Humberto Fontova’s book, The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro, goes a long way towards filling in the gaps in media coverage of that island dictatorship.
The mainstream media, Fontova claims, consistently and constantly ignores human rights’ violations just off the coast of Florida. Full disclosure: he gives Accuracy in Media credit for not doing the same.
Fontova is himself a Cuban émigré. He has several dozen examples of torture and executions that went unreported by American media outlets includingthe following:
- “On July 14, 2011, only six months after Newsweek’s Tina Brown had pronounced Cuba among the ‘Best Countries in the World,’ an Iberia Airlines jet left Havana and landed in Madrid with a member of the ‘world’s luckiest people’ stowed away. A 23-year-old Cuban man, named Adonis G. B., was curled in the landing gear, crushed to death. Adonis joined an estimated 70,000 Cubans dying (literally) to leave Fidel Castro’s handcrafted kingdom. Almost two million Cubans have made it out alive, from a nation formerly swamped with immigrants.
- “On Christmas Eve 2000, A British Airlines jet flying from Havana opened its landing gear near Heathrow airport, and out dropped two corpses, frozen solid.”
- “’In one week during 1962 we counted more than 400 firing-squad blasts from the execution yards below our cells,’ recalled former Cuban political prisoner and freedom-fighter Roberto Martin-Perez to this writer.”
- “A 17-year-old named Orlando Travieso was armed with only a homemade paddle when he was machine-gunned to death in March, 1991. His crime was trying to flee Cuba on a tiny raft.”
- “Loamis Gonzalez was 15 when he was machine-gunned to death for the same crime the same year.”
- “Owen Delgado was 15 when Castro’s police dragged him out of the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had sought asylum, and clubbed him to death with rifle-butts.”
- “‘They started by beating us with twisted coils of electric cable,’ recalls another former political prisoner, Ezperanza Pena, from exile today.”
- “‘On Mother’s Day they allowed family visits,’ recalls Manuela Calvo from exile today. ‘But as our mothers and sons and daughters were watching, we were beaten with rubber hoses and high-pressure hoses were turned on us, knocking all of us to the floor and rolling us around as the guards laughed and our loved ones screamed helplessly.’”
It also does not help that media reports frequently rely on academics, many of whom have spied on the American government from their comfortable perches at universities. Many times the media call these pro-Cuban academics “respected sources” and/or “Cuban experts,” when they have familial or ideological ties to Fidel Castro. For example, Julia Sweig is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and happens to be one of Stephen Colbert’s favorite Cuba experts. She was labeled as a spy by an American intelligence office, yet nothing has been publicly done to expose the truth, even though her 20-year friendship with Castro is well-documented. Another interesting fact is that U.S. intelligence has quietly booted out Cuban United Nations officials after discovering they were spies and the American media chose to ignore such news.
Fontova points out that even though many media outlets have news bureaus in Cuba, they do not report the truth about what is happening on the island. Instead, they toe the Cuban party line and report on how Fidel Castro is pushing for reef preservation and women’s rights. The media do not report on the executions of Cuban dissidents, some of whom were loyal to Castro.
Barbara Walters, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and countless other liberal media icons embrace Castro as an idol. For example, ABC’s Walters (whose bio says she’s a hard-hitting journalist) was overcome with emotion, embraced and kissed Castro’s beard when she went to interview him in Havana some years ago.
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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