Since the beginning of the Cuban revolution, thousands of articles have been published with the sole intention of undermining and demonising the socialist movement. To present Fidel as an all-powerful villain and to depict Cuba post-Batista as an authoritarian dictatorship, which rejected human rights and freedom. This article goes through some of the misinformation and outright lies spread by news outlets about Cuba and Fidel.
The Washington Post published an article that ended with the message, “Cuba’s communists ought to realize by now that they cannot jail free speech, no matter how hard and often they try.”
Let’s have a look at the credibility of this article.
The article is centered around Jose Daniel Ferrer (the leader of UNPACU) it claims “He has been through a lot, including years in prison” but fails to mention that he spent a lot of his time in prison for his role in the kidnapping and beating of Sergio García González, a former member of UNPACU. The article also conveniently forgets to mention the video footage showing Ferrer violently beating his head against a table and then claiming he was beaten by prison officials. So, what about his organization, UNPACU? In 2016 the Patriotic Union received $99,431 from the US government. Soon later another former member, Meleidys Gómez, accused Ferrer and his brother of fraud, claiming “they used the organizations U.S funding for personal purposes”.
The article also makes reference to Oswaldo Payá being killed in a ‘suspicious car wreck’ but fails to elaborate. The reality is, Spanish politician Carromera was found guilty of reckless driving after a video confession of the incident.
Historically Cuba had never attempted to place any repression on Payá. After he was invited to win the Sakharov Prize [for freedom of thought] to human rights, the president of France sent a message to Fidel to inform him that Payá said he wasn’t allowed permission to leave. Many political analysts and ‘intellectuals’ also pushed this agenda, but he collected the prize and returned to Cuba, continuing to normal life until his death. So how does press work in Cuba? Fidel claimed, “if what you call freedom of the press is the right to mount a counter-revolution and allowing Cuba’s enemies to speak and write freely against Socialism and the Revolution, to write slanders and lies and create conditioned reflexes, I’d have to say that we are not in favor of that freedom”. Censorship existed and continues to exist in Cuba, however, this is also a country that has been blockaded by the empire, the victim of inquisitors laws such as the Helms-Burton Act and the Cuban Adjustment Act, a country that is threatened by the United States on a daily basis, they make the fair assertion that they simply don’t want to allow their enemies the opportunity to exploit that freedom.
In reality, Cuba is a lot more tolerant than the media allows people to believe. Various mass organizations have their own media. The students have theirs, the workers, the unions, even the military and they have the freedom to publish what they believe is necessary to publish. Before his death, Fidel promoted the concept of encouraging a critical spirit in the media, “in order to perfect their system”. There are also a lot of foreign newspapers from America and Europe distributed in Cuba – anyone can buy them, it is not a crime.