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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Lies about Cuba

Cuba has now released some prisoners. The New York Times offers a typical corporate media take on the nature of those released:
The men, who included journalists, a democracy activist and a surgeon, were among 75 people arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms as part of a Cuban government crackdown on dissent in the spring of 2003. The international reaction to the arrests was fierce, with the European Union applying diplomatic sanctions.

The death in February of one of the prisoners, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, after he conducted a long hunger strike to protest prison conditions boosted the pressure on Cuba.
Let's start with the second part, which is completely and utterly false. You can read the complete details here, but in short, Tamayo had nothing whatsoever to do with the famous 75 arrested in 2003. He was a common criminal who had been in and out of jail for various violent crimes since 1993. He "adopted" a "political stance" after he was already in prison. Whether his political beliefs were sincere or not is irrelevant, because they had nothing whatsoever to do with why he was in prison in the first place.

As for the rest, I recommend again reading the entire context of the arrests, elucidated at length by Fidel Castro at the time. Fidel discusses the extensive contacts these people had with the extremely provocative head of the U.S. Interests Section at the time, James Cason. Also note this was immediately preceding the U.S. invasion of Iraq, at a time when U.S. foreign policy called for "regime change" in both Cuba and Iraq. Just what do you think would happen to Americans who met regularly (and received money from), say, the head of the Iranian interests section? My guess is that they too, might end up imprisoned in Cuba...in Guantanamo. Without trials, unlike the 75 Cubans who were arrested, tried, and convicted, using extensive evidence provided by Cuban intelligence agents who had infiltrated those very groups. The Times claim that they were sentenced as part of a crackdown on "dissent" is, in short utterly false. And, by the way, note the words missing from that summary: "arrested and sentenced." No, New York Times, they were arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced. Not "arrested and sentenced." That's what happens to people the U.S. imprisons in Guantanamo (and Bagram and who-knows-where-else). Actually I exaggerate, because they're not actually sentenced, just given implicit sentences of indefinite imprisonment.

By the way, I thought this was also interesting in the Times report:

The dissidents, all of whom suffered health problems in prison, appeared in reasonable condition after seven years behind bars and were clean shaven and wearing freshly ironed shirts.
So, on what basis does the Times claim to know that they "all suffered health problems"? Because they said so?

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