Since Barack Obama’s December 17 announcement of unilateral concessions to Cuba’s Castro regime, the island nation has been in the headlines almost every single day. Just last weekend, social media blew up with pictures of Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell partying in Havana with Fidel Castro’s son.
The irony of Hilton cavorting with the son of the man who stole her grandfather’s property, the Havana Hilton, should not be lost on the reader.
On Wednesday night, Conan O’Brien’s viewers were treated to an 80-minute infomercial for the Western hemisphere’s longest-running and bloodiest dictatorship. Conan said Obama’s announcement inspired him to travel to Cuba and get to know more about the country and it’s people. If he thought he was being original in that regard, he was mistaken: he joins a long list of celebrities who have similarly and unwittingly — or not — become propagandists. The list includes Sting, who was once known for human rights activism, Beyoncé, and Steven Spielberg.
The show consisted mainly of Conan clowning around with what was obviously a very carefully selected group of English-proficient government guides in a series of predictable settings like a cigar factory and a dance lesson. The lowlight of the show was Conan’s visit to a rum museum, where the eye-rolling docent was obviously perturbed and unaccustomed to visitors going off-script.
Between the cigar-making and salsa music, one of the running gags during the show was to highlight the number of barking dogs one encounters while walking in Havana. Another was Conan introducing himself as a TV star to Cubans on the street; they had no idea who he was.
The reason they don’t know him is not innocuous or humorous. The Castro regime controls everything the Cuban people see and hear in the media, which you wouldn’t know from watching Conan’s show.
Conan has attempted to deny his part in the whitewash by claiming he didn’t want the show to be political. The problem with that? Everything in Cuba is politicized. His very presence on the island is to be used by the Cuban government as a form of endorsement.
Conan, whether he realizes it or not, has now lent his prestige and celebrity to a regime that subverts other countries, tolerates no dissent, imprisons critics and peaceful activists, engages in constant espionage against the United States, kills American citizens, kills Cuban citizens, and has been a major participant in the transportation of drugs.