Anti-Castro news makes MSM?!?!

Holy cow, the Apocalypse must be coming soon! I found an article about an anti-Castro journalist winning a Spanish journalism award on both the Miami Herald’s and ABC News’ respective websites:

Cuban dissident writer Raul Rivero has won a prestigious Spanish journalism award for his work as a journalist reporting on his native country, where he spent two years in jail on charges of trying to undermine President Fidel Castro’s government.

Rivero, who is 62 and moved to Madrid in 2005 after being released from prison, won one of several Ortega y Gasset prizes that were announced Wednesday. The awards, now in their 24th year, are given by Spain’s top-selling newspaper, El Pais.

The jury voted unanimously to give Rivero the prize for journalism in recognition of his “tenacious and committed battle for journalistic freedom” in Cuba.

It praised Rivero, who is also a poet, for a life’s work that is “very original and of extraordinary literary value.”

Rivero was among 75 independent journalists, opposition politicians and other activists who were arrested in 2003.

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We’ve been saying it all along…

…and only now does the MSM begin to see.

Cuban exiles and Cuban-Americans have, for the last 40-plus years, saying that until Castro is gone, Cuba will not be free. Today, the Los Angeles Times appears to be saying as much in a piece titled “Hold the reforms — Castro is back:”

After Fidel Castro was too sick even to make an appearance at the September summit in Havana of the Non-Aligned Movement or at his delayed 80th birthday celebrations in December, the government said that a thorough review was underway to identify, and presumably correct, flaws in the communist ideology guiding the country.

“Now it looks like cold water’s getting poured over all that,” (Phil Peters, vice president of the Lexington Institute near Washington and a veteran analyst of Cuban affairs) said. “That, to me, is the clearest sign that Fidel Castro is getting better and getting closer to coming back to office.”

As noted before on this blog, when Castro feels fine, Cuba doesn’t.

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A close look at recent stories about Cuba’s life expectancy

La Nueva Cuba has an excellent piece on the recent fawning news articles about Cuba’s impressive-sounding life expectancy, or, as they put it, “Cuba’s Long Lie Expectancy.”

It seems the MSM was quick to jump on any news that makes Castro’s dictatorship look good, especially if it makes the U.S. look bad by comparison. But if they had had a shred of honesty and they’d have taken a closer look, it wouldn’t have made Castro look so good.

And they can’t have that, now, can they?

Media: Communist regimes are known to falsify and distort statistics, but they rarely get away with it unless Western media play along. They scored a big hit recently with data about Cuba’s storied life expectancy.

In a widely distributed news story, the Associated Press last week explained why Cubans were living such long, healthy lives under their 47-year totalitarian dictatorship. Taking the word of Cuban officials, it credited the island’s “mild climate,” “free medical care” and “low-stress Caribbean lifestyle.” Right on cue, CBS gave “thanks to the socialist island state’s free health-care system” that’s there so “fortunately.”

But media claims that socialism lets Cubans live longer makes no sense. Cuba’s living conditions portend anything but a long life. The media reports, moreover, often misinterpret the data. “The average Joe reading these stories doesn’t have all the background, and can be fooled by propaganda,” says Cuban author Humberto Fontova.

The MSM misinterpreting data?!?!?! I’m shocked, shocked!

In an interview with IBD, he (University of Pittsburgh professor Carmelo Mesa-Lagos, a Cuban demographics expert) explained that Cubans often do live long lives, but not because of balmy weather, good health care or any other reasons cited by Cuba’s propagandists.

From sanitation to housing, “Cubans have experienced deterioration in all health indicators,” Mesa-Lagos said. As a result, Cubans have seen an uptick in diseases such as hepatitis and acute diarrhea. The increase of water-borne diseases does not correlate with long life spans anywhere else in the world, he said.

Food and critical vitamin shortages, meanwhile, were also major problems in Cuba, notes Andy S. Gomez, assistant provost of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. “A deficit of Vitamin C and a lack of appropriate diet has caused Cubans to suffer eye diseases,” he said.

Mesa-Lagos agreed, saying that a few years ago, elderly Cubans experienced an epidemic of sudden blindness due to vitamin shortages. Worse yet, a third of Cuban doctors had been shipped to Venezuela, leaving many with no access to any health care at all, he added.

But, but, but, what about Cuba’s outstanding infant mortality rate?

“…How do you achieve this?” Mesa-Lagos asks. Countries differ, for example, in how they count births. If a newborn doesn’t live more than 24 hours, it often doesn’t show up in infant mortality statistics. The figure is depressed even further by abortion, he said, noting that Cubans are often pressured into abortions if there is a chance a baby might require extra medical care.

At seven in 10 pregnancies, Cuba’s abortion rate is Latin America’s highest, said Fontova. Cuba also has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, which also doesn’t show up in expectancy data.

Gee, I wonder why Cuba has such a high suicide rate? Maybe the lack of hope?

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But, but, but…

Castro did away with the whole “Cuba was America’s brothel” thing, didn’t he?

Well, of course he did! Why, instead of being America’s brothel, Cuba is now Europe’s brothel!

Foreigners have come to Cuba for years seeking escorts for nights out and sex in exchange for gifts or cash to help the family. Cubans dub them ‘yumas’, a term adopted for Americans after a 1957 western set in the town of Yuma on the US border with Mexico.

Traveling here a decade ago, when Cubans were going hungry from the loss of Soviet aid, I saw countless beer-bellied foreign men smooching young women, and mid-forties women with hot young Cuban guys.

There you go, equal-opportunity prostitution, brought to you courtesy of socialism!

While the lovebirds head for bed my hostess shows me photographs of her daughter’s ‘quinceanera’, or 15th birthday, which marks a coming of age for girls in many Spanish-speaking countries.

‘She’s pretty,’ I say, admiring the showy ball gowns and skimpy outfits in the photos. ‘Will she get a yuma one day?’

‘A yuma?’ the mother snaps. ‘I would kill her.’

Yep, another bright socialistic future in Castro’s Cuba.

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Still more news about Cuba ignored by the MSM

On Yahoo! News, from the Christian Science Monitor:

On Friday, a hospitalized Fidel Castro met with a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo, Wu Guanzheng. It may be no coincidence that Mr. Wu’s specialty is Communist Party discipline.

No coincidence? Ya think?

But there’s more:

Meanwhile, Cuba’s rickety economy is beset by continuing problems. This year’s sugar harvest was well below normal, and tourism is down by 7 percent. Cuba faces a continuing shortage of oil and has been existing on deeply discounted shipments from Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chávez, sees Castro as a leftist brother in arms. Cuba’s own oil is heavy with sulphur, which is highly corrosive.

Some power plants have been shut down as a result of using the damaging Cuban oil. Oil from Venezuela was intended for Cuban domestic use but the Cuban regime is selling some of it for badly needed cash to solve some of its financial problems.

While Venezuela’s Mr. Chávez idolizes Castro, nations such as Spain that may once have been friendly to the Cuban regime are expressing concern about its continuing clampdown and imprisonment of dissidents and would-be reformers.

Two former Polish presidents, Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski, issued a letter in March to the Cuban people, drawing on Poland’s experience of abandoning communism for democracy. Published in the Miami Herald, the letter said Poland’s example was a “testimony to the victory of agreement over conflict, dialogue over quarrel, good over evil.”

The letter said the “time of change is imminent. The breath of awakening democracy in Cuba can be felt even … in Poland. Be persistent and in solidarity, be patient and indomitable, ready to construct common future for all Cubans, so that your beautiful country can become a friendly home to all those of your citizens who today inhabit the island and those who have been forced to abandon it.” That last phrase is an obvious reference to the large Cuban exile community in Miami.

In a trenchant challenge to the Castro regime, the letter reminded it that “the time of tyrants and running the country while following ‘the only right line’ is coming to an end. A triumphant march of democracy cannot be stopped. We in Poland know this better than anyone else.”

The letter was timed for the fourth anniversary of a Cuban crackdown on dissenters called the “black spring,” an event that the letter called “yet another blow against the democratic opposition.”

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More news about Cuba ignored by the MSM

I suppose when international leaders speak out AGAINST Castro, it’s not important enough to be covered widely. From the ÄŒeské noviny, the only place I could find this story:

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel called for greater international solidarity for the benefit of freedom and human rights in Cuba, at the start of a two-day meeting of the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba (ICDC) in Berlin. Havel addressed his appeal mainly to the European Union.

“Everything that serves human rights and freedoms must be paid attention,” Havel said.

He stressed the importance of international support, referring to his personal experience from opposition to the former regime in Czechoslovakia.

The ICDC brings together politicians and intellectuals. It was created on Havel’s initiative four years ago. Its members include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar and Nobel Literature Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa from Peru.

“Europe should catch up with the United States in its effort at human rights,” Havel said in an allusion to the EU’s effort to compete with the USA mainly in the economy.

He clearly pointed to the EU’s years-long disunity on the totalitarian regime in Cuba.

The Czech Republic and some other post-communist EU member countries are among the major critics of the Cuban regime and refuse to cooperate with it while some western countries are more accommodating towards the regime of Fidel Castro.

Maybe the reason for a lack of coverage is the self-important MSM can’t pronounce ÄŒeské noviny?

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You won’t read this in the MSM

If Castro farts or Cuba issues some ridiculous statement, it gets picked up all over the MSM. Meanwhile, this is being ignored:

The United States has praised a statement from representatives of the Cuban opposition movement calling for peaceful democratic change in Cuba.

In its statement, released April 16 in Spanish, members of most of Cuba’s leading opposition groups said they were united in their call for Cuba to change peacefully from communist rule to democracy, freedom, social justice and human rights for all the Cuban people.

The statement added that the task of achieving democratic change in Cuban society is up to “Cubans and only Cubans.”

The Bush administration’s Cuba transition coordinator, Caleb McCarry, told USINFO April 20 that the statement is an “important message to the Cuban people and the outside world from Cuba’s peaceful democratic opposition.”

The United States, said McCarry, “supports the right of the Cuban people to define a democratic future for their country.”

McCarry oversees day-to-day operations of the U.S. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. The commission, co-chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, was created in 2003 to ensure that the U.S. government is prepared to assist Cuba’s peaceful transition to democracy.

Michael Parmly, chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, added that U.S. policy “has been to give the Cuban people the lead in deciding their country’s future.” Parmly told USINFO that the statement from the opposition Cuban group, dubbed “United for Freedom,” represents the “views of many Cubans who have been advocating for human rights and democratic change for a long time.”

The Cuban opposition’s statement also urged the release of all political prisoners from Cuban prisons who have been “imprisoned unjustly for defending, promoting, and peacefully exercising universally recognized human rights.”

More than 20 members of Cuba’s opposition movement have signed the statement.

Signatories include prominent dissident leaders Oswaldo Payá of the Christian Liberation Movement; Elizardo Sanchez of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation; Martha Beatriz Roque and Rene Gomez Manzano of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society; and members of the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) opposition movement, which consists of wives and other close female relatives of imprisoned Cuban dissidents. Among its many honors, this last group was named one of the three winners of the 2005 Sakharov Prize for the promotion of freedom of thought.

But there is no media bias. And I’m Santa Claus.

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