“Cuba’s new relationship with the United States has opened ways of exploring its complex history and culture… cruise from culturally diverse Santiago de Cuba to Havana aboard the 64-passenger sailing yacht Le Ponant. Return from this 11-day adventure with a new appreciation of Cuba.”
Well? What could be more historically fitting than the New York Times helping Americans “appreciate” (and further enrich) the Castro Family Fiefdom?
This Potemkin excursion by the mother of all fake news purveyors on Cuba to Cuba is titled the “History, Culture and Contemporary Life of Cuba.” Fine let’s start with the New York Times’ splendid history of “reporting” on Cuba:
“This is not a Communist Revolution in any sense of the term. “In Cuba there are no communists in positions of control. Fidel Castro is not only not a Communist, he is decidedly anti-Communist.” (Herbert Matthews, New York Times, July 1959.)
(Fidel Castro, by the way, had seriously “colluded” with KGB agent Nikolai Leonev and his Cuban KGB colleague Osvaldo Sanchez since 1955 when they met in Mexico City to plan the future Stalinization of Cuba.)
“Fidel Castro has strong ideas of liberty, democracy, social justice, the need to restore the Constitution….but it amounts to a new deal for Cuba, radical, democratic and therefore anti-Communist.” (Herbert Matthews, New York Times, February 1957.)
Then in April of 1959--amidst an appalling bloodbath of Cubans by firing squad ordered by Fidel Castro but mostly administered by his ever-faithful Igor, Che Guevara--Castro made a special visit to the New York Times offices in New York. After a warm greeting from Arthur Hayes Sulzberger a beaming Fidel Castro personally decorated a beaming Herbert Matthews with a specially-minted medal expressing his bloody regime’s highest honor.
“To our American friend Herbert Matthews with gratitude,” beamed Castro as the flashbulbs popped. “Without your help, and without the help of the New York Times, the Revolution in Cuba would never have been.”
“With the guidance of New York Times-selected experts,” gushes the NY Times cruise ad, “get a unique perspective on a land long inaccessible to Americans.”
One of these “experts” is New York Times long-time Latin American reporter Anthony De Palma, who also authored the book “The Man Who invented Fidel Castro”, about his late and infamous colleague Herbert Matthews. Though (semi) billed as a mea-culpa of sorts by the New York Times, De Palma’s book in fact upholds the Times’ long and proud tradition of Fake News on Cuba. To wit:
De Palma starts with a nail-biting account of the “perils (!)” his late colleague Herbert Matthews faced while clandestinely (!) setting up the interviews with Fidel Castro in the hills! Then he describes the death-defying (!) journey to those ground-breaking interviews.
“He (Matthews) did not see anyone from the Batista Government because he feared that doing so might raise suspicion about his presence in Cuba,” starts De Palma in his book... “Matthews had decided that that the best way of getting past the cordon of troops surrounding the Sierra was to bring along (his wife) Nancie and pretend to be a couple of middle-aged American tourists out with some young Cuban friends.”
“Matthews confided to her that many young Cubans were risking their lives (!) to smuggle him into the mountains, so it was important to be discreet during the long trip.” The long hours on the rough road singing Cuban songs or talking about the revolutionary movement for which they were risking their lives(!) Matthews was enthralled by his secret passage through Cuba (!).”
“A soldier stepped into the road in front of them!” De Palma writes. “It was the first real test of their plan. He peered inside the car, checking out the young Cubans in the front and the American couple in the back. They all held their breath for a second, their hearts racing…He took a quick look around the car and smiled, then waved them through..”
“WHOOOH!” The fingernail-less reader of De Palma’s book exhales! “That was close!”
In fact, the trip by Matthews to Castro's “secret” camp in the hills was actually arranged by the U.S. ambassador to Cuba with Batista's own help! During Congressional hearings, Arthur Gardner, U.S. ambassador to Cuba at the time of Matthews’ trip, testified to this under oath!
The New York Times’ prize-winning investigative reporter Anthony De Palma wrote his book about Matthews in 2006, almost exactly a half century after the New York Times’ prize-winning investigative reporter Herbert Matthews wrote his famous Castro articles. Which means—not to take anything away from DePalma’s heart-pounding prose—that for 48 years sworn testimony on the public record that makes a hilarious hash of De Palma’s account of Matthews adventure was available to anyone willing to devote about 60 seconds to investigate the issue!
In fact, Matthews trip to the Sierra for the Castro interview was –not only approved by Batista (who thought Castro was dead at the time so it would do no harm)--but provided a police escort by Batista to insure Matthews safety every step of the way! To wit:
From the Congressional hearings titled: COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY UNITED STATES SENATE EIGHTY-SIXTH CONGRESS SECOND SESSION PART 9. AUGUST 27, 30, 1960
Senator DODD. “Did Herbert Matthews ever contact you while you were the Ambassador in Cuba.”
Ambassador Gardner: “I made it possible actually for Herbert Matthews to go down and have this interview (with Castro), because he asked me.”
Senator DODD. “Yes. I wanted to ask you, about that. He (Herbert Matthews) did ask for assistance in arranging an interview with Castro? “
Mr. GARDNER. “He did.”
Senator DODD: “And this was arranged?”
Mr. GARDNER: “Yes.”
Every item above thoroughly documented here.