“Foreign reporters -- preferably American -- were much more valuable to us at that time (1957-59) than any military victory. Much more valuable than recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda." (Che Guevara 1959)
“Reporters in Havana are either insensitive to the pain of the opposition “or in clear complicity” with the government.” (Cuban torture-victim Jorge Luis García Pérez known as Antunez in the Miami Herald 8/7/2013)
Note the time span between the quotes above. Few propaganda recruitment drives and PR campaigns in modern history have been as phenomenally successful or as enduring as those of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
During the past few weeks, for instance, the Castro regime was caught red-handed shipping a huge tanker-load of illegal weapons (including missile equipment) to North Korea, a fleet of Russian warships visited Havana, Cuba’s vice president visited Iran to “expand ties,” Cuba’s vice foreign Minister visited Pyongyang to foment "closer cooperation," and Amnesty International decried the wave of terror against Cuban dissidents, naming five of them as “prisoners of conscience.”
But a quick Cuba news scan will show that the top Cuba item reported in the U.S. during the period was about a paddleboarder who went from Havana to Key West to “promote peace, love and friendship between the peoples of Cuba and of U.S.” This week birthday greetings to Fidel Castro on his 87th filled the media bucket.
Castro jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin during the Great Terror, murdered more Cubans in his first three years in power than Hitler murdered Germans during his first six and came closest of anyone in history to starting a worldwide nuclear war. In the above process he converted a nation with a higher per-capita income than half of Europe and a huge influx of immigrants into one that repels Haitians and boasts the highest suicide rate in the hemisphere.
Who would guess any of this from reading the mainstream media?
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.
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