Sean Penn’s Cuba odyssey

By WND Staff

Sean Penn is in Castro’s Cuba on another one of his political pilgrimages. This time he’s seeking an interview with his hero, the communist despot Fidel Castro.

Penn scored interviews last year with two of his other secular gods: Cuban president and executioner Raúl Castro and Marxist tyrant Hugo Chavez. Now he is apparently on assignment for Vanity Fair to meet and interview Castro.

This is only to be expected from Penn, of course, since few Hollywood stars represent liberal Hollywood better in terms of venerating communist and Islamist butchers than Penn. A member of leftist anti-war organizations Not In Our Name and Artists United to Win Without War and an avid supporter of, he has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, a leader in fellow traveling and a champion of jihadi terrorists.

Let’s take a little look back at Penn’s romance with tyranny and terror:

In December 2002, just prior to the U.S. liberation of Iraq, Penn embarked on a political pilgrimage to Baghdad with Medea Benjamin, a trip that was publicized as a “fact-finding” visit. It remains a mystery what “facts” Penn was looking for or even found, since the trip basically entailed him denouncing the approaching U.S. invasion and serving as a propaganda tool for Saddam.

Penn continued his anti-war activism throughout the war and after, which included another trip he took to Iraq in late 2003, during which he demonized U.S. efforts to defeat the jihadists and bring stability to the country. During that trip, Penn had to be saved by U.S. soldiers while conducting interviews in unsafe places. He did not reflect, naturally, on whether he owed any gratitude to the U.S. – or on why he was being attacked in the first place and by whom. In other words, moral clarity eluded him even when he himself was saved by his own nation from those who hated him and wanted him dead.

Understand leftists’ dedication to tyranny and tolerance of terror in Jamie Glazov’s “United in Hate”

Penn’s anti-war activism continued unabated throughout the Iraq war, as the actor/director consistently called for an immediate U.S. withdrawal – despite the fact that such a premature withdrawal would lead to a terrorist victory in Iraq, embolden Islamofascists everywhere and lead to a genocide. In 2006, he joined Congresswomen Cynthia McKinney and Lynn Woolsey, Willie Nelson, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover and Ed Asner in staging a “Troops Home Fast” hunger strike to protest the Iraq War. The effort was organized by Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan and endorsed by Code Pink.

Iraq was not the only target of Penn’s totalitarian yearnings. Iran’s despotism also served as a romantic attraction. And so in 2005, three years after his Iraq pilgrimage, Penn once again took on the role of fellow traveler, but this time traveling to Iran, acting as a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. He attended Islamic prayer ceremonies in Tehran and interviewed Iranian political leaders. In his reporting for the Chronicle, he praised the mullahs for standing brave in the face of Bush calling Iran a member of the “Axis of Evil.” He commended Iran for not (in his mind) pursuing uranium enrichment, and he denounced the U.S. and Israeli positions, as well as any possible “reckless action” toward Iran that those countries might take. He did this despite the fact that the evidence had already confirmed that Iran was pursuing nuclear ambitions, a reality that subsequently forced the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution ordering Iran to suspend its nuclear pursuits.

Iran’s recent admission about its illegal uranium enrichment plant in Qom has, unsurprisingly, inspired no mea culpa from Penn.

Iran’s mullahs and the jihadists fighting in Iraq weren’t the only objects of Penn’s affections. The Hollywood star has come to the defense of Castro’s despotism, which explains his presence there today. He has also, as mentioned, nurtured a friendship with Hugo Chavez, who has quoted from Penn’s writings in some of his televised speeches. Penn embarked on a political pilgrimage in August 2007 to embrace Chavez in person in Caracas, Venezuela. Not much interested in Chavez’s tyrannical brutality, Penn called Chavez “a fascinating guy” who is “much more positive for Venezuela than he is negative.” Chavez, in turn, praised Penn for advocating the impeachment of President Bush.

Like Chavez, Islamists have shown their gratitude to Penn, cheering on the Hollywood star’s statements about Iran, the Iraq war and the war on terror and stressing that U.S. citizens should hearken his message. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, which engages in suicide attacks and has carried out hundreds of shootings and rocket attacks against Israeli citizens, including women and children, has expressed particular admiration for Penn. As Aaron Klein has reported in his book “Schmoozing With Terrorists,” Ala Senakreh, the terror group’s West Bank chief, affirmed that he had “deep respect” for Penn. Abu Hamed, northern Gaza Strip commander of the organization, invited Penn to officially represent his group’s cause to the world media. Ramadan Adassi, the group’s chief in the northern West Bank Anskar refugee camp, stated that Penn’s words “express dignity” and a “deep humanitarian sense.”

Penn is now taking his act to Castro’s Cuba, a communist dictatorship that has distinguished itself as one of the most monstrous human-rights abusers in the world. As “The Black Book of Communism” has documented, half a million human beings have passed through Cuba’s gulag. Since Cuba’s total population is only around 11 million, that gives Castro’s despotism the highest political incarceration rate per capita on earth. There have been more than 15,000 executions by firing squad. Torture has been institutionalized; myriad human-rights organizations have documented the regime’s use of electric shock, dark coffin-sized isolation cells and beatings to punish “anti-socialist elements.” The Castro regime’s barbarity is best epitomized by the Camilo Cienfuegos plan, the program of horrors followed in the forced-labor camp on the Isle of Pines. Forced to work almost naked, prisoners were made to cut grass with their teeth and to sit in latrine trenches for long periods of time. 

The horrifying experience of Armando Valladares, a Cuban poet who endured 22 years of torture and imprisonment for merely raising the issue of freedom, is a testament to the regime’s barbarity. Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope,” serves as Cuba’s version of Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago.” Valladares recounts how prisoners were beaten with bayonets, electric cables and truncheons. He tells how he and other prisoners were forced to take “baths” in human feces and urine.

Don’t expect Sean Penn to be including these facts in the story he tells when he leaves Castro’s communist paradise. Expect glowing praise for the dictator and the dictatorship. Indeed, expect more and the same from what we’ve already seen in Penn’s, and the left’s, dance and flirtation with tyranny, despotism and death.

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Jamie Glazov is editor of and author of “United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror”