Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cuba at a Crossroad

And Still in the Crosshairs!
{Sunday, February 12, 2017}
      This photo, courtesy of Tracey Eaton, shows a poster promoting this week's seminar at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. The topical topic was "Cuba At The Crossroads. It was also historical because Cuba has been at a crossroads and in a whole lot of crosshairs ever since 1492 when the gorgeous Caribbean island was discovered by Columbus, who actually didn't do it any favors when he wrote in his diary that it was the "most beautiful sight I've ever seen." Cuba's beauty combined with its strategic location has kept it in the crosshairs of every imperialist power from 1492 till 2017, especially Spain and, after the 1898 Spanish-American War, the United States. So, Cuba at the "Crossroads" didn't exactly occur overnight.
        From 1898 till 1959 Cuba was dominated by imperialist-minded America, which made its biggest undemocratic mistake when right-wing thugs in the Eisenhower administration in 1952 teamed the United States with the Mafia to support the brutal, thieving Batista dictatorship. The Batista-Mafia regime rewarded the financial and military support of the U. S. government by allowing rich American businessmen to partake in the rape and robbery of the supposedly helpless island. But during the first year of its murderous, thieving reign, the excesses of the Batistianos and Mafiosi included the murders of Cuban children, apparently to quell resistance from the till-then subdued Cuban people. Instead of quelling dissent, the murders of Cuban children was the last-straw for Cuban mothers, who took to the streets to bravely protest, demonstrations aptly reported by New York Times journalist Herbert L. Matthews but ignored by the U. S. public and by the politicians in Washington. But the protests inspired a young Cuban lawyer named Fidel Castro who kicked off a revolution on July 26th of 1953 by leading an ill-fated but hugely significant attack on Batista's Moncada Army Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. As John Harrigan in his book "Crosshairs on Castro" explained, from July 26-1953 till he died at age 90 on Nov. 25-2016 Fidel Castro was in the "crosshairs" of some of the world's best assassins -- the Batistianos, the Mafiosi, the CIA, and the U. S. military. Today The Guinness Book of World Records documents 638 assassination attempts against Fidel Castro, truly a WORLD RECORD. But on Jan.1-1959 his Cuban Revolution chased the Batistianos, Mafiosi and U. S. businessmen off the island where, in both short and eternal order, they regrouped for the everlasting purpose of recapturing the luscious island...a process that extends to this very day in 2017.
         Indeed, the biggest mistake Batista and the Mafia, and their supporters in the United States, ever made on the island of Cuba is reflected by an historic array of black-and-white photos such as the one above. Cuban mothers -- "madres" -- marching in the streets to protest the murders -- "asesinatos" -- of their precious children -- "hijos" -- spawned the man topically and historically known as Fidel Castro, which in turn gave birth to the Cuban Revolution, which -- in essence -- to this day says more about the United States than it says about Cuba because the U. S., not the beautiful Caribbean's largest island, is the world Superpower and within its otherwise universally admired democracy there remains a cancerous sub-government of Batistiano remnants best described as The Castro Cottage Industry that, while not yet recapturing Cuba, has wedged itself indelibly and deeply into the fabric of the United States democracy.
And that returns us to the "Crossroads."
And to that seminar THIS WEEK at Rollins College.
But guess what!!
      The Cuban Conundrum this week has landed Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen in its CROSSHAIRS I kid you not! As you can tell by the slogan on his red hat, Tom Brady is a huge fan of U. S. President Donald Trump, which drives the mainstream U. S. media totally nuts because the mainstream U. S. media fiercely hates President Trump AND Tom Brady is America's #1 hero after winning his fifth Super Bowl. His wife -- the world's #1 Supermodel Gisele Bundchen -- is driving America's counter-revolutionary Batistianos nuts because she is a fan of Che Guevara, the Cuban Revolution's second most famed icon behind only Fidel Castro. Now as you try to wrap your brain around all that, please permit me to explain.
       This week several of the most vicious and popular Counter-Revolutionary Cuban websites are beside themselves raving about Tom Brady's wife Gisele Bundchen being lumped in with other well-known celebrities -- such as Robert Redford and Madonna -- as alleged "Superfans" of Che Guevara. Study the montage above, starting with the famed Alberto Korda image of Che that still adorns billions of coffee cups, T-shirts, posters, etc. Then note Gisele Bundchen the Supermodel on a high-profile catwalk wearing only a Che Guevara bikini. The other photos tie Redford and Madonna into the Che fandom pantheon.
      But the counter-revolutionary websites -- severely irked about the Super Bowl spotlight cast on Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen -- also assail other renowned Che Guevara fans, such as the ultra-wealthy Superstar Jay-Z shown here proudly wearing his Che T-shirt. Jay-Z, of course, has taken his wife Beyonce to Cuba where Che's remains are buried.
       In Cuba today there are many statues of Che Guevara, with the one above being a major tourist attraction. After graduating from medical school in his native Argentina, Che took a famous motorcycle ride down through Latin America, noticing what he judged to be U. S. businesses such as the infamous United Fruit Company enslaving and robbing those countries. It was in Mexico City where Che first met Raul and Fidel Castro in 1956. Fidel told Che that U. S. businesses such as the United Fruit Company were also enclaving and robbing Cuba and that, Fidel said, was why he, Raul and 79 other rebels were heading back to Cuba to join the anti-Batista revolution being led in the Sierra Maestra mountains and foothills by the doctor's daughter Celia Sanchez. In that manner, Che became the 80th rebel to join the Castro brothers on their trek to Cuba from Mexico to rendezvous with Celia Sanchez's guerrilla army. Interestingly enough, while he later insisted on numerous statues of Celia Sanchez and Che Guevara, prior to his death at age 90 on November 25th, 2016, Fidel Castro ordered that no statues of himself would ever be erected in Cuba.
       While the famed image from the Alberto Korda photo of Che Guevara adorns billions of edifices today, the most famous image is the one above that looks down on Revolutionary Square in Havana, Cuba.
This is a statue of Che Guevara holding a Cuban child.
        Che Guevara was captured and executed in Bolivia on October 9th, 1967. The final order to kill him was issued by Cuban-American CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, famed for his connections to the Bush dynasty and today, at age 75, a famed and well-heeled hero in Miami, Florida. Rodriguez instructed a Bolivian soldier not to shoot Che in the face so he was shot nine times in his lower body. Shortly after the above photo of the deceased Che was taken, his hands were cut off so it would be hard to identify his body if his arcane gravesite was ever discovered. Years later, after meticulous research that included Che's primary biographer Jon Lee Anderson, the gravesite was finally discovered and after DNA tests proved it was indeed Che, his remains were flown to Cuba amid considerable fanfare and celebrations.
Felix Rodriguez right after Che Guevara's capture.
       Felix Rodriguez and Luis Posada Carriles were among the most fervent anti-Castro Cubans who quickly became counter-revolutionary anti-Castro operatives for the United States government right after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959. At the time the United States had the then secretive Army of the Americas at Fort Benning in Georgia where it and the unwitting U. S. taxpayers trained soldiers from U.S.-friendly dictatorships such as Batista's in Cuba, Trujillo's in the Dominican Republic, Somoza's in Nicaragua, etc. Then those soldiers would be sent back to protect those dictatorships. In 1959 with immediate plans to recapture Cuba already in the works, the U. S. trained Cubans at Fort Benning to prepare for the April-1961 Brigade 2506 attack at the Bay of Pigs. On the left above in his 2nd Lt. uniform is Felix Rodriguez and on the right similarly attired is 2nd Lt. Luis Posada Carriles, easily the most famed anti-Castro Cuban-American and CIA terrorist. Today both Rodriguez and Posada are heralded Miami citizens.
       Felix Rodriguez is shown above on the right visiting with George H. W. Bush, the former CIA Director, Vice President and President. Rodriguez and almost all of the most-famed anti-Castro Cuban-Americans, including those elected to Congress, had and/or have extremely close relations with the Bush dynasty.
Felix Rodriguez was born in Havana on May 31, 1941.
      Fidel Rodriguez is shown above with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Havana-born anti-Castro zealot who has represented Miami in the U. S. Congress ever since 1989 when Jeb Bush was her Campaign Manager.
         Felix Rodriguez is shown above campaigning with Marco Rubio, who is the presidential hopeful now in his second 6-year term in the United States Senate as one of the six most ardent congressional Cuban-American hardliners. Marco Rubio was mentored in Florida by both Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Jeb Bush.
And Guess What?
       I love to watch old movies and I love to read memoirs and biographies. My favorite actress is Maureen O'Hara. She was born in Ireland in 1920 and died at age 95 in 2015 at her grandson's home in Boise, Idaho. In 2004 she wrote "'Tis Myself" and it very beautifully chronicles her amazing life AS A HOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR. I just finished it and, I swear, I never expected her to write a single word about CUBA. But, to my surprise, she educated me about CUBA, THE CIA, FIDEL CASTRO AND PARTICULARLY CHE GUEVARA!! 
         After two horrible marriages and a fling with Mexican millionaire Enrique Parra, Maureen O'Hara on March 2nd, 1968 married Charles F. Blair who was 11 years older than the then 48-year-old Maureen but he turned out to be the love of her life. They are shown above when he was a pilot for Pan Am but he was already a world-famed, record-holding pilot for the Air Force and had been honored as a Brigadier General with rare tributes and medals by President Harry Truman. After leaving Pan Am and marrying Maureen, Blair started his own airline with 14 seaplanes based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He and Maureen had a home on St. Croix island and she helped him run the airline as well as a popular Caribbean magazine that she published, far away from her fame as a Hollywood superstar, just as Charlie wanted. Maureen, madly in love with Charlie, wondered why all of his pilots were military men. Then she found papers that proved his superb seaplanes were provided by the CIA and she surmised that the CIA created the airline in the Caribbean to spy on Fidel Castro's Cuba, the same CIA that had, for years, been aligned with Mafia figures and Cuban exiles in fervent attempts to assassinate Fidel. As the head of the successful airline and often as a pilot himself, Charlie in 1978 was flying one of his Grumman Goose seaplanes between St. Croix and St. Thomas when an engine blew and he was killed. Maureen, who had been married to Charlie for almost 11 years, began getting strange calls asking such things as, "Who assassinated Charlie?" Already aware of his CIA connections, she began to wonder...did Charlie know too much about something? She discovered that the engine that blew had just been reworked in Puerto Rico and she learned that the pilot who was to take the ill-fated flight backed out at the last minute, forcing Charlie to fly it and its ten passengers. She would wonder the rest of her long life if indeed he had been assassinated at age 69 by...somebody. When Maureen O'Hara died at age 95 in 2015, she was buried beside Charlie at Arlington National Cemetery in northern Virginia.
               But hey!! Long before she married Charlie Blair in 1968, Maureen O'Hara had intimate knowledge of Havana, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. In April of 1959 -- a mere three months after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution -- she went to Cuba to co-star with Alex Guinness in "Our Man in Havana." The photo above shows Maureen in a scene from that movie, which is still on cable movie channels. She was 38-years-old and had been a Hollywood superstar since the great British actor Charles Laughton brought the 18-year-old, red-headed, green-eyed beauty from Ireland in 1939 to the U. S. to co-star with him in the classic movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." In April of 1959 when Maureen arrived in Havana, Fidel Castro and his revolutionary soulmate Celia Sanchez were in the U. S. on a 12-day mission trying to make friends with the Eisenhower administration. But Vice-President Richard Nixon and other Washington thugs scuttled those sincere efforts and thus Fidel and Celia returned to Cuba in a defensive mode, with Celia famously declaring, "The Batistianos will never regain control of Cuba as long as I live or as long as Fidel lives." Celia Sanchez well knew that the transplanted Batistianos in the United States were still powerfully supported by the superpower United States government, but history proves she lived up to her vow. Meanwhile, while filming "Our Man in Havana" beginning in April of 1959 Hollywood superstar Maureen O'Hara got to know Fidel and Che real well...intimately, some say. {Yes, you need to read Maureen's book}.
    But rumors aside, there is ample photographic and other historic documentation that Maureen O'Hara and most of Hollywood's elite, both male and female, were utterly fascinated and/or infatuated with the internationally famed rebel hero Fidel Castro. Also, it is well known that Fidel himself had a special fascination...some say fetish...with redheads -- including Hollywood superstars such as Maureen O'Hara, Rita Hayworth, etc., as well as Dalia Soto Del Valle, his wife from 1980 till the day he died on Nov. 25, 2016.
     A plethora of photos like this seem to indicate that Fidel Castro's infatuation with Maureen O'Hara, and her infatuation with him, was rather well known in Havana and in Hollywood beginning in 1959. Yet, I accept Maureen's explanation when she firmly stated that she was only intrigued with the guerrilla legend who had just led a supposedly over-matched band of rebels to victory over the combined might of a powerful dictator who was supported by the Mafia, the strongest criminal organization in the world, and by the United States, the world's strongest superpower. BUT GUESS WHAT? In her book Maureen O'Hara makes no denial of her infatuation with and love of CHE GUEVARA, which ties in tightly with the themes of this essay -- CROSS-ROADS, CROSS-HAIRS, and Tom Brady's wife Gisele Bundchen's infatuation with CHE GUEVARA that has the U. S. counter-revolutionary bloggers upset in this second week of February, 2017. 
         In her book, Maureen O'Hara revealed that she had many conversations with Che Guevara and was fascinated by, among other things, his intelligence. Fellow rebels like Celia Sanchez said Che in campsites at night would entertain them by reciting, word for word, some of the world's most famous and longest poems. One night when he startled Maureen by recounting even arcane aspects of Ireland's history and its battles, he explained that his name was Che Guevara Lynch and that his grandmother was Irish like Maureen. But beyond her fascination about Che's ties to Ireland, Maureen O'Hara makes it quite plain in her book that she was both infatuated with and in love with the strikingly handsome, charismatic, and awesomely intelligent Che Guevara, the Argentine doctor whose fame related to the Cuban Revolution is second only to Fidel Castro's. On pages 209 and 210 of her book, Maureen O'Hara wrote these words: 
                   "I had met Ernesto 'Che' Guevara very soon after arriving in Cuba. How could I not meet Che? He was one of the great heroes of Latin America. Che was often at the Capri Hotel. I would see him in the restaurant and he'd come to my table to say hello and eventually would sit down and join me. Che could talk about Ireland and all the guerrilla warfare that had taken place there. He knew every battle in Ireland and all of its history. Che knew more about Ireland than John Ford did. I couldn't believe and finally asked, 'Che, you know so much about Ireland and talk constantly about it. How do you know so much?' The Argentine mercenary and former doctor surprised me with his answer. He said, 'Well, my grandmother's name was Lynch and I learned everything I know about Ireland at her knee.' He was Che Guevara Lynch! That famous cap he wore was an Irish rebel's cap.
                      "I spent a great deal of time with Che Guevara while I was in Havana. I believe he was far less a mercenary than he was a freedom fighter. I think he was a product of his grandmother and her teachings. I look back on how young and idealistic Che was when I made that picture. It's hard to believe he had already helped to topple a dictator and liberate a nation. Today he is a symbol for freedom fighters wherever they are in the world and I think he is a good one. When word came of his capture and execution, I was deeply saddened. I have no doubts he had no regrets as he faced his assassin and spoke his final words: 'I know you've come to kill me. Shoot. You are only going to kill a man.'" 
         Maureen O'Hara had memorized Che's last words on this earth, and she personally knew much more about him. She was not just fascinated and infatuated with him. I believe she was deeply in love with him.
          Believe me when I say I was fascinated by Maureen O'Hara's book, and not only because she's my all-time favorite actress. I honestly did not expect her to say a word about Cuba, the CIA, the Caribbean, Fidel Castro or Che Guevara. And most certainly, I was taken aback by her affection for Che, which she was totally unapologetic for even though by the time she wrote the book in 2004 she had lived for decades in the U. S. where the Cuban narrative since 1959 has largely been dictated by counter-revolutionary Che haters and supporters of Felix Rodriguez, Luis Posada Carriles, etc. But, you know, Tom Brady's unfathomable Super Bowl fame and his Supermodel wife's unabashed admiration of Che also caught my attention this week because of the scathing comments in the most high-polished anti-Cuban blogs.
       This is super Tom Brady's famed wife, Gisele Bundchen, wearing her Che Guevara bikini. If you look closely both above and below her navel, you will see that the bikini is festooned with dozens of images of her idol Che Guevara, Cuba's Revolutionary icon. It now begs the question...what does Gisele Bundchen and a billion other Che admirers know that the Cuban narrative in the U. S. doesn't want us to know?
          Or...consider my all-time favorite actress, Maureen O'Hara. She "spent a great deal of time with Che Guevara" and got to know him well...uh, intimately, some say. She probably knew him a lot better than Felix Rodriguez in Miami knows him to this day. So, who do you believe -- Maureen or Felix? {But please...don't ask me that question because, you see, my answer might not be politically correct or even...healthy.

Maureen O'Hara

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