The proverbial Man from Mars visits New York in February 1957, picks up the world’s most prestigious newspaper and on the front page reads that: “Fidel Castro is humanist, a man of many ideals including those of liberty, democracy and social justice, the need to restore Cuba’s constitution and to hold elections.” “You can be sure we hold no animosity towards the United States,” the NY Times reporter Herbert Matthews quotes Fidel Castro. “Above all we are fighting for a democratic Cuba and an end to dictatorship.”
The Martian visits again a generation later in 1996 only to find that this same Fidel Castro is visiting New York for the UN’s 50th anniversary celebration. “The Toast of Manhattan!” reads the Time Magazine headline covering the visit. “The Hottest Ticket in Manhattan!” reads the one by Newsweek. He reads on to learn that parties, luncheons and assorted celebrations rage in Fidel Castro’s honor Manhattan-wide, with millionaire pundits, businessmen and politicians spanning the American political spectrum clamoring for his autograph everyplace from the head offices of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to the Council of Foreign Relations.
In 1999 he picks up Time magazine again and finds Fidel Castro’s sidekick Che Guevara ranked among the “Heroes and Icons of the Century,” alongside Mother Teresa.
The Martian hurries back to the U.S. in 2011, turns on the TV to find former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, acclaimed as the “Elder Statesman” of America’s majority political party, hugging Fidel Castro on a visit to Havana while gushing that “We greeted each other as old friends.”
On this same visit the Martian picks up a Newsweek magazine which happens to be choosing “The Best Countries in the World.” “If you were born today, “asks America’s 2nd highest circulation weekly, “which country would provide you the very best opportunity to live a healthy, safe, reasonably prosperous, and upwardly mobile life?”
Intrigued the Martian turns the page. “Ah!” he nods. “Why of course!” Newsweek has crowned the citizens of Castro’s Cuba among the world’s luckiest people. “Quality of life,” was the magazine’s paramount issue in choosing Cuba among its “Best Countries in the World.” “In quality of life,” explained Newsweek. “Cuba outdoes its fellow middle-income countries.”
“ConYOOOO!” gasps the Martian. “That Herbert Matthews guy was exactly right! Se la COMIO!!!”
Tonight at 8 PM the Martian would have his knowledge gaps on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara filled.