One Herbert Matthews covered revolutionary Cuba for the New York Times.
Matthews was infatuated with Castro, as another Timesman Walter Duranty
became intoxicated with Leninist and Stalinist Russia. Thus,
generations of Americans were systematically misled about Communism and
what it did to societies that had other and more humane alternatives.
Look into the eyes of lefties from 1959 and beyond, and there is
still a dazzled myopia when Castro is mentioned. In the meantime, the
Cuban people have lived for fully half a century under terror and
deprivation while the dictatorship lumbered on with periodic outbursts
of systematic cruelty subsumed in an atmosphere of habitual fear.
You have only to look back to the painter Julian Schnabel's film Before Night Falls,
a searing tale of the real-life gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, to see
how relentlessly brutal was the Castro regime. (Yes, the same Schnabel
whose movie, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, is now the subject of conversation at many intelligent dinner tables.)
In any case, this little ramble is just a prologue to my calling your attention to a depressing but very persuasive article by Joe Contreras, "Island of Failed Promises," in Newsweek. I don't often cite Newsweek as a great source. But this piece just does it.
Many have given up hope: from October 2005 through September 2007, an estimated 77,000 Cubans fled to the United States, the biggest exodus since the Mariel boatlift of 1980, when 125,000 Cubans escaped to Florida in six months. "Young people are very fed up with the situation," says Julia N