“There comes a time when silence is betrayal,” (Martin Luther King Jr.)
Qualifier: It’s one thing to simply ignore the Venezuelan repression. After all, most normal people have lives (family, friends, football, hunting, fishing, music, cooking, feasting etc.) outside politics, especially international politics–and especially politics in one of those third-world pestholes always in bloody political turmoil for some reason or other. “F**k em! Who cares?! The game’s on in fifteen minutes. And gotta pick up the kids at soccer practice.” strikes me as a perfectly normal reaction by decent and well-adjusted people to Venezuela right now.
But it’s quite another thing to have a history of going out of your way to promote the Stalinists responsible for the Venezuelan repression. Hence my article:
“But these are Communist police and National Guardsmen doing the beating, gassing and shooting, you see. Hence the silence. Worse still, these Venezuelan storm-troopers are “practiced at the art of repression” thanks to hands-on training by the best in the business: Castro’s police.
There is no place in the media-celebrity narrative on Latin American police repression for this sort of thing. Pinochet? Somoza? Batista?—sure! These Latin American dictators thrived on repressing young hipsters. But they were all “right-wingers.” So it was only natural. A good word regarding any of those regimes by a rocker celebrity would have lead to instant and permanent blacklisting.
On the other hand, a good word regarding the Castro regime serves almost as password into the uppermost reaches of celebrity-rocker status, especially it’s “thinking” echelons (as such things are measured among rockers.)
The notion of Castro’s Cuba as stiflingly Stalinist nation never quite caught on among ‘the enlightened.” Instead the island often inspires hazy visions of a vast commune, rock-fest or Occupy site, studded with free health clinics and with Wavy Gravy handing out love-beads at the entrance. The regime was founded by beatniks, after all. In 1960 Jean Paul Sartre hailed Cuba’s Stalinist rulers as “les Enfants au Pouvoir” (the children in power). A few months earlier Fidel Castro spoke at Harvard the same bill as beat poet Allen Ginsberg. And ever since then, long-haired Che Guevara has reigned worldwide as top icon of youthful rebellion.
“They saw in him (Fidel Castro,)” writes Camelot court scribe Arthur Schlesinger Jr. “the hipster who in the era of the Organization Man had joyfully defied the system.”
In fact the brain-shackled robot Fidel Castro and Che Guevara tried to create with their firing squads, forced labor camps and Stalinist indoctrination makes the Eisenhower era’s “Organization Man” look like a combination of Jimmy Hendrix and Jack Kerouac.
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