Breathless scoop from a terrified government source dug up by the intrepid news agency Reuters, virtue of their coveted Havana Bureau, Dec. 6th, 2010:
“We estimate the total (visitors from the U.S. to Cuba) for the year will be more than 400,000,” a U.S. State Department source said, asking his name not be used due to restrictions on talking with journalists.
Rant by reactionary Cuban-exile crackpot in Big Journalism, Aug. 24th 2010:
Last year Castro’s Cuba received 200,000 visitors from the U.S. – legally. Global Travel Industry News reports that another 200,000 Americans visited Castro’s fiefdom illegally.
And remember during the 1950’s Cuba was a “playground” for American tourists who inundated the island, right? Of course. We learned this from that famous documentary on Cuba, The Godfather. Well, according to figures from Cuba’s Banco Nacional, during the 1950’s an average of 185, 000 Americans visited Cuba annually.
Let’s step back for a second and consult our calculators:
- Cuba while enjoying status as “tourist playground,” especially for Americans–185,000 U.S. tourists, another 20 to 30 thousand from Canada and Europe.
- Cuba while suffering a crushing “U.S. blockade/embargo”- 400,000 U.S. tourists along with 2.2 million Canadian and European tourists annually, while the U.S. serves as her second biggest trading partner, including remittances.
While we’re at it, let’s review the credentials of the reporters bestowed coveted Cuban visas. Reuters’s Havana station’s Marc Frank, for instance, is a former writer for the U.S. Communist Party’s People’s Daily World.
The AP, on the other hand, prefers Cuba’s home-grown communists for their Havana press-agency scoops. Back in June the AP reported (i.e. transcribed a handout from Castro’s propaganda ministry) on the Castro regime’s response to U.S. accusations against them for abetting sexual slavery and child prostitution:
“These shameful slanders profoundly hurt the Cuban people,” the AP quoted Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, director of the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs office In Cuba. “There is no sexual abuse against minors (in Cuba), but rather an exemplary effort to protect children, young people and women.”
No mention by the AP (or from others who picked up the story, including the Miami Herald and even Fox News) that Josefina Vidal Ferreiro was booted from the U.S. in May, 2003 for espionage. Note the date of her booting, and recall the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Defense Intelligence Agency’s top Cuban spycatcher, Lieut. Col. Christopher Simmons, (now retired) had a key role in uncovering the Josefina Vidal spy ring. He strongly suspects that many of the U.S. military secrets Vidal and her ring shipped home to Castro were transmitted to Saddam Hussein.
“We cannot for a second abandon propaganda,” Fidel Castro stressed in a letter to revolutionary colleague Melba Hernandez in 1954. “Propaganda is vital — propaganda is the heart of all struggles.”
In keeping with Castro’s priority for propaganda as “the heart of his struggle” Reporters Without Borders reports that Cuba (pop. 11 million) jails journalists at the highest rate–by far–of any nation on earth, only slighter fewer in absolute numbers than China (pop. 1.3 billion). Vicente Botin, veteran Cuba correspondent for Spain’s Television Espanola, recently testified to Reporters Without Borders that Castro’s regime assigns twenty state security agents to “monitor” every foreign correspondent. “Cuba is one huge Potemkin village–a big lie,” stressed Botin. “The regime lays down the ground rules very clearly to foreign reporters. So you practice self-censorship or you’re gone.”
No ‘fessing up’ in the manner of Botin by any of the MSM “reporters” awarded Cuban visas over the decades. Instead, they usually “report” the opposite, while somehow managing a straight face: “In Cuba we will be given total freedom to do what we want and to work without any censorship” (Lucia Newman while opening CNN’s Havana Bureau in 1997).
This “freedom to do what we want” consistently produces comments such as:
Fidel Castro is one helluva guy! You people would like him! (CNN founder Ted Turner at Harvard)
The educational system is a jewel in the society Fidel Castro has built….He remains very popular and could have easily been Cuba’s Elvis. (Dan Rather)