On this day, when numbers of planned observances of International Human Rights Day were short-circuited by the regime which beat some, threatened more, detained some, corralled others in their homes, a day when 32 Ladies in White managed to march in front the Capitol in Havana, demanding freedom and distributing copies of the Declaration of Human Rights, things in the socialist paradise being so bleak that citizens don't know they have any inherent rights, Anita Snow files an article, which despite mentions of the ladies and the remarks of the Commerce Secretary, is essentially an open platform for Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque to declaim that, despite some "imperfections' Cuba can be "proud" of how it has treated its people. After all, you won't find any children squeeging windshields he maintains.
So what is the problem? The problem is that the unknowing peruse the headlines and are left to think that Cuba treats its people well. After all, if it weren't true, AP wouldn't let it leave uncontested, would they? Must be those nasty robber baron exiles in Miami making up lies. Now, if they are really interested and read the article, they are only a little better off. They are left with the impression that things in Cuba are not that bad. Other than a nice and sanitary reference to "political prisoners," there is no light shed on the most oppressive of States in the Western Hemisphere. No recognition that failing to toe the party line can result in charges of "pre-criminal dangerousness" and imprisonment, no mention of the lack of true due process. No allusion to Oscar Biscet's original 4 by 5 cell where he lived in the darkness with only a hole for his sanitary needs, no description of the conditions that cause the aforementioned political prisoners to go on hunger strikes and sew their mouths shut in desperation. No hat tip to the death sentence by malevolent neglect, the refusal of medical care, ad inifinitum.
There is no acknowledgement of an atmosphere of fear, in which your neighbors in the CDR are encharged with spying on you, dragging you out to vote where the outcome is a foregone conclusion, and rabbles are choreographed to harass, threaten and beat dissidents. Streets where he whose name may not be uttered is indicated with a gesture denoting a beard. It is a place where information is so strictly controlled that citizens may not have internet access and private individuals at great personal peril create impromptu libraries with tourist castoffs and prerevolutionary relics, the only free and unfettered reading material on the island.
This article which presents the pretty words of the regime with no qualifications essentially maintains that his spew is true. It not only does harm to the Cuban people whose plight remains unreported; it also does a disservice to its readers, particularly in the United States; and on this day in particular its business as usual focus is a disgrace.
Contrast that with the article by Sara Miller Llana in the Christian Science Monitor which details the beating of Belinda Salas Tapanes. I was wrong in my earlier post on Babalu: at least one reporter cared.