the ruling Saudis and the powerful Bush family. The Saudis received investments and military protection in exchange for cooperation on lucrative oil deals. The author claims that the result has been a shady alliance between 'the world's two most powerful dynasties.'"
In other words, if the incredibly rich and powerful Bush political dynasty began its monarchy with Preston Bush deals with Nazi Germany in the 1930s into the 1940s, the alliance with the Saudi Royal family, engineered by Preston Bush's son G. H. W. Bush, didn't exactly derail those personal riches and political powers, and neither did the Bush dynasty's economic and political alliances with the most radical exiles from the overthrown Batista regime in Cuba. All of that factors into the history of many disturbing things, including Cubana Flight 455 and the lack of luminosity in the world's most famed democracy.
The problem with politically active monarchies, as with dictatorships, is that, unlike in democracies, they continually extend power and wealth strictly along bloodlines or clan-lines, rarely to the benefit of that nation or the world. That sad state of affairs is exaggerated when the monarchy, such as the Bushes, has an incredibly insatiable appetite for wealth. Take, for example...Jeb Bush. As a Bush, he was born into extreme wealth. But guess what? In the late 1980s he moved to Florida. The Miami Herald asked him why. Jeb's famous answer: "To get rich." Notable journalists and historians, including Ann Louise Bardach, have pondered that answer, with most concluding that the little brother meant he wanted to prove that he too could make wads of money. Well, he did...very quickly...taking advantage of his knowledge concerning his family's ties to the Cuban-exile radicals that dominated South Florida politically and economically. In somewhat of a hurry, Jeb instantly aligned himself in real estate deals with highly controversial Cuban exiles, including some high up on the FBI radar, and in political alliances, including his role as anti-Castro zealot Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's Campaign Manager in 1989 on her way to becoming, in 2011, Chairperson of the House Foreign Relations Committee...as well as positioning himself for his two-term Florida governorship and future run for the presidency. Jeb, like others in the Bush dynasty but unlike most U. S. citizens and voters, seemed well aware of the Batistiano dictatorial control of South Florida, and, like others in the Bush dynasty, he has taken full economic and political advantage of it. In the interlude between his two-term governorship of Florida and his 2016 bid for the presidency, Jeb has already mapped out plans for his protege, Senator Marco Rubio, and his son, George P. (for Preston) Bush, to be future presidential candidates. In a "Democracy" more and more dictated by Super Pacs, lobbyists, and special interest money, monarchies such as the Bush Political Dynasty are not as benign and ceremonial as, for example, England's non-political one. Celebrity, wealth, and nepotism are not necessarily good in a democracy but ultra-rich political dynasties that create monarchies are devastating, the antithesis to democratic ideals and reminiscent of an untreatable cancer in a human body being passed from one relative to another. Previous generations of democracy-loving Americans would never have allowed it to happen, but the last two (post-World War II) generations lack the integrity, courage, will, and intelligence to preserve the precious gift bestowed to them by the Founding Fathers as well as by the multiple generations that followed them. Americans still go to the polls and vote but they have no opinions about such things as...Cubana Flight 455, an historic event that is but a microcosm of the world's greatest and fairest democracy evolving into a superpower that installed and supported cruel dictatorships in helpless countries, sometimes by overthrowing democratically elected governments in such disparate countries as Chile and Iran to install "U. S.-friendly" killer-dictators (Pinochet, the Shah, etc.). "U. S. friendly" all too often since World War II has meant dictatorships that, goaded by huge military and economic kickbacks from Washington, permit rich Americans to partake in the rape and robbery of those counties, something the overthrown democracies would not have permitted. TAKE, FOR EXAMPLE...the Congo.
VP Richard Nixon toasting new U. S.-friendly killer-dictator Mobutu
Shortly after World War II, crooked politicians such as Richard Nixon began to penetrate weaknesses in the U. S. democracy, such as apathy from its citizens and the emergence of special interests lobbyists, by getting elected Vice President and even President. Then the resources and tools of the post-war superpower, including the newly formed (in 1947) CIA, could be used to enrich and empower such politicians and their cronies. When, for example, Belgium and the U. S. were robbing mineral-rich Congo, in the heart of Africa, blind, both colonial powers weren't about to let a democracy take hold, one that would preserve at least some of the Congo's vast wealth for its own starving people.
Patrice Lamumba, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo
Like all people, the Congolese yearned for freedom. The saintly Patrice Lamumba gave it to them, briefly, in June of 1960 when his independence movement ousted the Belgium military leaders. Lamumba became the Congo's first legally elected Prime Minister. Twelve weeks later, Lamumba and his top aides were kidnapped, brutally tortured, and later taken to the forest, tied to trees, and shot. The coup was led by agents of the CIA and the Belgium Secret Police.
Mobutu Sese Seko
After the gruesome murder of Patrice Lamumba, the U. S. and Belgium chose Mobutu Sese Seko as the dictator of the Congo, which is also known as Zaire. He would rule from 1965 to 1997. During that time, in exchange for kickbacks, he allowed rich Americans and Belgians to team with him and his cronies in the wholesale rape and robbery of the mineral-rich nation. Mobutu rarely appeared in the country, leaving it in the hands of his U. S./Belgium-supplied soldiers. His people were without electricity and food, except for his soldiers and officials. Thousands of the people literally starved to death. Mobutu meanwhile stored billions of dollars in Swiss banks and he lived almost entirely on his jets and yachts and in his mansions around the world. The May 12-1997 edition of U. S. News & World Report (which I still have) features a huge article entitled "Zaireans Anger Aimed at U. S. Role; Blame U. S. for Much of Their Woe." The "woe" is graphically depicted with photos of a little boy as he starves to death and a starving, naked little girl on her left side in a fetal position. Neither child could be saved by the writers and photographers of the article. The caption below the photo of the little girl said: "Some have no hope. Too sick to be helped, this girl died minutes later." The article features a photo of U. S. United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson with a smiling Mobutu. The article stated: "The Mobutu fortune reaches beyond the Swiss domain...his financial empire includes sumptuous residences in France, Portugal and Morocco, hotels in Spain and South Africa, and coffee plantations in Brazil and the Ivory Coast." Mobutu, of course, had a right to smile as he stood beside Bill Richardson; being "U. S. friendly" is a great thing for dictators. But the little boy and the little girl, shown as they starved to death, weren't smiling. The naked little boy had a haunting look of helplessness across his face; the naked little girl had her hands covering her face in shame as she died, and she died before any in the American press entourage could convey to her this salient fact: It was not HER shame. For over three decades (31-plus years) Mobutu road the coattails of the U. S. and Belgium in amassing his fortune while thousands of Zairian children starved to death and while rich Americans and Belgians also robbed the country blind. Eventually cancer began to rob Mobutu of his health and his power. Amazingly, one of his top American doctors was William Close, the father of acclaimed actress Glenn Close. (The day I type this -- Jan. 21-2012 -- huge color photos of Glenn Close headline two of USA Today's four sections; Dr. William Close, her father, wrote a book about his extensive and expensive treatment of Mobutu). But Mobutu died of prostate cancer on September 7, 1997, in Rabat, Morocco, where he is buried in a Christian cemetery near one of his mansions. (He had nine mansions in Belgium alone). In 2002 the government of Belgium officially apologized to Zaire for its role in the murder of the democratically elected Lamumba and for its decades of support for the killer-thief dictator Mobutu. Zaire still awaits an apology from the United States, as do others, including the victims of Cubana Flight 455. (Note: The aforementioned U. S. News & World Report article and photos are in the May 12-1997 issue. I believe it is worth your time to read the article and view the photos, especially the one of the ravaged little girl hiding her face in shame as her last conscious and worldly act before she died of starvation). Those who prescribed her fate lived on.
Rafael Trujillo is another killer-thief dictator installed and supported by the U. S. for exactly thirty-one years, this time in the nearby Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Trujillo's brutal reign lasted from 1930 till 1961, during which rich Americans benefited immensely from such Dominican resources as sugar, coffee, cocoa, bananas, and slave labor. In 1924 the U. S. Marines on the island had put Trujillo in charge of the Dominican National Guard, which had been created by the U. S. in 1918 to represent American interests. Backed by U. S. arms, Trujillo took over as dictator in 1930, becoming one of history's most brutal fiends. A plethora of books detail how Trujillo and his sons loved to take reputed dissidents up in helicopters and drop them in the ocean or cut up their bodies at seaside mansions while hosting parties and feeding body parts to the sharks. Meanwhile, the Trujillo clan amassed huge fortunes, stashed in foreign bank accounts, complete with multitudes of lush properties worldwide. History records that in 1937 Trujillo murdered 20,000 (some accounts say up to 30,000) black Haitians in one day, blaming them for a sugar cane shortage. Such a slaughter, of course, could not be hidden from the Caribbean, U. S., or worldwide media. In such a circumstance, one would have expected the U. S., as Trujillo's well-known installer and supporter, to...well, at least apologize.
U. S. Secretary of State Cordell HullBut after the murder by the U. S. - backed Trujillo of 20,000-plus innocent Haitian peasants in one day, what the world got from the U. S. government was this famous statement from Secretary of State Cordell Hull: "Trujillo is a son-of-a-bitch but he is our son-of-a-bitch." The brash, bullying insult to Caribbeans and to decent Americans was not lost on the rest of the world, or on history.
Richard Nixon toasting Rafael Trujillo at the White House
After murdering over 20,000 innocent Haitians in one day in 1937, Rafael Trujillo, America's son-of-a-bitch, continued to receive massive U. S. support as dictator of the Dominican Republic for another twenty-four years. During that time, Trujillo and his sons continued such fetishes as feeding dissidents to the sharks, "the best fed sharks in the world" according to historians. But finally, after 31 murderous and thieving years, the U. S. got embarrassed by one particular mass murder attributed to Trujillo, a mass murder so vile that it is believed to have inspired the embarrassed CIA itself to orchestrate the assassination of Trujillo by an over-kill of continuous gunfire on a rural road on May 30, 1961.
The 1960 murders of the Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic shamed even the dictator-lovers in the U. S. government. Patria, Maria, and Antonia Mirabal were not only beautiful, well educated, and talented, but their fight for Dominican independence and the ouster of Trujillo makes them historic icons unparalleled on the island or in the Caribbean. They are lovingly remembered as "The Butterflies" ("Las Mariposas" in Spanish). They risked their lives daily in opposing Trujillo; they and their husbands were jailed and tortured at the La Victoria Penitentiary in Santo Domingo, but they remained undeterred and many felt their fame would prevent Trujillo from murdering them once they were released from prison. But the sisters were kidnapped, driven to a lonely dirt road, and beaten to death with clubs. The outrage reached the White House, and CIA headquarters. That spelled doom for Trujillo, although the U. S. military made sure to give Trujillo's son Ramfi ample time to mount bloody revenge against Dominicans who were suspected of having opposed his father; on Nov. 18-1961, for example, six of Trujillo's supposed enemies were rounded up, taken to Ramfi Trujillo's seaside hacienda, tied to trees, shot, cut up, and fed to the sharks. (That exact account ended up in the three top Caribbean newspapers, many history books and countless Online essays). The day after that bloody venting, the U. S. navy escorted the Trujillo children and their fortunes out of Santo Domingo harbor to safe foreign shores. In 1999 the United Nations designated November 25 (the anniversary of the Mirabal murders) as the annual date for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Books and movies also honor their memory. The best book is In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez and the best movie, with the same title, stars Salma Hayek as the beautiful Minerva Mirabal and Edward James Olmos as Trujillo. Some democracy-lovers timidly remain oppressed; some bravely risk their lives in search of it. The Mirabal sisters risked their lives daily in the fight for freedom, but died before attaining it for themselves although their actions helped secure it for others, including their little sister Dede Mirabal and five Mirabal offspring that have won democratic elections in the Dominican Republic.
The Mirabal sisters -- Patria, Maria, and Antonia -- grew up in the above home in Salcedo, Dominican Republic. Their little sister Dede still lives there today. Dede has devoted her life to honoring her sisters, and her book about them was published in 2009. As a democracy-loving American, I truly wish Caribbeans and Latin Americans could today credit the United States for supporting the Mirabal sisters, not Rafael Trujillo. But sadly, that's not the way it is. The United States for thirty-one brutal years supported "our son-of-a-bitch" in the Dominican Republic, not the Mirabal sisters. And not the little girl in Mobutu's Zaire who covered her face with her hands in shame just before she died of starvation. And not the little girl and 76 other innocents on Cubana Flight 455.
The U. S democracy is the greatest form of government ever devised by man or woman. Brutal dictatorships are the worst. It is my belief that the U. S. democracy should never have been involved -- past, present or future -- in installing and/or supporting brutal dictatorships to the benefit of an elitist few, and certainly should never have permitted the overthrown Batista dictatorship in Cuba to reconstitute itself on U. S. soil, with tentacles stretching powerfully to the halls of Congress and the White House, ensuring dictates to the entire country and, indeed, the world via such anti-democratic evils as the Helms-Burton Bill. Contrary to what right-wingers espouse, only cowards and idiots believe the lie that the prime pretext for U. S. support of dictators is America's national security. The prime pretext is to line the pockets of already rich Americans who could not partake in the robbery of democratically ruled foreign countries. For example, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA Director Allen Dulles supported dictators like Batista, Somoza, Trujillo, etc. Was it for national security reasons or was it because the Dulles brothers had strong financial interests in such companies as The United Fruit Company that were literally robbing Cuba, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean and Latin American nations blind thanks to "U. S. - friendly" dictators?
All of which reminds me anew that right-wing profiteers like my friend Sean Hannity and his ilk (Rob Sequin, Russ Limbaugh, Marco Rubio, etc.) beat their chests proclaiming themselves the world's greatest American patriots while sanctimoniously labeling true American patriots as "anti-American" or "pro-Commie" for pointing out the history of such things as the little girl on Cubana Flight 455, the little girl in Zaire hiding her face in shame as she died of starvation, the Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic, etc. etc., etc. Well, Sean, Rob, Russ, Marco...permit me to close with this.
I and my ilk are the true American patriots and, in a more honest and less pompous way, we salute the U. S. flag and its democracy every day, sometimes by pointing out things the proud and much-honored flag should not be associated with, such as the starvation of little girls in U. S. friendly dictatorships. Sure, we disagree with y'all when it comes to supporting vile Cuban exiles or the little girl on Cubana Flight 455, Mubuto or the little girl in Zaire ashamed to be photographed as she was starving to death, Trujillo or the Mirabal sisters in the Dominican Republic, etc., etc. And that disagreement will continue as long as the starvation or blowing up of little girls is beneficial to or satisfactory to self-anointed superiors and their sycophants.
And that's why I believe the Cuban Revolution says more about the United States than it says about Cuba, especially the reconstitution of the ousted Batista regime on U. S. soil.
And that's why I believe Cubana Flight 455 and its continuous aftermath says more about Miami than it says about Havana, especially from the aspect of terrorism.
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