One of our “friends” on the left has truly surprised me, pleasantly so. David Corn takes Ricardo Alarcon, AKA Fidel Castro’s parrot, to task for his hypocrisy in his blog on The Nation’s website:
… (Cuba’s National Assembly president and, as noted before, Castro parrot Ricardo) Alarcon’s concern for the plight of this one author is comical–in a dark fashion–for he heads a government that does not allow its citizens to challenge openly the conventional wisdom of the Castro regime. There is no free press in Alarcon’s country, no freedom of expression. There is no “passionate love of truth” among the rulers of Cuba. Alarcon is crying for (dead sociologist and pro-Castro author C. Wright) Mills, while his government does even worse to Cuban writers than the FBI did to Mills.
Holy imprisoned journalists, Batman, did David Corn just say that about Castro?
Yes, Robin, and there’s more:
For some “passionate truth” about the state of intellectual freedom within Cuba, let’s turn to the Committee To Protect Journalists’ most recent annual report on Cuba. (By the way, Nation publisher emeritus Victor Navasky is a CPJ board member.) The report notes that CPJ “named Cuba one of the world’s 10 Most Censored Countries.” It explains:
The government owns and controls all media outlets and restricts Internet access. The three main newspapers represent the views of the Communist Party and other organizations controlled by the government.
No freedom to write. No freedom to surf the Internet. And no freedom to report:
The media operate under the supervision of the Communist Party’s Department of Revolutionary Orientation, which develops and coordinates propaganda strategies. Those who try to work as independent reporters are harassed, detained, threatened with prosecution or jail, or barred from traveling. Their relatives are threatened with dismissal from their jobs. A small number of foreign correspondents report from Havana, but Cubans do not ever see their reports.
And what does Alarcon’s government do to brave souls who try to act as independent journalists? CPJ says:
Cuba continued to be one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists, second only to China. During 2006, two imprisoned journalists were released, but two more were jailed….
Of the 24 journalists who remained imprisoned, 22 were jailed in a massive March 2003 crackdown on the independent press. Their prison sentences on antistate charges ranged from 14 to 27 years. Many of them were jailed far from their homes, adding to the heavy burden on their families. Their families have described unsanitary prison conditions, inadequate medical care, and rotten food. Some imprisoned journalists were being denied religious guidance, and most shared cells with hardened criminals. Many were allowed family visits only once every three months and marital visits only once every four months–a schedule of visits far less frequent than those allowed most inmates. Relatives were harassed for talking to the foreign press and protesting the journalists’ incarceration.
Imagine a Cuban who wants to write and publish a Cuban version of The Power Elite. That person would be locked up in a modern-day dungeon by Alarcon and his comrades. Alarcon, thus, has no standing to bemoan the harassment of Mills or to pontificate about the glories of pursuing establishment-defying truths.
Now, naturally, Mr. Corn can’t let an opportunity to take a shot at President Bush pass without taking said shot:
Stating the obvious about the gross absence of political and human rights within Cuba should not be equated with support for the economic embargo maintained by the Bush administration against Cuba.
Nevertheless, it’s refreshing to read this type of stuff coming from the left.