Miguel A. Faria Jr. is the author of "Medical Warrior" and "Vandals at the Gates of Medicine," and editor in chief of the Medical Sentinel, the journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. His most recent book is "Cuba in Revolution: Escape from a Lost Paradise." All of his books are available through www.haciendapub.com. A retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Faria lives in Macon, Ga.
Part II, which follows here, concludes the interview of Dr. Faria by Mr. Kantor. The questions by Mr. Kantor are in bold, the answers by Dr. Faria in plain text. This extensive interview is an exclusive for NewsMax.com readers.
Old white men are generally perceived as Castro's opponents, but you cite a number of individuals who refute this oversimplification.
Many of these valiant white men you speak of, Myles, have died. Today, the reality is otherwise. Fidel has a new generation of opponents, young people many of whom were born after the triumph of the Revolution. More than 80 percent of Cuban prisoners are citizens of color, black or mulattos.
Foremost among those jailed and tortured is the black Cuban physician Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, a prisoner of conscience, a living martyr, who is languishing in the horrid Cuba Sí prison in Holguín province. His crime: protesting abortion and human rights violations in Cuba.
There is also the mulatto Vladimiro Roca, the son of Cuban Communist Party founder, the legendary Blas Roca. He was imprisoned near the city of Cienfuegos for writing a manifesto stating that the Cuban fatherland belongs to all of the people. He was released just before Jimmy Carter's visit to Cuba after serving all but 70 days of his prison sentence.
Another political prisoner of color is Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez," who has been jailed 18 years for allegedly spreading enemy propaganda and who has been near death on several occasions because of mistreatment and torture. The last I heard of him, his health had deteriorated as he languished in a dungeon in the central prison of Nieves Morejon, near my native Sancti Spiritus. And there are hundreds of others like them.
Prisoners also include many courageous women dissidents who have been subjected to unspeakable cruelty and tortured in such prisons as Manto Negro (Black Mantle) and Nuevo Amanacer (New Dawn).
Among the women who have suffered imprisonment are: the poetess Maria Elena Cruz Varela (now in exile), Maritza Lugo Fernández (who recently gained her freedom and is also now in exile). There is also the valiant Martha Beatriz Roque, who has been in and out of prison repeatedly because of opposition to the communist (fascist) regime.
Myles, consider that all of these Cuban blacks and women have been persecuted simply for their nonviolent but principled opposition to the regime.
You write, "Of the 52 highest-ranking officials in the Cuban government today, there are only four women, one black Cuban, and two mestizos." Given that people of color are over 60 percent of Cuba's population, you would think individuals like Al Sharpton, Randall Robinson and Jesse Jackson would have something to say about this.
For the likes of me, Myles, I don't understand it. U.S. black "leaders" are putting the interest of a (white) ruthless dictator ahead of the interest of their own people in America or Cuba.
Consider what I wrote in "Cuba in Revolution" as to why Fidel Castro chose the date for the Moncada Barracks attack, July 26, 1953, which would become the most sacred date in the Revolution:
"Fidel Castro chose July 26 because the patron saint of the city of Santiago de Cuba was the Apostle James the Elder, who in medieval Spanish tradition was resurrected as Santiago the Moorslayer, the avenging angel of the Spanish knights during the Reconquista, as well as the charging fury that led the indomitable conquistadores of Hernán Cortes when battling the Aztecs of Mexico. The saint was honored every July 25, which also coincided with the end of the sugar harvest, hence the day of the most joyous celebration in Santiago de Cuba. Fidel Castro, the new Moorslayer, would destroy Batista. Indeed, Fidel had told his Ortodoxo friend, José Pardo Llada, after Batista's bloodless March 10, 1952 coup d'état in which Batista had seized the government, 'We have got to kill that Negro.' "
Almost forgotten is the fact that Batista's army was heavily composed of Cuban blacks, whereas the leadership of the 26th of July movement was all white Spaniard stock, except for Juan Almeida.
Fast-forward to U.S. politics today: As you remember from my chapter "In Bed With Fidel," not only is he supported by such leaders as Al Sharpton, Randall Robinson and Jesse Jackson, but during Castro's 1995 visit to the United Nations during its 50th anniversary celebration, "he was honored at Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. There, he was proudly surrounded by U.S. Representatives Nydia M. Velázquez, D-N.Y., Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., José Serrano, D-N.Y. all members of the extreme left-wing House Progressive Caucus. They are among the 58 U.S. Representatives who belong to this group closely aligned to the Democratic Socialists of America, the U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, the proud heirs of the first International in which Karl Marx participated over a century ago."
In Harlem, Fidel was cheered and applauded by the roaring crowd yelling, "Fidel, Fidel, Viva Cuba, Viva Cuba!" He was warmly bear-hugged by Rep. Charles Rangel and told by the presiding church minister that he was one of the greatest leaders of the world, and that they joined him in opposing the U.S. "blockade." Then the presiding black clergyman consecrated Fidel: "God bless you," although Fidel is an atheist and Cuba officially is an atheist state where the faithful are persecuted.
Fidel Castro would again be similarly honored during his repeat visit to the United States on Sept. 6-9, 2000.
A standard claim by Castro's apologists is that he has benefited Cubans through free health care and education. You tackle these matters as well.
It is certainly true that in Cuba everyone (i.e., except those branded as counterrevolutionaries) has, at least on paper, access to physicians and health care, although in practice it is a most rudimentary form of medical care. Universal health care (socialized medicine) is not difficult to accomplish in the island because Cuba has an oversupply of physicians (and professors) of all types just another oversight of the central planners.
Yet many of these over-educated citizens prefer to work in the tourism industry, which provides access to dollars, sometimes $200 or $1,000 per month, rather than the 200 or 300 pesos that physicians and academicians make in their respective professions.
Consider, Myles, that today in Cuba, one U.S. dollar is worth approximately 21 Cuban pesos. A good Cuban salary brings in 210 pesos $10.00! per month.
Be that as it may, because of the oversupply of doctors, physicians are sent abroad to export Cuban medicine and socialism. Collectivism and (false) egalitarianism in medicine do not begin to equate to quality (or even meaningful) medical care.
The hard reality is that what Cuban physicians can do for their sick patients remains quite limited and that was the case even before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the massive, overt Soviet economic aid. This aid amounted to $3 billion to $4 billion per year. Even during the mythic "golden years" of Cuban socialism in the mid-1960s and 1970s, as deceivingly proclaimed by Cuban apologists and gullible journalists, lack