What This Media Outlet Got Wrong About Efforts to Promote Freedom in Cuba
Ana Quintana / @Ana_R_Quintana / August 06, 2014
Ana Quintana is a research associate in The Heritage Foundation’s
Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. She specializes in U.S.
policy toward Latin America.
Earlier this week, the Associated Press ran an investigative piece on
the U.S. Agency for International Development and its democracy
promotion efforts in Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
Concerns about USAID’s overall efficiency are warranted.
The AP’s piece noted the “extensive lengths” used to avoid monitoring by
Cuban authorities, but it failed to mention the objective of these
programs. From the USAID:
“The United States has a long history of confronting human rights
abuses, connecting the oppressed to the outside world, and helping
people have a say in how they are governed. Within repressive
environments such as Cuba, civil society and development practitioners
alike are often subject to abuse, harassment, threats, verbal
defamation, and unjustifiable prosecution and imprisonment.”
U.S. efforts to promote freedom in Cuba and elsewhere are not new and
are in our national interest. The program the AP chose to examine serves
a dual purpose–it both provided support to HIV stricken communities and
promoted human rights.
What the AP did not manage to figure out is that Cuba remains a
dangerous place for human rights and freedom.
In 2014 alone, the Castro regime has arrested more than 1,000 peaceful
activists. Religious freedom is not protected either. A group of women
known as the Ladies in White, relatives of oppressed activists, have
been beaten and harassed on their way to church.
Cuba activists always have viewed AP’s reporting with suspicion, and
that only heightened in April when AP slammed USAID for providing Cubans
with an uncensored media platform.
Its leftward bias extends beyond Cuba. In late July, AP tweeted, “As
much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over
each other to support Israel.”
I again urge the AP to take a look at the “freedoms” granted to Cuban
journalists for their next investigative piece. I can recommend a few
– The suspicious murder of peaceful democracy advocates, Oswaldo Payá ,
Harold Cepero and Laura Pollán by Cuban security forces
– The continued harassment and repression of peaceful human rights activists
– The more than 100 political prisoners on the island serving long-term
– The hypocrisy behind the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus and its
support of the Castro dictatorship
Criticizing U.S. efforts to promote to human rights is a matter of
opinion. But telling half the story is just bad journalism
Source: What This Media Outlet Got Wrong About ‘Freedom’ in Cuba –