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Posted August 15, 2005 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Interview with Author Humberto Fontova by Ryan Mauro

Humberto Fontova was born in Havana, Cuba in 1954, arrived with his family in New Orleans in 1961 while his father was held as a political prisoner. He is the author of “The Helldiver’s Rodeo” (chosen by the Publisher’s Weekly as their Book of the Week in August 2001), “The Hellpig Hunt”, and “Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.” Mr. Fontova has a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies. Before becoming a writer, Fontova was a business analyst for ten years for Dun & Bradstreet. He is currently a columnist for Newsmax.com.

RM: Humberto, how has the situation with Fidel Castro changed over the past decade or so?

HF: The better for Castro and his toadies—the worse for Cuba. He just signed on with two new sugar-daddies, Venezuela and China. Chavez’ subsidies to Cuba totaled $1.3 billion last year in free oil. It amounts to 80,000 barrels daily now. Not all is refined in Cuba, which doesn’t have the capacity for refining that amount of crude oil. Castro’s gov. actually RESELLS some of this crude, mostly in South & Central America for hard cash. Castro’s honorarium to his chum Chavez comes in the form of military and security “advisors.” Mainstream media calls these “doctors and teachers.” China just “re-scheduled” (probably forgave) the billions in debt Castro owned them from the 90’s and signed several deals to extract Nickel from Cuba. (Cuba’s Nickel rich) I need not tell you what type of production Nickel is essential for. Apparently China wants it badly. Just last month Castro gave a speech where he crowed gleefully about his regime’s new lease on life. “Cuba is rising from the ashes like a Phoenix!” he gushed. “We don’t need the U.S. ! We don’t need Europe!”

Sadly, nowadays he’s right.

RM: Cuba appears isolated and weak. Why should the United States pay any attention to the rogue state?

HF: “Isolated and weak?” Please see above. Also, Iran just extended him millions in credit. He’s still the toast and acclaim of the Third World, as evidenced by his tumultuous reception at the anti-Globalization Conference in Havana recently. Now he’s in Uruguay, again showered with accolades. Anti-Americanism does that some people—idiots and scoundrels mainly.

RM: Is there any evidence that Cuba is any sort of WMD or terrorist threat?

HF: John Bolton, Ken Alibek, Manuel Cereijo, Carlos Wotzkow all suspect he has WMD. And we all know that when he definitely had them in oct 1962, he brought the world to the very precipice of nuclear armageddon. Fortunately the Butcher of Budapest snatched his toys in the nick of time. Weapons by themselves don’t worry me. It’s the people who have them in their reach that should worry us. As the NRA (I’m a member) says. “WMDs don’t kill people—people kill people.” And the people still in control in Cuba have shown time and again that, given the right circumstances, they’ll use them. “If the missiles had stayed” Che Guevara told the London Daily Worker in Nov. 1962. “We would have used them against the very heart of the U.S. including New York.” In Angola Castro’s forces repeatedly used Sarin gas against UNITA.

RM: How likely is it that democracy will emerge in Cuba once Fidel Castro dies?

HF: Very unlikely. Raul will simply become de-jure ruler of Cuba, instead of just de-facto as he is today. Raul runs Cuba’s military who own and run Cuba’s tourist and export industries. Some say he’s been really running Cuba for the past ten years, with Fidel as figurehead loudmouth. Raul will probably open the economy a bit, like China in the early 80’s. and keep the clamps on politically So genuine democracy? Forget it.

RM: What can the United States do to promote freedom in Cuba that is not being done?

HF: Not much. except tighten the embargo, so-called. The U.S was Cuba’s sixth biggest trading partner last year. Out of 228 nations, Cuba is the U.S.’ 25th biggest trading partner. In 1957 when it was billed a “playground” for American tourists, Cuba hosted 278,000 American tourists (incidently, a higher number of Cubans actually vacationed in the U.S. that year. We had a playground too) Last year, 220,000 Americans Cubans traveld to Cuba, not to mention 2 million Europeans and Canadians. All these proceeds land strainght in the pockets of Cuba’s military—the guys with the guns. “Lifting the travel ban would be a great gift to Fidel and Raul” said recent Cuban defector Alcibiades Hidalgo, who was Raul Castro’s Chief of Staff. He should know.

RM: In your last Newsmax.com article, you wrote about an alliance between Iran and Cuba. What does it matter if Cuba teams up with Iran, considering Cuba apparently has little or no nuclear technology to offer?

HF: The Nuclear technology going in the opposite direction. Cuba built Iran a bio-tec plant. Iran might reciprocate with favors. Last year Cuba blocked radio-free- Iran broadcasts from the U.S. using devices in it’s Bejucal facility—technology Cuba acquired from China.

RM: How come the scene in Cuba appears to have been so quiet over the past 50 years?

HF: “Appears” is the key word here. And it’s because Castro is a master worldwide media manipulator. One of the most ferocious civil wars fought in this hemisphere was actually fought by Cuban freedom-fighters against Fidel’s army and it’s Soviet advisors. The war lasted from 1959-1966. Raul Castro himself said his army was up against 179 “counterrevolutionary bands.” La Guerra Olvidada’“my friend Enrique Encinosa calls it in his book by the same name. Alas, as always, these anti-Communist freedom-fighters fought alone. The Kennedy-Krushcev swindle pulled the rug out from under them. They were slaughtered, much like the Hungarians earlier. No “dauntless crusaders for the truth” (as Columbia journalism schools labels its graduates,) were around to report on THIS war, none to “embed” themselves, etc.—as they had in droves when Castro’s “guerrillas”(petty crooks, bored adolescents and winos playing army on week-ends) were in the hills and “fighting” (mostly bribing) Batista’s forces. See: http://newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/2/14/174602.shtml

RM: Why does such a large portion of Hollywood defend Castro?

HF: He personifies Anti-Americanism. He’s been it’s symbol for half a century. Naturally none of those Hollywood idiots realize that Castro was actually put in power by the U.S. (according to Earl Smith U.S. Ambassador to Cuba at the time, the CIA was the most Fidelista of all the U.S. agencies at the time!, closely followed by the State Dept.!) and the U.S. has been protecting Castro against exile attacks since the Kennedy-Krushcev swindle. The “gallant underdog” Castro has actually survived lo these many decades by hiding behind the skirts of the two most powerful nations in human history. Call him a shrewd diplomat for sure, but cut the “David vs Goliath” bit, please. More importantly, Fidel, Raul Che, Camilo and co. were the first hippies—beatniks actually. They burst upon the cultural scene at just the right moment. The “beat generation” was just getting on it’s legs. Allen Ginsberg actually spoke at Harvard right before Castro in April 1959. Castro and co. were the first long-hairs, etc. The image stuck despite the most appalling evidence to the contrary. See: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2004/5/18/145038.shtml

RM: Why should we care about Hollywood’s ideologies? Is there any evidence its emboldening our enemies or affecting American policy negatively?

HF: Consider how many Americans get their news from Entertainment tonight. It’s hilarious in a sour sort of way—but scary too.

RM: In terms of anti-Americanism and radical liberalism in Hollywood, are things getting worse or more balanced?

HF: I say worse. It’s a cultural thing—a matter of being “cool.” And let’s face it, according to the last elections, 49 per cent of Americans buy—at least a version—of the Hollywood party-line. I for one, was NOT gratified by these last election results. To me it seemed a pretty hollow victory, a pretty close run thing.
Ryan Mauro is a geopolitical analyst. He began working for Tactical Defense Concepts (http://www.tdconcepts.com), a maritime-associated security company in 2002. In 2003, Mr. Mauro joined the Northeast Intelligence Network (http://www.homelandsecurityus.com), which specializes in tracking and assessing terrorist threats. He has appeared on over 20 radio shows and had articles published in over a dozen publications. 

  1. Follow up post #1 added on August 15, 2005 by I-taoist with 213 total posts

    Mr. Fontova, of course, has his right of opinion concerning the state of Cuba and the effect of loosening the embargo and travel restrictions.  And, of course, he is right about the left’ infatuation with Castro.  What he fails to address, and what the interviewer fails to ask, of course, is his opinion on the effect of our embargo and hostility on the minds and hearts of average Cubans.  Here in lies the crux of the dilemma.  Castro stays in power largely by the role he can play as the David combating our Goliath, and he is given an “out” as to the daily suffering of Cubans, blaming it on our restrictions in trade.  He lives in the best of both worlds, lionized by anti-American sentiment around the world while escaping the blame for the miserable system he has created on the island.  A presidential statement allowing him to buy anything from us he likes in the way of consumer goods would knock out the props holding up the rusty creaky dinosauer that is the Cuban state today.  Too bad we do not have an administration with enough subtlety of thought to recognize this high probability. 

  2. Follow up post #2 added on August 15, 2005 by redwood with 18 total posts

    well, since we’re all reading tea leaves here: 1) “A presidential statement allowing him to buy anything from us he likes in the way of consumer goods would knock out the props holding up the rusty creaky dinosauer that is the Cuban state today.” or 2) “Lifting the travel ban would be a great gift to Fidel and Raul” said recent Cuban defector Alcibiades Hidalgo, who was Raul Castro’ Chief of Staff. He should know.”

    I’m inclined to agree with Alcidiades Hidalgo.  If the US lifts the embargo, then Castros win, and it’ anybody’ guess how the Cuban people will react to that triumph.  So, what the US ought to do is make lifting the embargo conditional on their being a legitimate government in Cuba, i.e. one that governs by the consent of the people.  Indeed, the USG should put its whole policy on the table, CA Adjustment Act, Helms-Burton, etc.  Tell the world that we’ll settle the claims etc. with a legitimate government.  Just prove it.

  3. Follow up post #3 added on August 16, 2005 by I-taoist with 213 total posts

    In this chessgame of madmen there are no winners, only losers.  For it is the average Cubanos who have to live like paupers.  Neurotic egos have a way of thinking only in terms of winning and losing.  Meanwhile, the suffering they help to create goes on and on.  When all the world, including most of the independent dissenters on the island condemn our current policies toward Cuba, you would think it would give us some pause. They say insanity is following the same failed path with increased vigor - in hopes of a different outcome.  Helping to starve a people so they will ultimately embrace you sounds insane to me. 

  4. Follow up post #4 added on August 16, 2005 by bernie with 199 total posts

    Lifting the travel ban and embargo would be a bigger
    GIFT to the AMERICAN PEOPLE getting some of their lost
    freedoms BACK.  AMERICAN PEOPLE would then be the
    biggest winner.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on August 16, 2005 by bernie with 199 total posts

    Lifting the travel and embargo would would be a
    bigger gift to the American people GETTING some
    of their freedom back.  American people would
    then be the biggest winner.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on August 19, 2005 by GregoryHavana with 196 total posts

    Under what slimy rocks do these people like Frontova live? Moreover, its amazing that people hanker on and on about the “miserable system” that Castro has created, the “rusty creaky dinosaur that is the Cuban State”. I actually live in Cuba and have travelled Latin America. Cuba is the ONLY country in Latin America that can proudly say it does not have street kids, rampant homelessness, and abject misery (which is very different from poverty, which Cuba does have). The United Nations and the World Bank have recognized Cuba’ outstanding performance in social development compared to the capitalist wonders of Latin America. Hey people, this must mean something!?! By the way, I am proud to say that my father-in-law and mother-in-law both work as Cuban doctors in the slums of Venezuela. Frontova’ claim that the Cubans working to improve people’ lives in Venezuela are actually nefarious “military and security advisors” would be laughable if it were not for the fact that some obtuse people (especially in the USA) actually believe these assertions. Cuba is not a perfect society, and there is plenty to criticize (beleive me, I know Havana food lineups only too well), but I can’t understand this consensus in the US that Fidel’ system needs to be removed and the debate is simply on how to do that. Maybe his system, with a degree of reforms, would be much better than what we have in the rest of the hemisphere?

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