Tristram Korten and Kirk Neilson are contract journalists. Left-wing organizations such as the Puffin Foundation and The Nation Institute, which are veritable "clearing houses" for dead traitors like Alger Hiss and Phillip Agee and training grounds for new ones, regularly hire mercenary scriveners like Korten and Nielson to do hatchet jobs on the enemies of their friends. This time it was the turn of the anti-Castro Cubans, the left's hatred for whom is as perennial as their evergreen lovefest with the Cuban Revolution. Korten and Neilson are well-suited to the task entrusted to them, since they both live in close proximity to Cuban exiles and can nurture on a daily basis their contempt for them while, at the same time, living off them.
Their latest screed, in Salon, compares militant anti-Castro Cubans in Miami to Hezbollah terrorists. This takes a great deal of chutzpah if you consider that Fidel Castro is the great sponsor of Hezbollah, the PLO and Hamas, all of which have training camps in Cuba; the PLO for more than 30 years. Three of the participants in the 9/11 attack were trained in Cuba under Castro's auspices. Hezbollah, as one Salon reader pointed out, has a budget of over $1 billion and once fired 10,000 rockets into Israel from Lebanon, which they effectively control. The septugenerarians who train in the Everglades to overthrow Castro, the supposed Cuban "terrorists" of Alpha-66, Comandos F4, Brigade 2506, and Acción Cubana, must hold chicken-and-rice dinners to pay for the ammunition which they use at the firing ranges. Their other big expense are the legal bills of their members, who, despite what Korten and Neilson claim, are regularly indicted by federal authorities and just as regularly exonerated when brought up on charges of conspiring to free their homeland against the expressed wishes of Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev. Cubans are the only people on earth whose right to rebel against a tyrannical regime has been opposed for 50 years by both superpowers. Even the demise of the Soviet Union did not lead to the scrapping of the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact, which is still sustained by Russia, successor to the treaty obligations of the Soviet Union. The Cold War continues in respect to Cuba and both the U.S. and Russia remain the guarantors of communism on the island.
Cuban exiles, of course, have always been damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to liberating their homeland. Their enemies accuse them of being cowards for not taking up arms against Castro while at the same time branding them as terrorists for doing so. But, of course, it is their critics who are morally bankrupt. They have defended for 50 years a regime which has killed more Cubans, proportionally, than Hitler killed Germans or Stalin Russians. The Cuban Revolution, in fact, was a terrorist war from beginning to end. There were no battles between Batista's army and Castro's rebel forces and only 128 casualties between them on those rare occasions when they happened to coincide against the wishes of both. The Cuban Revolution was waged in Cuba's cities, where the July 26th Movement placed hundreds of bombs in public places, including schools, buses, theatres and cabarets, maiming and killing civilians at random. The PLO kills Israelis, or at least targets them. Castro's terrorists killed their own people. The rebels were also responsible for the world's first domestic hijacking as well as the first international hijacking, conducting three altogether, one of which resulted in the deaths of 17 passengers (most of them Americans). These hijackings, incidentally, were carried out under the direction of Raúl Castro. Besides terrorizing their own people before and after the Revolution, the Castro regime has sponsored terrorism on four continents and is responsible for at least as many deaths abroad as at home.
But, of course, no effort is made by the authors to compare the provocation to the reaction. The provocation, 50 years of terrorist rule by the world's oldest terrorist state, which was built on terrorism and has maintained itself through terrorism to this day, would make what is imputed against its enemies seem a moderate reaction by any measure. Indeed, most of the anti-Castro Cubans cited by Korten and Neilson have never been indicted, had the charges against them dismissed by judges, been acquitted by juries or had their convictions overturned on appeal. That is why the authors are obliged to refer to them as "terrorists" in quotation marks. This is something that has upset the most diehard among their readers who obviously do not understand libel law. Korten and Neilson understand it well enough though I don't know how much protection those little quotations marks will afford them when their intent is clear and unmistakable — to libel these men and the community which acclaims them as freedom fighters and upholders of the dignity of the Cuban people.