"CHARLIE" RANGEL AND FIDEL CASTRO
By Hugo J. Byrne
In a recent address at a military base, President Bush once more stressed one basic ethic principle among those supporting our war on terrorism: "…those who extend aid and comfort to terrorists, become terrorists themselves."
That definition -if taken literally- applies to many people in our midst, including members of the news media, show business, and even some legislators. Among that last group, one individual coming to mind is the powerful and influential democratic Representative for New York Charles ("Charlie") Rangel; a prominent member of the "Black Caucus." Rangel is also a very strong supporter of Fidel Castro, who is the most notorious terrorist sponsor in the history of this Hemisphere.
Rangel, who had the poor taste of showing himself up at "Ground Cero" shortly after the terrorist mass murder in New York City, has been Castro's standard-bearer in the U.S. Congress for many years. Rangel's case is very different from that of other congressmen and senators claiming opposition to Castro, while dissenting with U.S. policies on Cuba. The well fed New York Congressman truly and honestly likes Castro's totalitarian regime and is indifferent to the dictator's virulent anti Americanism highlighted by his vowing to "bring America to its knees" in a recent official address in Teheran. "Charlie" Rangel has displayed openly his pro Castro feelings often times.
One such occasion was in the last days of October 1995 when Rangel attended the podium at a rally honoring the communist leader in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church. At that time Rangel embraced and applauded Castro. The recipient of Rangel's cheering and admiration was the same tyrant who used nuclear blackmail against America in 1962, the same bully who openly sponsored and often directed terrorism against the U.S. and other nations during most of his more than four decades in power and the same dictator who still denies basic human rights to the Cuban people, jailing exiling or killing everyone who dares voicing dissent with his policies, including Afro Cubans, such as the prisoner of conscience Dr. Elías Biscet.
At the Abyssinian Baptist Church the chair of the 1995 meeting, Elombe Brathe (also head of the "Patrice Lumumba Coalition"), barked abuse on New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for excluding Castro from visiting any New York City owned facility. That outrage drew enthusiastic applause from Rangel.
At the time of the Harlem rally Castro's regime was -and still is- among the rogue governments listed as "… aiding terrorism…" by the U.S. Department of State, and Rangel knew it only too well. The smiling Congressman was also aware of the hard evidence supporting Castro's involvement in international terrorists activities, including those committed against his fellow American citizens.
Less than one year after Rangel nauseating behavior in Harlem, Castro's air force murdered four members of the Miami based organization "Brothers to the Rescue" -three of whom were American citizens- over international waters. One of the defenseless planes of "Brothers" was shot down 5 miles beyond the 12 miles limit of Cuban territorial waters. The other plane was shot down over 16 miles beyond that limit. Castro mucks international law, claiming jurisdiction over the ocean located south of the 24th parallel.
Libya's dictator Muhamar Kahdafy created a similar situation in the Gulf of Sidra back in the mid eighties. Fortunately the tenant of the White House during that crisis was not Bill Clinton but President Reagan, who ordered American fighter planes into the area, teaching the Libyan dictator a lesson he has not forgotten to this date.
The fast sequence of recent U.S. government actions vis-à-vis the Castro's regime seem to imply a certain and strong suspicion by our intelligence agencies of complicity by that dictatorship in the criminal events of September 11.
Those actions are the arrest of super spy Ana Belén Montes only 10 days after the attack, followed closely by the reduction of movement for Castro's "diplomats" in Washington D.C. and the closing of the Russian electronic surveillance center of Lourdes in southern Cuba. This last event is the result of U.S. government strong diplomatic pressure on Russian President V. Putin.
In the light projected by these events, has Rangel changed his mind about Castro? Castro's mischief does not seem to face the heavy-set Congressman, whose obvious enthusiasm for the bearded dictator is not related to lack of knowledge nor stupidity. On the contrary, Rangel is a highly sophisticated and eloquent politician. His shortcomings may be of a different nature.
It appears that New York Congressman Charles Rangel values very much his extreme "liberal" (arch left wing) political base. Are his political priorities more important to Rangel than the liberty and security of his fellow Americans or his loyalty to the U.S.?