[Marxism] Manuel David Orrio: "Ladies in white" and media manipulations

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 23 15:07:42 MST 2005

Manuel David Orrio knows the world of which he speaks. As
an agent of Cuban State Security, he was one of the
supposedly "independent journalists" for a number of years.
In April 2003, he testified in court providing eye-witness,
first-hand testimony against those who were charged and
convicted of collaboration with Washington in 2003.  

A CubaNews translation by Ana Portela. Web-posted with
the Spanish original at this address:
Cuba: “Ladies in white” and media manipulations   
by Manuel David Orrio 
Cádiz Rebelde

Unquestionably, Cuba is a strange country. A tropical gem
where, with complete aplomb, journalists from anywhere in
the world feel they have the right to use a peculiar
interpretation for events. A marvelous place for masters
who play with words; a certain theme persists in their
interest to transmit an image of lack of freedom; even when
these are in keeping with internationally accepted norms.

That seems to be the report of the events of the afternoon
of March 20 in Havana, if we follow the news of such
renowned agencies such as Associated Press (AP) and the
BBC. According to their news releases the so called “Ladies
in White” were the object of an “act of repudiation” by one
or two hundred women, who challenged these ladies shouting
support of the government of Fidel Castro and singing songs
such as the International while discreet young men dressed
in civilian clothing kept the peace armed to the teeth with


For their part, these ladies answered the alleged
provocation with the “song of the Mambisa Virgin, Our Lady
of the Cobre, patron saint of Cuba” while they ended their
public protest on the dot, a protest they have been
repeating every Sunday for almost two years.

AP and the BBC admitted in their reports that the clash was
totally lacking in personal violence. “The two
demonstrations crossed their paths without any act of
violence, in spite of it, not even verbal between the two
opposing political groups” the correspondent of the British
agency affirmed. In the end it was merely a public
encounter of conflicting parties who expressed their
positions on certain subjects peacefully and civilized, as
occurs in any of those countries who are extolled as
paradigms of respecting human rights.

However, Cuba is a strange country. And it is because both
AP and the BBC fail to mention at any time that there was
an “encounter of opposing demonstrators” – we could call
them that – instead they reported that the so-called ladies
were the victims of an “act of repudiation”, as if these
ladies were on the verge of being burned by the
Inquisition, music included: the International and the
patriotic Virgin. And even the Chan Chan of Compay Segundo,
if the reader wants to include him.

The past and present events in their rightful place. The
ladies of the white dresses are about 30 wives of several
of the 75 citizens who, in April of 2003, were tried and
sentenced to prison terms of 6 and 25 years for their
demonstrated ties to the policies of the United States
against Cuba that, at that time was considered “ethically
unacceptable” by a proven and confessed anti-communist such
as Pope John Paul II. In other words they were agents in
the service of a foreign government that attempts to change
the political, economic and social order of the island
through well known means of force and who,
unconstitutionally, restricts its citizens and residents to
travel to Cuba to verify, in situ, the “tyrannical” nature
of the regime in force in the island.

Merely by chance, it is worthwhile to remember that the
Penal Code of the United States of America penalizes this
behavior even more strictly than its Cuban counterpart.
There, for not registering legally as an agent of a foreign
country and as such, merely showing a piece of paper, they
can go to jail. But, then again Cuba is a strange country.
The United States can punish harshly these persons and the
land of José Martí cannot, a chance for this journalist to
quote Shakespeare in Hamlet: “there is something rotten in

However, these Ladies in White have the right to protest
the jailing of their husbands and it is what they have been
doing for two years. Admittedly in a peaceful and civilized
manner and also in one of the most important avenues of
Havana, they demonstrate every Sunday with broad coverage
from the international press accredited in the Island.
Their rights, according to internationally recognized
democratic norms have been respected. That is why, this
journalists asks, if the news releases of AP and the BBC
reported if there were any acts of coercion against these
ladies by those protesters who demonstrated at the same
time, date and place. This is an obvious example of news
manipulation: the ladies demonstrate, protest; their
opponents carry out an “act of repudiation”, not a
counter-march or a counter-protest.

As if this were not enough, the AP reporter rapidly goes to
interview one who calls himself a dissident, the proven
opportunist and double agent, Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz
who, faithful to the hand that pays him, drops, in passing,
a phrase that these two agencies have belied in their own
press releases: “I have no doubt that this non lethal and
moral aggression and at times physical (underlined by this
journalist) was deliberately organized by the Government
of  Cuba.

Obviously, Cuba is a strange country.


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