ZNet | Central America & Caribbean

New Cuba Games

by Jane Franklin; Saturday, December 04, 2010

A new video war game hit the stores on November 9 and set a sales record of five million six hundred thousand games on its first day and continues to be a record seller. Titled “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” this virtual reality takes place in the 1960s, resurrecting the so-called Cold War. Enemy territory includes Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and Russia.


As the Associated Press reports it, “In one mission…players must shoot their way through Havana to assassinate a young Fidel Castro.” Players – mostly young and mostly boys – enjoy a rampage of killing as they close in on their target. In real life, most of these players know hardly anything about Castro. But this game is providing millions and millions and millions of players the virtual experience of invading Cuba and assassinating him. Thus the players become participants in the normalization of terror that is a growing part of our culture here in the United States.


Never mind the fact that in the real world more than 600 attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro have failed. In this virtual reality the Empire’s fantasies trump historical reality. As a Cuban news report observes: “What the government of the United States could not accomplish in more than 50 years, it now is trying to achieve virtually.”


The New York Times video game critic, Seth Schiesel, supposedly a grown man whose mind should not be quite so malleable, rhapsodizes about his new game. After playing it, he immediately replayed it, saying, “I wanted to try to assassinate Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion again. ”


Oh, come on, some may say, It’s just a game!


If so, it’s a game being played in reality by the person who is about to become chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. The November election results mean that every House committee will now be chaired by a Republican. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, rightwing Representative from Florida, has dreamed for decades of getting to this powerful position in Washington, playing a major role in U.S. foreign policy not only toward Cuba but toward the whole world.


She was born in 1952 in Havana where her father was an avid supporter of the Batista dictatorship. He moved his family to Florida after the Revolution. In 1989, Florida Democrat, Representative Claude Pepper, died in office and Ros-Lehtinen won the special election to replace him. She centered her campaign around freeing the terrorist, Orlando Bosch, who was one of the two masterminds of blowing a Cuban passenger jet out of the sky, killing all 73 people aboard.


The Justice Department ruled that Bosch should be deported because of his terrorist activities, but Ileana Ros-Lehtinen had the backing of the wealthy and powerful Cuban American National Foundation. Her campaign manager was Jeb Bush, the son of then President George Bush, who overruled his own Justice Department and freed Bosch in Miami where he walks free to this day, still bragging about trying to assassinate Fidel Castro. Ros-Lehtinen became the first Cuban-American member of Congress.


She was given a seat on the Foreign Relations Committee soon after her election, agitating for the overthrow of the Cuban government ever since. In 1996 on NBC’s “Today” program, she expanded upon her call for action against Cuba. When Bryant Gumbel said that most Americans probably don’t see Cuba as a threat, she replied: “What was the threat in the Panama invasion? Did we think that Manuel Noriega’s army was going to invade us? And what about the threat in the Persian Gulf War? Were they going to send their jets…and invade us? There were no threats…and yet we took forceful action.” In other words, even though Cuba poses no threat, Washington should use its Armed Forces to attack Cuba as they attacked Panama and Iraq.


In the British documentary “638 Ways to Kill Castro” Ros-Lehtinen told her interviewer, “I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro.”


The millions of people playing at assassinating Fidel Castro and ruling the world with Black Ops have their avatar in Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.


Historian Jane Franklin is the author of Cuba and the U.S. Empire: A Chronological History.

E-mail: JaneFranklin@hotmail.com