Last week’s 60 Minutes featured another in its long line of joint CBS-Castro productions. This time Anderson Cooper and his production crew partnered with the Stalinist regime’s Centro de Investigaciones Marinas for a propaganda piece on the marvels of Cuban coral reef conservation. The co-host of the CBS show and conduit for this fruitful Communist infomercial was Dr. David Guggenheim, senior fellow at the Ocean Foundation in Washington, D.C. who chairs its Cuba Marine Research and Conservation Program. Dr. Guggenheim toasts himself as a “Cubaphile” and toasts Castro’s fiefdom (which he has visited over 40 times in recent years) as a “magical place.”
Needless to remind (or perhaps not given that the Cold War supposedly ended over 20 years ago), such a gold-plated visa is not handed-out haphazardly by Stalinist regimes. And such a welcome mat and red carpet are not rolled out randomly. To wit:
“Cultural exchanges with foreign countries are our most effective propaganda,” reads a declassified KGB document from May, 20, 1981.
“We cannot for a second abandon propaganda,” wrote Fidel Castro in a letter to revolutionary colleague Melba Hernandez in 1954. “Propaganda is vital — propaganda is the heart of our struggle.”
“Foreign reporters, preferably American, were much more valuable to us than any military victory. Much more valuable than rural recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda” wrote Che Guevara in his diaries.
It’s a long shot of speculation here, but just maybe the sentiments mentioned above had something to do with Cooper and Guggenheim’s instant Cuban visas and VIP pampering?
Dr. Guggenheim’s “magical place,” by the way, just decreed three days of mourning for Kim Jong Il. When Fidel Castro visited North Korea in 1986 his paeans to his hosts sounded much like Cooper and Guggenheim’s paeans to theirs last week. “I was astounded by the magnificent achievements of the heroic Korean people,” wrote Castro. “There wasn’t a single topic I could not discuss with my illustrious host [Kim Il Sung].”
Che Guevara’s worldwide diplomatic tour in 1960 included North Korea, which stole his heart. “North Korea is a model to which revolutionary Cuba should aspire,” he proclaimed upon returning to Havana. Then he promptly put his aspiration into action by setting up a huge prison camp at Guanahacabibes in western-most Cuba. This barbed wire enclosure cornered with machine gun towers and featuring forced-labor in the broiling sun supervised by Soviet bayonets was set up specifically — and instantly crammed to suffocation with — “lazy youths” and “delinquents.” But no “Occupy Guanahacabibes ” or “Occupy Havana” demonstrations have been recently reported, that I know of.
After surfacing from their scuba dive at Jardines de la Reina reef off southern Cuba, Cooper and Guggenheim rhapsodized for the CBS cameras thusly:
Guggenheim: “The corals are healthy. The fish are healthy and abundant. There are predators here, large sharks. It’s the way these ecosystems really should look.”
Anderson Cooper: “You’re saying this is like a time capsule, almost?”
Guggenheim: “It’s a living time machine. And it’s a really incredible opportunity to learn from.”
Cooper: “So something here holds the key to figuring out how to save other reefs and bring them back.”
Guggenheim: “it’s because this ecosystem is being protected, it’s got a leg up on other ecosystems around the world that are being heavily fished.”
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