[Marxism] Cuban blogger hustle

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 19 12:27:32 MST 2009

Counterpunch, November 19, 2009
Hypocrisy at the Top
Dissidents Make Noise--Oops, News


U.S. government hypocrisy has grown so pervasive over the last 
decades that it provokes yawns and glazed looks. Senators denounce 
government interference in health care while partaking in their 
own top of the line government health insurance that they designed 
– at taxpayer expense. Secretary of State Clinton demanded 
Pakistani leaders remove terrorists from their streets while 
self-proclaimed anti-Castro terrorists parade down Miami’s 
thoroughfares – as freedom fighters, of course.

Duplicity in language coincides with stupidity of policy. In 
Afghanistan (which costs a million dollars per year per soldier to 
keep Hamid Karzai in the president business), U.S. and NATO troops 
pursue a vague anti-terror mission in which they have caused 
immense death and destruction -- with few or no results. “Send 
more troops to fight for the Karzai government,” scream John 
McCain and his ilk, while Karzai vies for a place in the Guinness 
Book of Records for corruption. He retains legitimacy among those 
who benefit directly from his theft – and the U.S. government.

Hypocrisy repeated at top levels – Goebbels called it the “big 
lie” – tends to make journalists weary and turn them into 
stenographers who no longer seek to reveal the dishonesty of 

Consider press coverage of two alleged human rights cases. Last 
year, Saudi religious police arrested an American woman “for 
sitting with a male colleague at a Starbucks coffee shop in 
Riyadh.” The woman was beaten, “strip-searched, threatened and 
forced to sign false confessions.” (Independent, February 8, 2008)

The State Department ignored this and similar stories as Saudi 
internal matters. But State Department officials got their 
knickers in an instant twist over their favorite Cuban blogger, 
Yoani Sanchez.

En route to a demonstration in Havana “against violence,” Yoani 
told the Havana Reuters correspondent that three non uniformed men 
had grabbed her and two companions and thrown them into a car. She 
said nothing about being “beaten.” Reynaldo Escobar, Sánchez’ 
husband, “told El Nuevo Herald she’s walking with a crutch and 
taking medicines for a backache, the result of being thrown 
head-first into a car and punched in the back by the three men in 
plainclothes who detained her for 20 minutes.”

Shortly after her Reuters interview, Yoanni told AP the men had 
brutally beaten her with such professionalism that they left nary 
a visible mark on her skin. “No blood, but black and blues, 
punches, pulled hairs, blows to the head, kidneys, knee and 
chest,” Yoani’s husband told El Nuevo Herald. “In sum, 
professional violence.” Yoani posted no photos on her blog of the 
“professional beating,” strange for someone whose blog contains 
lots of photos. (Nov. 6, 2009)

Unlike the response to Saudi (our ally) mistreatment of women, the 
U.S. government “strongly deplores the assault” on Yoani. The 
State Department “expressed to the Cuban government our deep 
concern . . . and we are following up with inquiries . . . 
regarding their personal well-being and access to medical care.” 
(Miami Herald November 14)

Neither the media nor the U.S. government explained why Cubans 
would rally against violence abroad. Non-government sources on the 
island could not figure out the object of the demonstration. Some 
demonstrators, however, held “Sumate” signs. (The name of the 
Venezuelan group that led anti-Chavez campaigns in 2004 and the 
name adopted by the Bolivian opposition to Evo Morales)

The Yoani incident brought new attention to this “courageous 
journalist,” especially in Miami. Her blogs report the basic 
street whine in Havana, but offer no prescriptions for changing 
inefficient or unjust procedures; nor does she attempt to 
understand, much less analyze, the causes for the malfunctions 
that beset daily life in Cuba. She has perfected internet 
complaining, practically converting it into an art form.

Anti-Castro Cubans and journalists throughout the western press 
adore her and festoon her with awards and prizes (John Moors Cabot 
in New York and Ortega y Gassett in Spain). The fan club, however, 
does not include other “dissidents.” Representatives of Martha 
Beatriz Roque, a less cyber-savvy dissident now in second place 
among the female “Disidencia,” told the Miami Herald her diabetes 
cause her serious problems. Two weeks into a hunger strike, she 
has fortunately not lost a critical amount of weight.

Roque and Sanchez are battling for headlines in Miami papers, 
radio and TV. The Martha Beatriz faction has criticized Yoani, who 
receives more attention in Washington, where the money comes from. 
Washington policy, immune to facts and consistency, has caused 
suffering, denying Cubans goods, and credit; yet it condemns 
Cuba’s government and accepts Yoani’s contradictory claims and 
righteously demands Cuba respect human rights – while debating the 
fate of prisoners it holds (some without charges) in its 
Guantanamo base on Cuban territory. Boring old hypocrisy again!

Saul Landau is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow. A BUSH AND 
BOTOX WORLD was published by Counterpunch/AK. His films are 
available on dvd from roundworldproductions at gmail.com

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