Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cuba and Memory Lane

Yesterday on ATC Melissa Block interviewed Carlos Gutierrez, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, who helped lead the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba, a Bush-created commission. Block admirably challenged Gutierrez when he claimed that there is no way to know what Cuban dissidents since they "are not being interviewed." Block said, "Well, in fact, we interviewed Mr. Espinosa yesterday." Oscar Espinosa Chepe is an internationally recognized victim of Cuban government persecution. Block even quoted Sr. Espinosa as saying, "We request they [US] do no meddle in our country."

However, the report opens with Block noting that "three weeks ago that commission released a 40 page plan on hastening the transition to a democratic society," yet at no time during the interview is this premise that the US supports democracy in Latin America challenged. This is a glaring oversight since even a brief look back shows that the US has consistently supported state terror and torture regimes when they have been friendly to US business interests in the region. This reminded me of the unbelievable bragging about US policy in Central America that Dick Cheney engaged in during the 2004 campaign.

I am not suggesting that NPR be an apologist for the despicable human rights record of the Castro dictatorship, but it is critical to report on the sordid history of US foreign policy in the region so that people can deduce what kind of future the US government has in mind for Cuba [Haiti and Nicaragua are good examples.] And finally, covering this history is very relevant because the main villains of the 1980s are back in power and setting the current agenda in the Middle East.

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