Fidel Castro: The Maestro of Spin
You’ve got to hand it to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. He knows how to spin a story. By any reasonable standard of journalism, the focus of the Elian Gonzalez story should have been on the horrible conditions in communist Cuba that caused Elian’s mother and hundreds of thousands of others before her to try to flee Castro’s police state.
Instead, Castro has spun the story to depict the victims of communism who have settled in southern Florida as anti-commie, crazed radicals who care more for their anti-communist ideology than about reuniting the boy with his biological father.
That point, by the way, may be in doubt. It seems that Elian’s mother was pregnant with Elian at the time of their divorce. Elian, however, was born after the divorce. Even if Juan Miguel Gonzalez was the biological father, is he actually the legal father of this child?
Of course, it helps to have the help of the mainstream American media on your side. ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times have always been willing to cut a communist dictator such as Fidel a lot of slack but wouldn’t give a drop of their Chablis or a slice of their Brie to a right-wing dictator such as Augusto Pinochet.
You can bet if Pinochet were still in power (and thank goodness he is not) and the question was whether or not to return Elian to his father in Chile that the American mainstream media would join the cordon around the home of Elian’s Miami relatives and dare Janet Reno and her federal marshals to come take him.
Notice how when Juan Miguel Gonzalez goes on camera to state his case that he gets to do so without mainstream media commentary. They accept what he has to say without comment. No one wonders out loud if Fidel wrote his script? No one in the mainsteam media mentions Fidel’s secret policemen hovering in the wings.
But when little Elian is on home-made video saying not once, but three times, to his father that his father should come live in Miami and that Elian does not want to return to Cubs, the mainstream media is eager to suggest that Elian was coached into saying what he said.
None of the liberal pundits ask why Juan Miguel doesn’t accept the invitation of the Miami relatives to come to Miami and be with his son? Why? Because, even in their liberal heart-of-hearts they know the answer. Juan Miguel is being held hostage by Castro’s not-so-secret police in Maryland. Castro, who has Juan Miguel’s relatives under virtual house arrest in Cuba, is pretty sure Juan Miguel will not defect. But, even so, Castro is not about to let Juan Miguel enjoy the warm embrace of his relatives in Miami because there is always the chance Juan Miguel might defect.
The American liberal media establishment never sees any enemies of society on the Left. All threats to humankind come from the Right. That makes Fidel Castro merely a misguided agrarian reformer while the Pinochet’s of the world are blood-thirsty killers.
Of course, there is no excuse for the disappearance of thousands of Chileans when Pinochet was in power. But the existence of a Pinochet does not excuse the behavior of a Castro who doesn’t bother with “disappearances.” Castro has made a public show of his 40 years of executing, jailing or exiling hundreds of thousands whom he has deemed enemies of his communist state.
But Castro understands class warfare and the politics of economic envy. He understands that America is both feared and hated around the world. But as our military power has declined under Clinton, the fear has lessened and the hatred has increased. The fact that Castro has been able to play America like a fiddle over the Elian Gonzalez Case proves my point.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.