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Tags: The | Strange | Conscience | Danny | Glover

The Strange Conscience of Danny Glover

Tuesday, 13 May 2003 12:00 AM EDT

When someone claims to defend human rights, you don’t expect him to defend tyrants.

Actor and MCI spokesman Danny Glover has often blended art and political concern – against apartheid South Africa, for instance. He starred in “Mandela” (1987), “Bopha!” (1993) and “Boesman and Lena” (2000), all of which depict apartheid as a brutal system.

The latter movie was based on the play by Athol Fugard, with whom Glover has had a long relationship. He said at the National Press Club on Nov. 12, 2002:

Glover’s opposition to apartheid even manifested in movies unrelated to South Africa. In “Lethal Weapon” (1987), an anti-apartheid sticker appears on his character’s refrigerator. (The antagonists in “Lethal Weapon 2” are South African diplomats.)

It would seem that Glover cares deeply about freedom, especially the freedom of people of color.

It would seem.

Angel Moya Acosta, Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet, Iván Hernández Carrillo and Jorge Olivera were among 80 Cuban human rights activists convicted last month in a series of closed sham trials – “a judicial Tiananmen,” in the words of opposition member Manuel Cuesta Morua.

Acosta was sentenced to 20 years, Biscet to 25 years, Carrillo to 25 years and Olivera to 18 years.

What was their crime? Conscience, to witness evil and call it evil.

These men share a racial as well as moral nexus: They are black. People of color are a majority in Cuba, and they aren’t exempt from Fidel Castro’s despotism.

It is a crime for black Cubans to criticize this white tyrant, his henchmen or their dogma. Neither can they establish their own media or organizations. And like chattel on a plantation, they can’t leave Cuba without a pass. (When Americans consider foreign travel, issues such as cost and scheduling are of concern. Cubans worry if they will be allowed to travel and harmed for the desire.)

Eusebio Peñalver, a black Cuban exile who was a political prisoner from 1960 until 1988 – longer than Nelson Mandela (a Castro admirer), who was imprisoned from 1964 until 1990 – observes, “There is no difference between the Cuban dictator and Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, or any of the dictators who have terrorized the peoples of the world.”

Former black prisoner of conscience Dr. Ramón Colás notes how the Castro regime “turned me into a modern slave, subjected to unjust laws, discriminatory practices which made me a non-person.”

Black Cubans such as Dr. Biscet and Jorge Olivera have been fundamental to the Cuban human rights movement. Others include prisoner of conscience Jorge Luis García Pérez and dissidents in exile such as Vicky Ruiz Labrit and Marcos Lázaro Torres León.

Has Danny Glover denounced the sentences perpetrated against these heroic black Cubans? Has he denounced the systematic violation of black Cubans’ human rights?

On the contrary, Glover’s solidarity is for the man who subjugates black Cubans.

Glover signed a letter released last month entitled “To the Conscience of the World,” which states in part:

With Glover there’s also the irony of his call to respect totalitarian Cuba’s “sovereignty” when he vigorously sought to destabilize apartheid South Africa. Apparently this “universal principle” isn’t so universal for him.

Glover has also visited Cuba many times and met Castro. The state-controlled Cuban “newspaper” Granma International noted last May: “There’s an intense relationship between Danny Glover and Havana. It was love at first sight, and not only has it stood the test of his frequent visits, but it is growing deeper and deeper, through discoveries and affinities.”

Castro’s black victims from Havana like Dr. Biscet, however, haven’t been among those discoveries and affinities.

Black journalist Clarence Page writes of Castro’s latest victims: “They look to us in their hour of need and to the other freedom-loving people on this planet. We must not let them down.”

Danny Glover not only has let these heroes down, he also has allied with their oppressor. People who love freedom don’t do that.

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When someone claims to defend human rights, you don't expect him to defend tyrants. Actor and MCI spokesman Danny Glover has often blended art and political concern - against apartheid South Africa, for instance.He starred in "Mandela" (1987), "Bopha!" (1993)and "Boesman...
Tuesday, 13 May 2003 12:00 AM
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