The Associated Press Calls Us ‘Mercenaries’ / 14ymedio, Manuel Cuesta Morua
Posted on August 17, 2014
14ymedio, Havana, Manuel Cuesta Morua, 14 August 2014 — Two separate
reports from the American Associated Press (AP) agency, published urbi
et orbi, reproduce a syndrome of certain US media in relation to Cuba,
at least in the last 55 years.
The syndrome began in 1958 with the New York Times journalist Herbert
Matthews, and his sympathetic tale of the bearded ones in the Sierra
Maestra; it could be called the Syndrome of the Ultimate Thule, that
mythical and distant place in classic antiquity beyond the borders of
the known world, where the sun never sets, and the reign of the gods is
behind the customary events occurring on the world stage.
In this undisturbed world, inaugurated by the myth, there is no external
influence—and if there is, it’s called ‘interference’—its inhabitants
can be treated like idiots, that is they don’t think about freedom for
themselves, and certain common words acquire another meaning.
Above all, it’s about a world that should not be altered, and any
attempt to do so could only be a conspiracy; generated, naturally, by
external forces. The role of the media is exactly this: to transform
facts, to endorse the vocabulary of those who rule in the name of good,
and show evil as banal.
The Associated Press reports on Zunzuneo and the programs developed by
USAID, an agency of the US government to promote a possible version of
development and democracy, are modeled on the template of this syndrome
and follow its procedures.
If we accept what is put forward by the medium, the promotion of social
networks and civic courses in a territory captured by a dictatorship are
demonstrably illegal acts, not according to the ordinary law ruling the
interior of the kingdom, but according to the discourse of the dictators.
Nothing in Cuban legislation punishes the use a citizen makes of a
digital or educational tool provided from the exterior, whether by a
government or another institution, for legitimate purposes. But with the
enmity between the Cuban autocracy and the democratic providers we have
the necessary ingredient for the AP reporters to mount a case for
conspiracy, harassment and overthrowing, where the only thing that
exists is a project to promote democracy. Nothing else. And this toward
a country–I don’t know why AP doesn’t report on it—where democratic
ideas and freedom have more roots and antecedents than the “protoideas,”
we could argue, of the Castro regime.
The fundamental questions, far beyond the ‘expertise’ of USAID, are
whether it is legitimate to promote democracy—it turns out it’s less
cynical to argue that you can bring in money from the outside, but not
ideas—and if Cuban citizens consider the Internet or a couple of
prohibited books as interference and manipulation of their brains. And
this latter, judging by the constant police raids prohibiting everything
that can be prohibited, doesn’t appear to be the case.
Which the Associated Press can’t talk about, unless it is willing to
discuss the existence of USAID itself, which it has the right to do but
that would lead it to question the very legitimacy of democratic changes
anywhere in the world, supported in every case from outside, including
by governments, and reported on by AP.
However, the AP doesn’t risk criticizing the legitimacy of the social
purpose of USAID, it only suggests that it designs bad secret projects.
And it lies, using the techniques of the complex lie. How? Through a
report classified as secret that doesn’t previously appear published by
Certain press engage in the vice of recognizing as public only what is
published, a media tautology that circumscribes the real world to the
newsrooms; for the rest, they’re either not aware of it, or it only
exists in the hidden labyrinths of the games of power. It so happens,
however, that USAID programs and funding are exposed to view by anyone
who wants to know about them or criticize them. And indeed they are, for
certain sectors, by their very nature public.
When it feeds the conspiracy theory, the AP has no other choice than to
assume the terminology of the Cuban penal code. For a Cuban, the term
‘subversion’ that the AP so happily uses in its reports, has made a long
journey from violence to public and peaceful demonstrations of popular
discontent with the brutality of an abusive regime. Thus, it tries to
criminalize the extreme right that helps the people to shake off their
oppression; this time solely through tweeting and civic leadership; a
demonstration, by the way, that people can behave themselves in a more
civilized way than those who oppress them.
Here the AP establishes an equivalence between a dictatorship and a
democracy, as if the criminal codes between the two regimes were
interchangeable and the punishments they mete out are within the same
category. From the depravity of pandering to the rhetoric of the
dictatorship, the press in democratic countries wants to appear aseptic
and condemns people like Alan Gross to ostracism by omission and
journalistic trivialities, and this a man whom everyone knows was not in
a condition to subvert any regime.
Hence the banalization of evil the AP always incurs referring to the
pro-democracy activists. It’s odd that in all their reports the term
“mercenary” appears, a term the Government assigns to its opponents in
its periodic table. But doesn’t the AP know that “a mercenary” is a
figure in the Cuban penal code but that that section of the code
cites are none of the actions for which the Government calls us mercenaries.
Dictatorships are not rigorous with words, an imponderable for its
specious domination over its citizens; but the free press should use the
language of the dictionary and not the neo-language of the autocrats.
We are still waiting for a report from AP that concludes by saying, “The
dissenters consider the Government to be despotic,” to achieve that
balance. Something closer to the facts. In any event, I would like to
record that, according to the penal code, we can be where many of us
are: working for democracy in Cuba, although according to the rhetoric
of power we are mercenaries fighting to subvert the regime. Does the AP
have any objective opinion?
And the money? Well there it is. Money from the American people, both
private and public—not from the Government—that public and private
agencies in the United States destined to dissimilar projects all over
the world, for the benefit of the organizers and governments, with few
exceptions, which don’t include the Cuban government, much less its
In this whole issue of AP and Cuba I have a hypothesis: we are facing a
conflict in the centers of power between the media groups, and those of
the establishment. Which is settled from time to time on the periphery.
Once resolved, Cuba will once again be a dictatorship for the AP,
neither of the left nor the right, but infamous. As are all
dictatorships, in the words of a wise politician.
Source: The Associated Press Calls Us ‘Mercenaries’ / 14ymedio, Manuel
Cuesta Morua | Translating Cuba –