At a momentous moment in Cuban history -- with long-time strongman Fidel Castro in a sickbed and transferring his power to his brother -- foreign journalists are being shut out of the Communist island.What I really like about this passage is the apparent naivete of the press. "Hey, something really big and potentially negative is happening in a Communist nation, and those guys won't let the free press work within their borders! "
Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa reported Thursday that more than 150 foreign journalists trying to enter Cuba with tourist visas have been turned away at the Havana airport since the government announced Castro had internal bleeding and faced "complicated surgery."
Journalists need a work visa to work legally in Cuba, and a spokesman of the government-controlled International Press Center told dpa there would be no exceptions.
"Across the whole world there is currently great interest (in Cuba), but nowhere on the planet can a journalist report with a tourist visa," the agency quoted an unnamed press center representative as saying.
The representative told the agency that no journalists have been expelled from the country, and none are being denied information. Castro, however, in a statement issued in his name Tuesday said that information about his health is a "state secret" that could be exploited by the enemy U.S. government.
Well, yeah. They're Communists. You think the Bush administration is command-and-control? The Commies don't exactly love the free press in the best of circumstances. They certainly don't cotton to the press at "key" moments, like when they're trying to hold onto dictatorial power by covering up the death's-door condition of the Great Bearded Leader. The tone of the Editor and Publisher story suggests the writer doesn't know that already. Is it a misguided attempt at objectivity or ignorance? Either way, sheesh.
This Toronto Star reporter found out exactly how the Cuban government feels about the free press. He's now back in Toronto.
Erick at RedState does a quick "what we know," and concludes that if Fidel doesn't show up on his birthday (August 13), he's dead.
Raul Castro is strangely absent from the story, too, but RedState Radio was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with the elusive newly-minted dictator.
Babalu Blog explains why Cuban-Americans vote Republican.
Another reason-- Charlie Rangel (emphasis mine, but read the whole excerpt if you've got time):
All right, Allah. Now you're just trying to tick poor Charlie off.
Let's switch gears, talk about Fidel Castro. There have been people dancing in the streets in Miami thinking he's dead or close to it.
RANGEL: That's obscene.
RANGEL: Because, no matter what the forces, here's an old guy. You like him, you don't like him, but to be dancing in the street hoping that he would die, so you can go to Cuba when you and your parents have never even been to Cuba, it's politically ridiculous.
CAVUTO: But if your family fled from Cuba, and you had relatives who were killed in Cuba because they were against Castro, I — I would be doing a jig, too, right?
RANGEL: You would be doing a jig. But I hope you wouldn't expect your president, the leader of the free world, not only to be supporting you, but to be asking for money to overthrow Castro, not knowing who follows Castro. It's ridiculous to have an embargo...
CAVUTO: Well, are you saying you're for Castro?
RANGEL: No. I want a democratic change. But I don't believe dancing in the street and spreading out money in Havana and in Miami is the a way to do it.
CAVUTO: Charlie, this guy killed a lot of people.
RANGEL: Well, I wonder how many people we killed at Guantanamo. I mean, we don't have the human rights record.
CAVUTO: Well, wait — wait a minute. Are you equating Fidel Castro with what's happening at Guantanamo?
RANGEL: You bet your life, if we're — if we are talking about human rights.
CAVUTO: So, President Bush is just like Fidel Castro?
But what I'm saying is, if you want to talk about the inhuman human rights that Castro has, in arresting people and not presenting them with why they were arrested, not giving them lawyers, and having a secret trial, hey, we're doing the same thing...
CAVUTO: All right.
Well, a lot of the people who are dancing in the streets in Miami remember that the opportunities that they once had, or their fathers and mothers and grandmothers and grandfathers used to have...
CAVUTO: ... they don't have anymore.
RANGEL: Let me...
CAVUTO: So — so, let me tell you that they're — they're dancing and having a great time, because they want him to be dead.
RANGEL: Let me tell you...
CAVUTO: Now, are — are they wrong in wanting a guy like that to be dead?
RANGEL: Let me tell you a very, very quick story. A guy stopped me in the Capitol. He says, "You're doing a great job, but, on Cuba, you are 100 percent wrong."
I said, "Why?"
He said, "Because Castro took everything away that my grandparents have, just took the property."
I said, "What did he take?"
He said, "You know, I don't know. I have been telling that story for so long, I don't even know what they had." He says, "But I'm to the talking to you, because you're taking away my inheritance."
CAVUTO: Well, do you think he's killed hundreds, thousands? How many?
RANGEL: I have no idea. You know, this is...
CAVUTO: But you would shed a tear when he leaves?
RANGEL: This is the Castro that we endorsed when he overthrew Batista, you know. This is the same guy. This is the Castro that we wanted to normalize relationship with and...
CAVUTO: But I seem to remember the Bay of Pigs. I seem to remember nine U.S. presidents trying...
RANGEL: It — are you...
CAVUTO: ... to do their best to make sure that he — he would go away.
RANGEL: What kind of American can we be if we're sending people over there to kill Castro, that we're invading countries?
I would like to believe that Americans are not afraid — afraid of Castro and his communism. We should open the doors, have trade.
CAVUTO: All right.
RANGEL: People should be able to visit.