Their man in Havana: Lying, incompetent Reuters reporter

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at
Sat Aug 12 21:13:29 MDT 2000

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the imperialist news media
lies. They lie for good reasons, they lie for bad reasons, sometimes
it seems they lie just to keep in practice, having no apparent reason
to do so.

Such is perhaps to be the case of Andrew Cawthorne, the hack that
Reuters has in Havana, who yesterday sent out a dispatch about Fidel's
birthday (which is tomorrow, Sunday).

"In line with the veil he likes to keep over his personal life, Cuba's
'Maximum Leader' again was expected to avoid the spotlight on Sunday's
anniversary of his Aug. 13, 1926, birth in the small hamlet of Biran
in an eastern province," Cawthorne writes.

Cawthorne doesn't tell us who is doing all this "expecting." The truth
probably is something like his editors asked him for what we old-time
hacks call a "thumb sucker" --a "news analysis" to the readers-- and
Cawthorne produced one probably in an hour or so without even si much
as consulting a single source on the phone.

Now it is true that Fidel avoids politicizing or publicizing his
personal life. But he has a previously scheduled, long announced, and
quite anticipated public appearance on Sunday, for it marks the
graduation of a couple of thousand MORE Cuban doctors, a thousand or
so each for the two the imperialists managed to buy for themselves in

When the Czech regime and the European Mafia tried, at the behest of
the U.S., to crucify Cuba in Geneva over supposed human rights
violations, many African countries stuck with Cuba, despite their
tremendous vulnerability to imperialist pressure, precisely because of
the job being done by selfless Cuban doctors all over the continent.

And as Fidel pointed out in his speech on April 22, the day Elián was
rescued, and days after the clash in Geneva, Cuba may be financially
poor but rich in spirit, in morale, in revolutionary internationalism,
and all the imperialist countries together couldn't field the number
of volunteers Cuba does to go work in the most remote corners of the
third world to bring health care to the wretched of the earth.

That is what gives the graduation of another contingent of Cuban
doctors such tremendous political significance. They are the
front-line troops in the worldwide battle for socialist ideas Cuba is
waging against the imperialists. Cuba's doctors abroad are under
strict orders not to meddle in other countries affairs, not to
propagandize, not to put out pamphlets, not to sell revolutionary
newspapers at the factory gates. Their watchword comes from José
Martí: The best way to say something is to do it.

This internationalist offensive of Cuban medicine against illness and
disease and the social system that breeds them will, I have no doubt,
be the central theme of tomorrow's event. Each new doctor is a damning
accusation against countries, federations and alliances with ten times
Cuba's population and 100 times Cuba's resources that don't do one-one
thousandths as much as Cuba is doing, and yet have the unmitigated
gall, the chutzpah to get up at the United Nations and accuse Cuba of
ignoring human rights while the children of Africa, Asia and Latin
America die by the millions.

I don't know if Cawthorne is just "tyring to block the sun with one
finger" (as we say in Spanish) or if he really pays so little
attention to the society that surrounds him that he was totally
unaware of the event.

Either way, there's a lesson to be learned about the probity, and just
basic journalistic competence,
of the Andrew Cawthornes of this world.


ANALYSIS-Rejuvenated by Elian, Cuba's Castro to turn 74

By Andrew Cawthorne

HAVANA, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Cuban President Fidel Castro, an icon of
communism and one of the world's most recognisable figures, turns 74
over the weekend, his four-decade rule reinvigorated by the recent
custody fight over Elian Gonzalez.

In line with the veil he likes to keep over his personal life, Cuba's
"Maximum Leader'' again was expected to avoid the spotlight on
Sunday's anniversary of his Aug. 13, 1926, birth in the small hamlet
of Biran in an eastern province.

Supporters and members of Castro's ruling Communist Party, however,
were sure to mark the date with low-key celebrations, congratulatory
messages and tributes in state-run media. A group of doctors jumped
the gun earlier in the week, wishing Castro happy birthday during an
emotional meeting with him on their return from a medical aid mission
to Africa.


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