Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cuba Deserves Fair Coverage

And That Includes the NY Times
Monday, January 5th, 2015
         America's right-wing news organizations as well as right-wing Cuban-Americans in the U. S. Congress ended 2014 and began the New Year of 2015 hoping Cuba would succumb to provocations and do something that would force President Obama to abandon his plans to normalize relations with the island. That much is a given. The tactic has worked in the past and, perhaps, will prove to be effective yet again. 
      This Andrew Testa/New York Times photo shows Cuban-American artist Tania Bruguera. Born in Havana in 1968, she splits her time between Cuba and the United States. Closely allied with the island's most famed dissident, Yoani Sanchez, Ms. Bruguera is fiercely anti-Castro, anti-Revolution. As in November of 1963 when President Kennedy vowed to normalize relations with Cuba, as in March of 1996 when President Clinton vowed to normalize relations with Cuba, etc., etc., President Obama in December of 2014 vowed to normalize relations with Cuba. Anyone who has ever studied the vicissitudes that have existed between the two neighboring nations since the Cuban Revolution defeated the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship in January of 1959 well understands the immediate obstacles that confronted President Kennedy, President Clinton, etc., and certainly should have anticipated the similar obstacles now confronting Mr. Obama. The tactic, at least initially, is to provoke Cuba into doing something that will force any decently motivated Democratic President to change his plans to normalize relations with Cuba. On the last day of 2014 Ms. Bruguera and Ms. Sanchez planned a major "Open Mic" anti-revolution protest at Havana's famed Plaza of the Revolution starting at 3:00 P. M. But it fizzled out and by 3:00 o'clock mostly only journalists were waiting to chronicle the event. There is no doubt that Cuban authorities detained about twelve scheduled participants, including the two most famed. Immediately in the U. S., Senator Marco Rubio railed against both President Obama and the Cuban barbarism in squelching the planned demonstration. In recent months the New York Times had published ten editorials advocating the normalization of relations with Cuba. But Thursday the NY Times capitulated and blared an editorial entitled "Cuba Turns Off Critics' Open Mic." The above photo of Tania Bruguera illustrated the article. The avaricious diatribes from Rubio and his ilk could have been scripted and anticipated ahead of time but the anti-Cuban demonstrators also got an easy additional victory from the NY Times editorial, which was very biased like most of the Cuban coverage from the mainstream U. S. media.
       This Adalberto Roque/AFP photo shows journalists waiting Wednesday in Cuba's Revolutionary Square for the arrival of Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez and Cuban-American activist Tania Bruguera. They were detained and thus became no-shows. However, it was only the first salvo designed to provoke Cuba into more prominent actions that can be used to thwart President Obama's plans to normalize relations with the island. The ensuing salvos, beyond any doubt, will be more successful.
    This AFP/Adalberto Roque photo shows 46-year-old Cuban-American Tania Bruguera posing on a street in Havana December 31st. Her brief detention by Cuban authorities had squashed her planned demonstration at Revolutionary Square. She said, "There are no American companies behind it. I also am not a CIA agent. The Cuban agents who detained me treated me cordially." Cuba is particularly sensitive to anti-government protests it believes are sponsored by the U. S. government.
       On the last day of 2014 -- when the NY Times published that anti-Cuban editorial -- the newspaper's review of 2014 featured the Whitney Curtis/New York Times photo depicted above. It shows a ubiquitous American holding his hands up and proclaiming "don't shoot" as powerfully armed police converge on him. As the world knows, in 2014 the U. S. suffered from a series of police shootings of black Americans, resulting in massive demonstrations from coast-to-coast. Using this photo and making that point is not anti-American. It merely reflects a problem in the U. S. that received massive international coverage throughout 2014. The New York Times and other U. S. media are correct to report on major anti-American demonstrations in the U. S. as well as anti-Chinese demonstrations in Hong Kong, anti-Cuban demonstrations in Cuba, etc. However, to be balanced and fair, the U. S. media should not be intimidated or biased when reporting on demonstrations in Cuba, which generally have a nuance not pertinent to demonstrations in the U. S., China, etc. For example, if the omnipotent anti-Castro forces in the U. S. could illustrate video of Cuban police shooting down Cubans on the streets of Havana, that, of course, would be a huge bonanza for them. Cuba, as it enters 2015, is sincerely hoping that President Obama's plans to normalize relations come to fruition. But Cuba also realizes that powerful forces are underway to derail those intentions, just as they rose up to squash the plans of President Kennedy in 1963, President Clinton in 1996, etc. Those forces, Cuba believes, are longing to provoke Cuba into doing something that will derail President Obama's plans in 2015. The first volley was fired this week in Havana. Many more will follow. Anti-government demonstrations in China, America, etc., are usually different in one significant aspect from those in Cuba: Chinese and American demonstrations are not sponsored by enemies from a foreign country, which neither China nor America would remotely tolerate. Yet, Cuba is supposed to tolerate it. Not making that distinction in its prime editorial is why the usually fair-minded New York Times was blatantly unfair.
     In the first week of January, 1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana after his Cuban Revolution shocked the world by overthrowing the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship. The Associated Press caption for the Burt Glinn photo above, capturing Fidel Castro's monumental victory, was fair and balanced, don't you think? Well, in all the decades since this photo was taken, Fidel Castro has aged from 32 to 88 and the revolutionary rule of Cuba has aged to 56 years -- as of January 1, 2015. In those last 56 years, the U. S. media coverage of Cuba has been largely unfair and unbalanced. That's because, of course, the leaders of the ousted Batista-Mafia dictatorship in Cuba fled and quickly reconstituted their rule on U. S. soil with its capital, Little Havana, in the heart of Miami. So, if the triumph of the Cuban Revolution was shocking, the prime off-shoot -- its almost immediate resurrection on U. S. soil -- was even more so. That AP photo and caption above was quite accurate back in January of 1959. However, since then two generations of Cuban exiles have controlled the Cuban narrative in the U. S., not to mention the never-ending effort to regain control of the pugnacious island. Military attacks {Bay of Pigs}, terrorist attacks {Cubana Flight 455}, embargo {since 1962}, provocative demonstrations {unending}, etc., etc., have failed to bring the Cuban Revolution to its knees. But stay tuned. Cuba is an island; the U. S. is the world's superpower; Fidel Castro is 88-years-old and very unwell; and the U. S. media is unable, unwilling, or too afraid to fairly cover the conundrum.
       Whatever happens to the sovereign island of Cuba in the New Year of 2015 should be decided by Cubans on the island, not by benefactors in a foreign country.
By the way................
........this was Fidel Castro's favorite book in 2014.
      The old revolutionary, in contrast to what Americans are told, still has legitimate support on the island. At age 88, his fragile health digressed markedly in the last three months of 2014. His legacy, many Cubans believe, will become the prime catalyst that will protect the island's sovereignty against future foreign domination. The theme of this march was: We need foreign trade, especially between our ports and America's ports, but not at the expense of foreign rule." Consistent miscalculations of that sentiment on the island helps diminish the U. S. influence in a small neighboring country that should be and could be massively influenced by the world's superpower.
           Elian Gonzalez {Reuters photo}, one of the most famous Cubans, gives a thumbs up to signal his approval of the U.S.-Cuban efforts to normalize relations. "I respect and admire President Obama," he said. "I really believe he is a good man. I hope he succeeds." On December 6th, 2014, Elian turned 21-years-old.
And also................................
...........This is my favorite book at the moment.
       Nicholas Carlson brilliantly chronicles how Marissa Mayer, when she became the top boss at Yahoo, bravely fought to save the company as well as thousands of jobs. She had to fire some of the supposedly smartest Silicon experts who strongly advised her to instantly fire thousands of Yahoo employees. I believe what a person chooses to read helps define that person. Other books I have thoroughly enjoyed in the past six months include: "The Mockingbird Next Door" by Marja Mills; "Warrior Woman" by James Alexander Thom and Dark Rain Thom; "There Was A Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me" by Brooke Shields; and "The Romanov Sisters" by Helen Rappaport. My coffee table also includes the magazines I subscribe to: Birds and Blooms, Time Magazine; MLB {Major League Baseball}; and National Geographic. My sister provides me her copies of the Washington Post and I spend much time with the New York Times online. Yes, I am obsessed with Cuba but my obsessions are a bit more eclectic than one island, to counter what one Cubaninsider reader opined. I also love birds and baseball as well as both topical and historic photos. Men don't interest me because of their predilection for money and power. Nurturing, strong, and purposeful women do interest me...with my three historic favorites being Celia Sanchez, Rachel Carson, and Sacajawea. My topical favorites are Elizabeth Warren and Marissa Mayer.
I love this photo, courtesy of the University of Wyoming.
A moose mother monitors her twin babies.
{A moose mother once attacked my snowmobile in Wyoming} 
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