Friday, June 20, 2008

Words Matter

As we all know, the Europeans have voted to lift the “symbolic” sanctions against Cuba. No surprise there. But when I was reading about it on CNN, I came across a word, a word that opens all sorts of avenues of speculation.

The CNN report by Robin Oakley describes the United States’ stance thus:

The United States' trade blockade on Cuba, imposed almost 50 years ago, is not affected by the decision, but National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe expressed disappointment over the move.

Take a gander here at the word “blockade,” which carries all sorts of interesting connotations, as if a line of American frigates, cannons at the ready, were blocking Havana harbor. Okay, enough associations. How about accuracy? Since Cuba is free to trade with the entire rest of the world, not to mention that the United States is its major food supplier, the use of the word is inaccurate. The rodent in the case, however, is the choice of that particular term when the most widely used word for the United State’s restrictions is “embargo.” In fact, let’s see… who uses the term “blockade”? Oh, yes, the Cuban regime. One might wonder why someone reporting for a major news network would choose to parrot regime propaganda and why this same network would allow one of its reporters to use a term that is not only inaccurate, but which in fact makes up part of the regime’s mythology.

The author is, I believe, British. For me that is almost as scary as the European move. Words matter.

Cross-posted at Babalublog

No comments: