Cuba: Strange Inconsistencies in Yoani's Account of "Beating"
I wonder how many people in the Western Hemisphere are abused by police officers each year. All the victims of police abuse in the US, Mexico, Dominican republic, Guatemala, Colombia, Jamaica, Venezuela, Brazi, etc. How many of the victims every get a first-hand Reuters and AP article written about the abuse just a few hours after it occurs? How many get any articles in the US at all?
Well if it happens in one country, odds are that US audiences will hear about it. Cuba.
In the most recent case, (12 million hits per month) Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez was supposedly the victim of a great crime of state violence today. The story broke on the blogs and then she spoke with the Miami Herald. The Herald piece talks about a true police beating, complete with "karate holds," "judo," "punches," "blows" and "being violently thrown on the street."
The weird thing is that NONE of this police violence was mentioned at all in a Reuters article where she was interviewed right after the Herald piece. There is nothing about a beating or violence at all. The closest detail is that she says her PURSE was "thrown on the street as they drove off." The article, in fact, clearly states that Yoani "had no injuries, she said."
Another critical inconsistency is that she says "there was no time to resist" getting taken in the (presumably) security services car, in the Reuters account. In the Herald piece, she says she resisted and refused to get in the car, and that is when the violence occurred. That and also when she took a piece of paper with information on it from the agents pocket, and put it in her mouth to destroy it.
I certainly can not explain why one account sounds like an episode from a low budget mafia movie and the other sounds rather typical what has happened in Cuba forever - a dissident is not arrested, bus is prevented from attending a particular anti-Government rally or event. In this case, it seems pretty clear that the Yoani seemed to indeed resist the security forces and then play the aggressor, in taking something from the agent's pocket. Whether any true abusive blows were leveled by a Cuban agent, or whether the act of forcing a resistant person into a car and trying to defend a piece of security information in a pocket is all we are talking about, can not be known at this point. Certainly, no State violence against its people can be tolerated.
I certainly hope for the day when security forces in all countries refrain from abuse. I also know that Cuba does not a big problem in this regard, compared to what takes place in other countries in the region.
But Yoani has achieved her goal. She wroter very early on that she wanted "to know where the line was" in Cuban political life. Whether through her sheer celebrity, her moxie and conjones or too many exaggerations (or lies) - she has run across a Cuban line. Maybe it was visiting too many hostile foreign Embassies? Maybe her cooperation with US Government run entities like Radio Marti? Maybe the Miami friends she's met? Predictably, she claims she was told it is her writings. Well, Yoani could certainly test that hypothesis and refrain from foreign embassies and US propaganda organs for a spell, couldn't she?