Given that a majority in our King County Council ( wants to establish a sister county relationship in Cuba and is planning a visit there, I thought I would share this story about other gullible Seattle residents.
Pedro Celis
P.S. As far a I know Pete von Reichbauer ( is the only Republican councilmember that voted in favor of this.

Michelle Malkin

January 25, 2002

The charmer and the torturer

A gaggle of gullible women from Seattle flew to Havana last week to meet with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. They found him "charming" and "eloquent." They were especially flattered that Castro -- the head of one of the world's most repressive regimes, listed by the State Department as a sponsor of terrorism -- took time out of his busy schedule to lavish personal attention on them. "He obviously had read the biographies and knew who each person was," gushed Susan Jeffords, dean of social sciences at the University of Washington. "Charming," she said. Golly gee, Ms. Jeffords, is that because Castro's just such a people person? Or is it because he has had decades of practice memorizing the dossiers of countless political prisoners? Castro also reportedly spent two hours with Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and even chaperoned her to the airport in his Mercedes-Benz. You just can't beat communist hospitality.

Connie Niva, another member of the Washington state delegation, sounded like a teen-age groupie who had just returned from a Backstreet Boys concert. "It was an amazing trip," she bubbled to the Everett (Wash.) Herald this week. "You don't have any sense that this is a police state." Well, gosh, Ms. Niva, you wouldn't get that sense from dining on seafood, yukking it up with Castro for five hours, and hopping around Havana all week with government-approved chaperones, would you? Reciting straight from the dictator's propaganda primer, Niva told the Herald that Cubans "are in poverty, but they are very happy people."

These women should have stayed right here in the United States and talked to some of the "happy people" who escaped Castro's regime. They should have lunched with Eugenio de Sosa Chabau, who fled Cuba after two decades as a political prisoner. He could have told them about his 52-page complaint against Castro for crimes against humanity, which he filed with a group of nine Cuban exiles last fall under a Belgian war crimes law. He could have told them about his torture at the hands of Castro's Cuban Security Services in a Havana psychiatric hospital. He could have told them how he was hooked up to wet electrical prods and "treated" with 14 sessions of shock therapy delivered to his temples and testicles.

But he can't tell them now. The 85-year-old de Sosa Chabau, whose torture was documented in a ground-breaking book about Cuba's psychiatric abuse of political dissidents, died earlier this month as the Washington women were giddily packing their Eddie Bauer bags for Castro's dog-and-pony show.

Before his death, de Sosa Chabau had been preparing to testify as a key witness in a federal trial against his torturer - Castro henchman Eriberto Mederos, known by Cuban exiles as the sadistic "El Enfermero" or "the nurse." In 1991, de Sosa Chabau spotted Mederos working at a nursing home facility where one of his relatives resided. Despite detailed media reports of Mederos' abuse, vocal protest from Florida's Cuban-American community, and dogged whistleblowing by former State Department official Richard Krieger, our immigration authorities rewarded Mederos with U.S. citizenship in the spring of 1993.

Krieger, who runs a watchdog humanitarian group called International Education Missions in Florida, spearheaded the drive to denaturalize Mederos. In September 2001, Mederos was arrested for illegally obtaining citizenship and will face trial in July 2002. Although de Sosa Chabau was the key witness against Mederos, more than a dozen other surviving victims have agreed to provide depositions and testimony. In the meantime, Mederos is out on $500,000 bail in Miami - and Castro has condemned the trial against Mederos as a trick by his enemies to discredit his "revolution."

The subject didn't come up when the Seattle women lunched with Castro earlier this month. Instead, Connie Niva praised the "good quality health care" Cubans receive and learned that Castro is more of a "merlot guy" than a champagne guy. "Terribly charming," Ms. Niva said of her host.

No. Just terrible.

Contact Michelle Malkin

©2002 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Well, if you got here you might be interested in the topic. So read this fragment from a National Review article from earlier this month.
(I cut out the parts on Afghanistan, Sharpton).

In Castro’s salon, Afghanistan’s pants shortage, the awful Al Sharpton, &c.

January 11, 2002 8:00 a.m.


Did you know that the Castro regime had an “attorney general” (that’s part of what totalitarian regimes do: ape American and democratic practices — sham elections, etc.)? It does. And that “attorney general,” Juan Escalona, had the following to say about the transfer of al Qaeda prisoners to the American base at Guantanamo: “It’s another provocation from the Americans. I hope 15 or 20 get out and kill them.”

I love it when Cuban officials talk that way — so much more honest than the propaganda ladled out to willing dupes. (Interesting question: Can there be willing dupes? Probably not. There are outright Castro apologists, then there are dupes.)

For years now, Yanqui entertainers, sports figures, and politicians have trooped down to Havana, to hug and be hugged by the dictator — even as his victims writhe and cry out and rot in unseen places. My fond hope is that one day there will be a general awakening, and that these Americans will be ashamed. But if it hasn’t happened by now, 43 years into the Castro nightmare, it probably never will.

After the publication of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, some people were embarrassed — but not all. After the publication of Armando Valladares’s Against All Hope, some people were embarrassed — but far from all. G. B. Shaw’s admirers are a little embarrassed over the great man’s love affair with the Bolsheviks. Charles Lindbergh’s admirers are a little embarrassed over his fondness for the Third Reich. Jane Fonda is a bit embarrassed, I believe, about her embrace of the beasts of Hanoi. The admirers of John Kenneth Galbraith? Are they a teeny bit embarrassed about his glee over Mao’s China? I doubt it.

Anyway, the Castro fools (or knaves) take the cake. The other day, a group of pols — including Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter — flew down to Havana for a big soirée with the dictator. They had in tow a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, Michael Smerconish, all wide-eyed and impressed. The column he produced is a classic in the genre of outrageous naïveté. It has given Cuban democracy and human-rights advocates heartache — but then, they’re used to heartache.

I single out Michael Smerconish and his column, not because they’re unusual — deserving of special opprobrium — but because they’re so typical, so representative.

You’ll be happy to know that “[Castro’s] laugh broke up the room.” “The conversation was spellbinding.” “Castro was vibrant, animated, courteous [courteous!], fully engaged, and unflinching in his views. He had an agenda and a message to deliver to us. But no subject was off-limits. He was the opposite of today’s sound-bite, blow-dried politicians.”

Oh, how it must comfort Castro’s prisoners to know that their persecutor keeps his hair natural!

(I reprint here — because the phenomenon is similar — the infamous words of Amb. Joseph Davies, about Joseph Stalin: “He gives the impression of a strong mind which is composed and wise. His brown eye is exceedingly kindly and gentle. A child would like to sit in his lap, and a dog would sidle up to him.”)

Castro was all for anti-terrorism, of course. Writes Smerconish, “Castro said the only difference he has with the Americans on terrorism is the best way to eradicate the problem, adding that it is important to ‘attack it from a moral and ethical point of view, not the bombing of innocent civilians.’”

I wonder if Smerconish knows that Cuba is one of only seven regimes on the State Department’s list of terror-sponsoring states, along with Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the other lovelies. I wonder if he cares.

One of the party had brought a little gift for Castro. Know what it was? A New York Fire Department hat. Castro duly put the hat on — a perfect propaganda opportunity for him, handed to him by these idiots — “and in front of cameras for the world to see, Castro for at least one moment looked no different from Rudy Giuliani.”

Arlen Specter did press him on holding elections: After 43 years, isn’t it time to have one? Castro parried, “You mean like you had in Florida?” Michael Smerconish seems to have taken this as a great touché moment.

In the course of this mighty meeting of the minds, the dictator said, “How do you define human rights? Is there any proof of torture in Cuba? We don’t have much money, but we will give you all that we have if you can prove anyone has been tortured here in the past 43 years. There are no missing people in Cuba.”

In the face of such lies and such evil, all one can do is . . . well, I’m not sure.

Look, this Philadelphia guy is probably not a bad man. He’s probably just a fool, a know-nothing, someone who thought it would be cool to meet someone famous (although he is a journalist, and they’ve given him a column). Yet his kind of gullibility has helped Castro remain in power for over four decades. The great moral revulsion in America against Castro will never come; any revulsion, at least on the part of our elites, is directed at the exile community in Florida.

I have been told a million times, “no one cares about Cuba.” Indeed, I titled my piece for NR on this subject “Who Cares About Cuba?” (June 11, 2000). The other day, I received the following charming letter: “I’ll save you some time: Cuba doesn’t matter. Cuba is a dead letter. Nobody gives a sh** about Cuba. Nobody is going to give a sh** about Cuba.”

Yes, but a few of us do — not least the Cubans. “Who cares about the Jews?” “Who cares about the Cubans?” Who cares about anybody who is having his face kicked in by the boot of tyranny? The least we can do, it seems, is not give aid and comfort to the tyrant, and not cover for him. I’ve quoted it a hundred times, and will no doubt quote it a hundred more. It comes from Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who knows a thing or two about Cuban reality (and about the principles of freedom — as suggested by that first name): “For the life of me, I just don’t know how Castro can seem cute after forty years of torturing people.”

Well, for the life of me I can't see how our King County council can justify a sister county relationship in Cuba.
It must be because it would be a wonderful trading partner. Read on


Don Feder

December 23, 2001

As a trading partner, Castro bombs

On a solidarity trip to Cuba last week, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams urged America to end its trade embargo on the island. To do so would be a retreat in the war on terrorism.

Adams, whose party is allied with the Irish Republican Army, called for a "dialogue between the people of Cuba and the people of the U.S.A.," as if the Cuban people have anything to do with their government -- other than being beaten, starved and repressed by it.

Castro and the IRA have been partners in crime going back to the days when the latter was planting bombs in Ulster. Now, at Cuba's behest, the IRA is sharing its expertise.

In August, the Colombian military arrested three IRA explosives experts who were training the nation's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) in remote detonation of car bombs. Adams has admitted one of them, Niall Connolly, represented Sinn Fein in Havana, while denying that Connolly was involved with Colombian terrorists.

Coinciding with Adams trip, the first food shipment from America in nearly 40 years arrived in Cuba. Last year, Congress modified the embargo to authorize the sale of food and medicine to the Stalinist basket case -- for cash only.

Although the proud tyrant swore he'd never accept trade on this basis (he wants sales on credit), Castro decided to buy $30 million of meat and grain to make up for the losses of Hurricane Michelle and, he hopes, to weaken the embargo and travel ban. He dreams of American tourists flocking to the island, bringing precious dollars to float his shipwrecked economy.

Although U.S. agribusiness continues to lobby for a total end to the embargo, anything that bolsters Castro's regime compromises our national security.

Castro has nothing we want and nothing to pay for what he wants from us. Thanks to the diligent application of Marxist economic principles, his nation is hopelessly insolvent. Cuba owes foreign creditors $12 billion. Each year, it struggles to borrow enough to service part of the debt -- so it can borrow more.

But Fidel has money to spare for Third World revolution. Despite the passage of time, his hatred for America is undiminished. At a ceremony commemorating the 1981 IRA hunger strike, with Adams looking on, a Cuban official charged that U.S. operations in Afghanistan were "a calculated massacre of civilians."

This spring, Cuba's president for life took a Middle East thug tour, including stops in Libya, Syria and Iran. On May 10, Castro told students at Tehran University, "Together we will bring America to its knees."

Cuba is one of seven countries on the State Department's list of terrorism sponsors. Castro has worked hard to earn that distinction.

According to Colombian intelligence sources, the FARC has at least 20 Cuban military advisors. There are reports that prior to Sept. 11, Mohammed Atta (who coordinated the World Trade Center attacks) met with Cuban agents in the United States.

Castro maintains an extensive spy network in here, which apparently included Ana Montes, a senior analyst in the Defense Intelligence Agency, arrested by the FBI on Sept. 21.

The Cuban spy ring broken up in Florida over the past three years gathered information on U.S. military bases, airport security and postal operations -- intelligence that was probably shared with Fidel's friends from Tripoli to Kandahar.

Castro's interest in our mail is particularly ominous. According to Jose de la Fuente, a top Cuban scientist who defected in 1999, labs on the island know how to manufacture anthrax bacteria and the smallpox virus.

Earlier this month, the 10th. meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum convened in Havana. Billed as a major gathering of leftist politicians, leftists with guns and bombs also were present, including representatives of the Peruvian Shining Path and Tupac Amaru, and at least a dozen other Latin equivalents of al Qaeda, as well as Saddam Hussein's Baathist Party. Osama bin Landen could not attend, due to a prior engagement.

Besides supporting oppression of the Cuban people, unrestricted U.S. trade -- and the tourist dollars to follow -- would be invested in America's destruction. As U.S. forces clean out the Tora Bora caves, we would be nuts to subsidize a branch office of the terrorist international 90 miles from our shores.

Contact Don Feder

©2001 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Sorry this was so long. If you were unsure about what message to communicate to your King County Council member representative about the Cuba sister-county relationship I thought this might help to make up your mind.

Pedro Celis, Ph. D.
Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Washington State Chairman