Cuba: US Interest Section's Ticker Shanigans and Reuters
Castro visited the "mysterious" construction site in front of the US Interests Section in Havana last night. He said he did not want to "ruin the suprise" by discolosing what is being built. But my bet is something very witty.
Reuters has sullied themselves with it's speculative headline, "Cuba Moves to Block US Electronic Message Board." Despite evidence to the contrary (you don't need to dig up a whole area to construct a wall) and direct confirmation from Cuban workers (and now Castro) of a "suprise" project, Reuters chose to run this headline, which found its way onto every Cuban-American website in a few hours. Reuters needs to answer why it implies that Cuban workers are lying about this when the results will be seen soon enough? They need to answer why a headline asserts something that their own reporting does not? And is it ok to rely on a spokesman from the US Interests Section as a single source for this headline? It is probably not even possible to block the messages, as the anti-Castro Cubans point out amongst their giddiness over the "US Scoring a Run."
This is all a very well thought out plot by the Americans. Try to provoke Castro to make him look like a bad guy. But Castro knows this game, he's seen it a million times. He is not about to fall into this stupid trap. Remember (as I pointed out below) even though Castro never called for a march because of this stupid "ticker," and did not mention it, except for acknowledging that they turned it on right when he was about to speak - the US State Dept., Interests Section and most mainstream press went straight into their prepared lines about Castro being scared of MLK and UN speech. Give me a break. Cubans probably know more about MLK and the UN's conception of human rights than Americans.
State Dept. Briefing 1/24/06
QUESTION: On the messages -- on the messages in the Cuban embassy, do you have any update on anything -- how the situation is evolving in Havana?
MR. MCCORMACK: I think there was -- I saw on the television that there were some protests down in Havana organized by the Castro regime, monitored by the secret police there. I find it ironic that they are -- the Cuban Government is organizing these protests against these messages that are being put up on the US Interests Section in Havana concerning -- with quotes "Freedom" from Martin Luther King and other topics. I don't see why that should be a matter -- such a source of concern for the Cuban Government, but nonetheless they have seen it fit to organize these large protests in -- against, essentially, freedom. So I think it's more of the same from the Cuban Government.
Update: I sent the Reuters reporter Anthony Boadle an email expressing my views on this. Maybe I was a little nicer due to reading some of his decent previous articles, (like this on AIDS and this on US lies over Angola) but still firm on wanting an explanation. Here is how he replied to me:
No question the ticker is a carefully-planned provocation. What
exactly the workers are building out there remains to be seen and Fidel is
not spilling the beans. He doesn't give his enemies anything for free.
But it will surely spoil the view. As for the march, it was ostensibly
about Posada, but clearly the protest was called to rebuff the U.S.
ticker. Fidel is pissed off. I do believe he will finesse this one by
building a monument, maybe with very tall flagpoles.
As you can see, he retains his paradigm of skepticism regarding Cuba, saying "it will surely spoil the view" and that the march was "clearly... called to rebuff the US ticker." but then maybe he backtracks and says it will be a monument, maybe with flagpoles. I know the headline was not his, but it was surely irresponsible. Even the Miami Herald had the sense to write "may be blocked." It seems increasingly apparent to me now that perhaps this is all designed for Florida consumption. With all the praises Bush is getting in Cuban-American bloggerland, after weeks of increasing frustration (over baseball and "Wet Foot, Dry Foot"), maybe this is Karl Rove election strategy in motion??