Humberto Fontova says you don’t know squat about Cuba.
“[A]lmost everything most people (except Cuban exiles) think they know about Cuba isn’t just wrong — it’s almost the exact opposite of the truth,” Fontova, a refugee from Castro’s Cuba and the author of numerous books about the country, told The Daily Caller in an interview about his new book, ”The Longest Romance: The Mainstream and Fidel Castro.”
“You really get tired of people citing ‘The Godfather II’ to make intellectual points about Cuba,” Fontova added, explaining why he decided to write his new tome. ”If this sounds hyperbolic, here’s the man widely hailed as the top news source for Americans under 40 nowadays: ‘All I know about pre-Castro Cuba I learned from the Godfather II!’”
The quote comes from Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
While Fontova writes about influential Cuban agents in the United States and how the mainstream media continues to suck up to the Castro brothers in his new book, perhaps his most shockingly lurid anecdote is of writer Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba at the time of the Cuban Revolution.
“Hemingway hailed Castro’s revolution as ‘very pure and beautiful,’” Fontova said. “He was also a guest of honor at many of Che Guevara’s firing squad massacres. Hemingway loved to watch Che’s firing squads murder hundreds of Cubans. Hemingway would watch the massacres from a picnic chair while sipping Daiquiris.”
Fontova’s source for this troubling detail of Hemingway’s life is a former employee of late Paris Review editor George Plimpton who says his traumatized boss once told him how Hemingway took him to one such fire squad social gathering.
Despite pushback, Fontova insists that Castro belongs on the same level as Hitler and Stalin in history’s catalogue of demonic dictators.
“Proportionately, he was right up there with the big boys,” Fontova said. “Cuba’s population in 1960 was only 6.5 million. Castro and Che simply couldn’t get their hands on as many victims as Hitler or Stalin.”
See below TheDC’s extended interview with Fontova about his new book, what he thinks of Obama’s policy toward Cuba and much more.
Why did you decide to write the book?
Because almost everything most people (except Cuban exiles) think they know about Cuba isn’t just wrong — it’s almost the exact opposite of the truth. You really get tired of people citing “The Godfather II” to make intellectual points about Cuba. If this sounds hyperbolic here’s the man widely hailed as the top news source for Americans under 40 nowadays: “All I know about pre-Castro Cuba I learned from the Godfather II!” (Jon Stewart, July 23, 2008)
Why has Castro come to be idealized by many quarters in America?
Baby-Boomer nostalgia accounts for much of it. He and Che and Raul were the first “hippies” (beatniks actually). These young, cool long-haired guys stuck it to “The Man.” (America with a bald old golfer as president, with June Cleaver and Ozzie and Harriet on TV, etc.) In April 1959 Fidel spoke at Harvard on the same bill as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, and it seemed perfectly congruous. Both were cool long-haired, bearded beatniks. Abysmal ignorance of conditions in pre-Castro Cuba (which actually had a higher per-capita income than half of Europe, and relatively little gambling and prostitution) and abysmal ignorance of Castro’s horrific crimes also plays a huge role.