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December 2, 2016

Entering the Shades of Hades

Harry M. Covert

They were rejoicing and exceedingly glad. Reverie in Miami and throughout Cuban communities, even here in Frederick, was ecstatic. What brought about the excitement and enthusiasm along with tears of joy? A rather easy answer. Death finally greeted Fidel Castro, the American hater.


The generalissimo despised everybody and was a thorn in the side of free societies. He killed or jailed opponents. At age 90 he entered the shades of Hades. There’s no sense beating around the bush, he ranks down there with the likes of other world-class murderers. I know he pushed the U.S. to the brink of a nuclear disaster back in the sixties. He was a fortunate soul that the free world allowed to continue imprisoning the island, ninety miles off Key West, Florida.


He may have been a lover of baseball. Lots of Cuban athletes and other professional people managed to escape his clutches to their betterment and that of the Land of the Free. It is quite a shame the U.S. didn’t support well enough the Bay of Pigs invasion and throw out Castro and his raggedy band. It’s difficult to understand even today why the wizards in Washington thought it cute to attempt various means to rid the planet of the dictator – suggesting using mobsters to assassinate him. Why not the Marines? Too bad.


The original intention here was to talk about the squabbling that continues with the Frederick County Republican Central Committee. Frankly there’s nothing new with that group. Similar to the national assembly, the locals are quite at loose ends and considered by old-timers to be embarrassments. The Frederick-News Post did a good job reporting of this week’s meeting. I would guess it won’t be long before a new person rides in on a new steed and drains the local swamp. Yes, I couldn’t resist comparing the local festivities with the fear among the Washington elites, and that includes both of the national political parties.


Locally the grand poohbahs are somewhat on edge because the issue of who’s first among equals is in a scramble. That’s good.


But back to the Cuban communist. I can use the description here because he was. I heard a few words from former American politicos to give Fidel his due – in other words, be nice since he’s succumbed. Not me.


I did laugh a few years ago when a Norfolk Virginian-Pilot humorist suggested if the island ever managed to come up with a space program and enlisted astronauts, they could be called Castronauts.


Come on, “Whimsey by Wilkie” was a fun read. Since those days, there’ve been lots of escapees. There’ve been lots, though, who got caught fleeing on makeshift crafts and suffered death, injuries and long prison terms. The poor people have endured a half century where the average monthly salaries amount to $20.


Marylanders can remember the jailing of Alan Gross, of Germantown. Mr. Gross served five years of a 15-year prison sentence for helping technological opportunities for all and to aid the Jewish community. It took a lustrum-plus to release him. He was part of the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID).


In October 1980 Castro pardoned 30 Americans, some who had already served 10-year sentences. Among them was Melvin Lee Bailey, of Newport News, VA, a computer programmer and former Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Mr. Bailey was sentenced to 24 years in prison for “bombing” Cuba with religious pamphlets. He was a weekend missionary pilot who flew a Piper Cherokee plane on weekends.


Mr. Bailey discovered what prison life was like. He was a faithful servant and endured a three-month term in less than pleasant circumstances.


News agencies have enjoyed writing about so-called excellent public education, medical care and sports program. There was a time when Havana’s baseball team, the Sugar Kings, performed in the International League. It was a farm team of the Cincinnati Reds.


Since Fidel is now ashes (he was cremated) and sibling Raul, 85, the current president, perhaps Cubans have a chance to come into the 21st century. Let’s note that Fidel died with a net worth of nine-hundred million dollars. Raul has done well, too, and enjoys a three hundred million dollar fortune. While everyone else was starving, the brothers robbed and stole from the Cuban treasury. Please don’t consider them having any honor or virtue.


I write this because Frederick County and the state have a large Cuban-American citizenship. Maybe it’s time for another San Juan Hill episode. This time it will be with the influx of Americano touristas and eager businesses


 Will there be a Trump International Hotel in Havana? Probably been in the works for some time. No need for a wall around the Florida Straits.


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