Here it is in a nutshell (so to speak): Sean Penn has never forgotten that Madonna dumped him for a Cuban gigolo: he the great thespian dumped for a nobody with a brown dick. It hurt. It still hurts. But he'll have his revenge on the whole tribe of brown dicks by seeing to it that they will always wear chains more pendulous than their dicks.
In-between arrests for attempted murder and stints in rehab, Sean Penn still manages to squeeze-in an occasional movie (at the Odeum) or maverick diplomatic mission on behalf of anti-American tyrants everywhere. In late October the not-so-useful idiot, after three fun-filled days with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, was flown in a government jet to Cuba, where he was allowed to hang out with Antonio Castro, Fidel's #2 son, and granted a seven-hour (!) audience with Raúl Castro himself. Hopefully, between Raúl and Antonio, they were about to recreate the "Fidel Experience" for him. Yes, seven hours. We don't know whom to pity more. Did Raúl sing arias from Red Chinese operas, or did Penn recite his lines from El Salvador? Only their translator knows for sure. Conversing for seven hours with an airhead like Sean Penn makes no political sense unless Raúl is morphing into Fidel or trying to seduce the actor in a non-political way. What we can be sure about, however, is that the liquor flowed in torrents and that everybody got wet. Perhaps the dipsomaniacal duo talked for two hours and spent the last five in an alcohol-induced stupor vomiting on each other. The account of his interview with Raúl Castro in the Nation does have a certain hallucinatory quality which cannot be entirely explained by his atrocious writing as vapid as it is prolix and pretentious.
The culmination of his 7 hours with Raúl was an invitation to Barack Obama, which Penn surely conveyed to him, to meet at Guantánamo Naval Base, where Raúl said he would be more than happy to present Obama with an American flag to take home with him. "Eureka," Penn must have shouted, "it is peace in our time!" Of course, Penn did not understand the implications of Raúl's suggestion, and his reaction to it must have amused Raúl greatly. Granted, to catch a fish that bites at any bait is hardly a feat of great sportsmanship; but there is surely some satisfaction in it. Guantánamo is the one place on earth where the U.S. and Cuba could meet "on an equal footing" (Raúl's phrase) and the last place where any American president should consent to meet with him. More provocative, though, is Raúl's offer to present Obama with an American flag at Guantánamo. Penn no doubt thought that this would be the ultimate gesture of reconciliation, and may even have suggested to Obama that he reciprocate by presenting Raúl with a Cuban flag, which the president-elect probably thought a good idea. What Penn doesn't get, because his knowledge of Cuban history is nil, is that the flag which Raúl proposes to present to Obama is the one that flies over Guantanamo Naval Base, that is, he wants Americans to quit Guantánamo and Cuba: "Yankee Go Home!" is the "Message to Obama" that Raúl wants the witless Penn to convey to Obama.