The Soft-Peddling of Castro’s Tyranny
Ken Shepherd of the media blog NewsBusters has an excellent post about the noticeable absence of a certain word in main stream media reports about Fidel Castro’s announcement that he is stepping down as ruler of Cuba.
The level of excusing and tip-toeing around the truth about Castro is staggering. As of 2:13 ET when you do a Google News search for “Fidel Castro” you come up with 7,520 results. Add the word dictator after it and you come back with 1,417. That’s 81 percent less.
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None of those articles directly referred to Castro as a dictator.
Some quick history so we’re all on the same page. The US Department of State summarizes Castro’s ascension to power thusly:
Although he had promised a return to constitutional rule and democratic elections along with social reforms, Castro used his control of the military to consolidate his power by repressing all dissent from his decisions, marginalizing other resistance figures, and imprisoning or executing thousands of opponents. An estimated 3,200 people were executed by the Castro regime between 1959-62 alone. As the revolution became more radical, hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled the island.
To this day, there is a complete absence on the island of free speech, a free press or anything ressembling a genuine justice system demonstrated, for example, in 1989 by the kangaroo court trial and swift execution of Cuban General Arnaldo Ochoa Sánchez and his associates.
Turning back to one of the themes (the locale?) of Anchor Rising, I stumbled across some Castro sympathy here in Rhode Island completely by accident last week. In the process of researching late night eateries in Providence for the sake of Senator Juan Pichardo (there are none open past 1:00 am on a weeknight so it looks like the Senator will have to continue using his Pichardo Card to obtain after hours restaurant service), I clicked on the website of a Providence restaurant called the Cuban Revolution. After checking out their hours, I glanced over the rest of the front page, where I was a little dismayed to find the following:
Borne of a desire to rid Cuba of the US supported dictator Fulgencio Batista who ran Cuba as a Mafia-controlled “Latin Las Vegas,” the Cuban Revolution was a popular rebellion of the masses led by the charismatic Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Athough it’s primary goal was to rid Cuba of decades of corporate and political corruption fueled by the heavy hand of American imperialism, it sought to restore basic human rights and an identity to a beautiful land of proud and distinguished people completely independent of the corporate interests of the United States.
Although we sympathize with those whose lives may have been horribly disrupted by the Revolution, we blame a failed and misguided US policy that for decades supported the tyranny of Batista while allowing the Mafia to run wild… notwithstanding the subsequent failure of the US to embrace the Cuban Revolution and the US historical inability to support an independent and vibrant Cuba.
My understanding is that the food at the Cuban Revolution is excellent. The problem is the views of the Cuban revolution expressed on their website, to wit: Is the writer of these words under the impression that basic human rights were restored to Cuba when Castro (literally) took office? Are we to understand that corruption is acceptable in the pursuit of some things but not others? Do evil deeds – in this case, of certain US officials – justify evil deeds? If so, does that mean that evil deeds hypothetically provoked by Castro are in turn justified? Suppose another coup occurred in Cuba, one which employed the same violence as Castro, Guevara and the gang, and a pro-capitalist dictatorship were installed in Cuba. Would the writer pen the same words of sympathy and justification about that coup as s/he did about Castro’s? As for the last phrase, I’m sure I speak for lots of Americans and American politicians when I say, we most certainly do support an independent and vibrant Cuba. How would embracing a dictatorship advance that vision?
The sentiments in the above excerpt are not exclusive to their author; that was the point of referencing them. On the contrary, they are representative of an unfortunate tendency seemingly to adhere to a section of the political spectrum instead of to principles.