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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


NY Times on Cuba: speculation yes, news no

The New York Times writes about recent events in Cuba:
In his first state reception as Cuba’s president, Raúl Castro met Tuesday not with leftist Latin American leaders like Hugo Chávez and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, nor with Chinese officials, but with the secretary of state of the Vatican, a traditional enemy of Communism and a critic of Cuba’s record on human rights.

Mr. Castro’s decision to begin his tenure by meeting the Vatican’s top diplomat, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a possible go-between with the United States and Europe, reflects his practical, no-nonsense style as well as his greater willingness to put ideology aside to achieve his goals than his brother often showed.
The rest of the article is more endless speculation about the differences between Raúl and Fidel. What it's missing is actual news, or even any credibility in the speculation. Cardinal Bertone's visit, as it turns out, was a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the visit to Cuba by the Pope John Paul II, a visit which was of course hosted by...Fidel Castro. So much for the speculation about how this visit says anything whatsoever about the differences between Raúl and Fidel.

But there was more actual news from this visit. Let Granma tell the story:

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of State of His Holiness Benedict XVI, reiterated in Havana the words of Pope John Paul II during his visit to Cuba in 1998, when he called the U.S. blockade against the island unjust and ethically unacceptable.

In a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque after a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cardinal Bertone added that the restrictions imposed by Washington constitute oppression of the Cuban people and violate their independence.
Funny, I missed those details in the New York Times story. Perhaps because they weren't there.

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