The Cuban dictator and American POW’S

Here’s another reason to stay the course with the embargo: To end it would desecrate not only the memories of all the Cubans who have died for a free Cuba, but also American serviceman who suffered at the hands of that inhuman tyrant.
Read this description of the “Cuban’ treatment given to an American POW’S in Viet Nam.

Leo Thorsness was already in captivity when a Cuban team came and stayed for a year. They taught the North Vietnamese how to extract information.
George Day had one of the first interrogators who spoke English. Day could barely understand him – but the brutality from him was loud and clear. The arm that had partly healed after ejection in 1967, was broken again.
“They had hung me up from the ceiling and paralyzed this [left] hand for about a year and a half. I could barely move my right hand. My wrist curled up and my fingers were curling. I could just barely move my [right] thumb and forefinger.”
“In some of the torture sessions, they were trying to make you surrender. The name of the game was to take as much brutality as you could until you got to the point that you could hardly control yourself and then surrender. The next day they’d start all over again.”
“I knew what he was – he was obviously Cuban and had either been raised at or near the U.S. Naval base at Guantanamo. He knew every piece of American slang and every bit of American vulgarity, and he knew how to use them perfectly. He knew Americans and understood Americans. He was the only one in Hanoi who did.
Thorsness was not among the eight tortured by the Cubans as Day was, but they systematically tortured another in the camp to death, Thorsness says.
In November 1967, 90 miles north of Bangkok, Captain Glen Cobeil and Major Dick Dutton briefed for their mission. They were to be the spare F-105 aircraft in the event a plane would have to abort. There would be four aircraft that would preceed the fighter-bombers. The Wild Weasel aircraft’s job was to seek out the guided missile sites, knock them out before they could launch the “flying telephone poles” (name given to enemy missiles).
The F-4 Phantoms provided MIG cover for the Weasels and the strike aircraft. As they made a wide sweeping turn, after releasing one of the bombs, the missile radar started working on them. A 37mm hit their tail and they were on fire. They were seven minutes from the Red River. They tried to nurse the stricken plane, but the time came when they knew they had to eject. They figured if they could hide until dark perhaps they could get across the Red River – that being friendly territory. However, they landed right in the middle of a populated area.
Quickly the peasants disrobed Dutton with no thought of unfastening buttons or zippers. They even cut his boots. With elbows tied behind his back, a loose blindfold over his eyes and a noose over his head, he was led barefooted down a rocky path. The civilians hit him with bamboo poles, rocks, dirt clods and fists. He had a gaping wound and one peasant woman stuffed it with a piece of cotton that had a mercurochrome like antiseptic on it. Loaded into a small truck, they bounced along and finally arrived at an empty church. Shortly thereafter Communist soldiers put unconscious Glen Cobeil in one truck and Dutton in another. They were taken to a Russian built helicopter and placed in the cargo section. Dutton’s ankles were tied to a floor hook. As they flew along Dutton’s blindfold was pulled up around his forehead and he saw an Oriental sitting on a packing crate holding a raised jack handle. Dutton thought he was going to smash his brains in. The Oriental shoved Dutton’s head around to look at Glen. There was no wound on him. They finally arrived at the Hanoi Hilton. Cobeil was still alive.
Dutton never saw him again but only heard him. Both were tortured continuously and on the fifth day Dutton heard Glen scream his name and then he heard the sounds of them beating and clubbing Cobeil.
When George Day arrived at the Zoo on April 30, 1968, and met his interrogators, one of the Cubans had already pounded Earl Cobiel out of his senses. Interrogators, returnees said, had taken a rusty nail and carved a bloody X across his back.
Day recalls, “a young gook, whose name escapes me, and two other beaters beat him all night. They brought him out after a fourteen or fifteen-hour session, and he obviously didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. He was totally bewildered and he never came unbewildered.
“The gooks kept thinking he was putting on, so they would keep torturing him. The crowning blow came when one of the guards some people called Goose struck him across the face with a fan belt under his eye, and the eyeball popped out. The guy never flinched, and that was the first time the gooks finally got the picture that maybe they’d scrambled his brains.”
“It sounds so savage you have trouble picturing it.”
Government records from 1979 still listed Cobeil as a prisoner of war. Records from later years finally indicate that Earl Glen Cobeil died in captivity. His remains were not returned home until 1974, even though the North Vietnamese had full knowledge of events that had taken place and Cobeil’s death at the hands of the interrogator much earlier in the war. North Vietnam has yet to release the names of the Cubans involved in the torture and murder of American Servicemen.

The story continues at Arlington Cemetary, via Tomás Estrada-Palma.