The Media's View of Cuba

There Are Accurate Sources
     If Americans want an accurate portrayal of U.S.-Cuban relations, they should get to know great, fair-minded, and un-intimidated journalists like Daniel Trotta of Reuters, the superb international news organization headquartered in London. Otherwise, Americans are stuck with getting such information from a Batistiano-directed, increasingly incompetent, and grossly intimidated U. S. media. And that, I believe, is an important distinction for this reason: Whether Americans believe it or not, its relations with the island of Cuba have an out-sized influence on how the U. S. and its democracy are viewed by the rest of the world. For example, Americans are not supposed to react to the yearly 192-to-2 UN vote denouncing the U. S. embargo of Cuba, but the rest of the world reacts to it. Americans are not supposed to react to the 1903 theft of Guantanamo Bay from Cuba, or the deleterious aspects of the infamous U. S. prison on Cuban soil known as Gitmo. But the rest of the world still reacts to that territorial theft and to the Bush-era prison in the Caribbean that sends anti-U. S. vibes around the world. Americans are not supposed to wonder about the deadly explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 that served as the pretext for the Spanish- American War, but the rest of the world still wonders. Americans are supposed to believe that the Cuban Revolution in 1959 kicked Mother Teresa, not top Mafiosi criminals, off the island, but the rest of the world knows that Mother Teresa never was in Cuba. Since 1959, Americans are not supposed to question the retrenchment of the Batistianos on U. S. soil, but the rest of the world questions it. As 2015 winds down, Americans are not supposed to question U. S. laws that greatly favor Cuban exiles and Cuban-Americans but grossly discriminate against everyone else, but the rest of the world's democracy lovers are embarrassed by that unique democratic anomaly. 
     Certainly, no one on this planet knows as much about U.S.-Cuban relations as Cuba's Josefina Vidal. That includes the good, the bad, the positives, and the negatives. Her perceptions have been formed both in Havana and Washington over the course of the past fifteen years on a daily...almost hourly...basis. In fact, if Vidal wasn't the planet's most brilliant diplomat, it is probable that the Batistianos would have surely recaptured Cuba at least during the no-holds-barred George W. Bush presidency from 2000 to 2008. Remarkably, since the current Obama presidency Vidal has negotiated some startling agreements that have rolled back much of the acute enmity that has served a few vicious Cuban-Americans so well since 1959. She has had Cuba, for example, removed from the U. S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list; she has negotiated the opening of embassies in Havana and Washington for the first time since 1961; she has recently paved the way for direct mail service between the two nearby nations for the first time in five decades, etc., etc. But she will not be satisfied until she gets breakthroughs on some of the most fervent Batistiano-directed anti-Cuban U. S. laws and policies, such as ending the embargo that has been in place since 1962; returning Guantanamo Bay to Cuba; ending Wet Foot/Dry Foot that mocks Cuba, America, and democracy by providing instant migratory and financial privileges to Cubans at the expense of all non-Cubans. Vidal will not get everything she wants but she is powerful enough and adamant enough that, till she does, the U. S. government and the U. S. businesses will also not get everything they want from Cuba. For Americans to be saturated only with the Batistiano narrative concerning Cuba reflects poorly on the U. S. government and on the U. S. media. For example, this week President Obama told Yahoo News that he wanted to visit Cuba as President in 2016 but only if he got to talk with "everybody." Vidal's interpretation of "everybody" was and is what counted, and she believed it meant President Obama's prime motivation to visit Cuba in 2016 would be to boost dissidents on the island. Based on her interpretation of "everybody," she has dis-invited President Obama from visiting Cuba in 2016. It reflects her continuing anger regarding an unending array of Congress-funded regime-change programs that create and encourage dissidents on the island. This forum presented Vidal's views regarding "everybody" on December 15th, the day Mr. Obama was interviewed by Yahoo News. Yesterday, December 16th, Daniel Trotta interviewed Vidal in Havana for a major Reuters article. She told him: "The day the President of America decides to visit Cuba, he will be welcome. Regarding what I just said, I'd like to recall that Cuba has always said...it is not going to negotiate matters that are inherent to its internal system in exchange for an improvement in or the normalization of relations with the United States." Go online to read Trotta's entire article if you want to understand Cuba.
     In other words, the gospel according to Josefina Vidal...as great, un-intimidated journalists like Daniel Trotta realize...is vital in the delicate issue of U.S.-Cuban relations. If you doubt that assessment because of the Batistiano-controlled propaganda that rules the Cuban narrative in the U. S., or because you don't believe David should be so insane as to resist Goliath, please note that the Batistianos have amazingly not regained control of Cuba since January 1, 1959. That fact amazes the rest of the world while Americans are not expected to grasp any of the parameters, such as the 192-to-2 pro-Cuban vote in the United Nations. And surely, Americans are not supposed to comprehend that a brilliant Cuban woman can stand up against implacable forces that are supported by the world superpower whose Cuban policy, even with a Democrat in the White House, is dictated by Cuban-American extremists in the U. S. Congress.
        President Obama's interview this week with Oliver Knox, the chief Washington correspondent for Yahoo News, was timely because it coincides with the one-year anniversary of Mr. Obama's monumental announcement -- on Dec. 19th, 2014 -- of his plans to normalize relations with Cuba. He has accomplished some of his goal, including business ties that even a Republican or Cuban-American successor in the White House will have trouble turning back. But most of the headlines from the Knox interview resulted from Obama's wish to visit Cuba in 2016 during the last year of his presidency, as long as he can talk to "everybody." His "everybody" irked Cuba's Josefina Vidal because she is tired of having to deal with ongoing lushly funded regime-change programs that encourage and reward dissidents on the island. So, if that is Mr. Obama's intention, she dis-invited him yesterday in that interview with Daniel Trotta of Reuters
    This week Josefina Vidal has negotiated two more tentative agreements with the U. S.: Resuming direct mail service for the first time in five decades; and resuming regular commercial passenger flights between the two nations. Yesterday -- Dec. 16th -- in Havana, Vidal told the Associated Press's Michael Weissenstein: "We have made important advances in negotiating a memorandum of understanding on establishing regular flights between Cuba and the United States and shortly we will be ready to announce a preliminary agreement on the issue." That's important, and a bit surprising. Although its economy badly needs it, Cuba can barely handle the upsurge in tourism, at least till it builds more hotels. Thanks to President Obama's initiatives, American visits to Cuba are up 70% this year, with 138,000 arrivals in the first 11 months of 2015. But all such flights are chartered and not commercial. Also, Vidal is well aware that when the Batistianos, prior to Obama, had total control of America's Cuban policy, a Cuban airplane hijacked to Key West was confiscated and sold to help cover a judgment a woman in Miami had won against Cuba in a Miami courtroom when she claimed her husband had betrayed her by returning to Cuba. Vidal, in agreeing to regular commercial flights, surely pondered that lawsuit because she would not take kindly to having a Cubana Airlines plane mistreated by Miami courtrooms or Miami extremists. {She remembers the fate of the child-laden Cubana Flight 455}.
       The AP article yesterday that featured Vidal's comments about the resumption of commercial flights between the U. S. and Cuba used the above photo to illustrate the report. This photo was taken by Jose Goita on Nov. 1, 2001, and it shows a chartered Continental Airlines plane from Miami depositing passengers at Jose Marti Airport in Havana. The change from chartered flights like this one will be monumental because commercial flights are more normal, generally cheaper, and far more convenient. 
And by the way:
        This is Ana Margarita Martinez. She is the beautiful Miami woman who won that lawsuit in the Miami courtroom because her husband left her and went back to Cuba. Yes, as part of her multi-million-dollar settlement, the hijacked Cuban airplane that was flown to Key West was sold with the proceeds going to Ana and her lawyers.
      This is Juan Pablo Roque. He is the husband who left Ana Margarita in Miami and went back to Havana. Interviewed on the phone from Havana, Juan was asked, "Is there anything you still miss about Miami?" He instantly replied, "Yes, MY JEEP!"
       This is Ana with the Jeep that Juan still "misses." But Ana came out alright. She got to keep his beloved Jeep and the money from the hijacked Cuban airplane.
      The normally composed Josefina Vidal should be forgiven if she sometimes becomes annoyed, forlornly glancing off into space while she scratches her head in bewilderment. I mean, after all...she is Cuba's prime decision-maker on all things American and she has to deal with the ongoing Havana-Miami-Washington soap opera that features such things as hijacked Cuban planes, Miami courtrooms, and the break-up of Ana's and Juan's marriage when it fell victim to the endless bickering between the pugnacious revolutionaries in Cuba and the determined Batistianos in America.
Diplomat extraordinaire, Josefina Vidal.


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