CNN Rings in New Year in Havana, Cuba, Ignores Oppression of Cuban People

AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

During CNN’s 8th annual New Year’s Eve telecast from New York City with anchor Anderson Cooper and comedienne Kathy Griffin, the cable newser featured a segment from Havana, Cuba, and, while the network expressed hope for renewed relations between the US and Cuba, anchors made no mention of the Castro regime’s arrests of pro-democracy activists this week.

While Griffin continued her annual tradition of reducing the normally staid Cooper turn to an uncomfortable, giggling mess, the hosts cut away to several different New Year celebrations in other parts of the country. To show what New Year’s was like outside New York City, CNN went to such locales as New Orleans, a cruise ship in the Bahamas, Key West, Florida, and others. One of the places the show also visited was the famed Tropicana nightclub in Havana, Cuba.

Correspondent Patrick Oppmann was on hand in Cuba, and when the cameras turned to his locale, he celebrated the fact that President Obama had reopened relations with the communist-ruled nation.

Oppmann claimed that many Cubans hope that their lives will be bettered once Americans start going to Cuba. “Recently both countries announced they intend to normalize relations. And soon Americans will be taking in amazing shows like this one in Havana,” Oppmann insisted.

Oppman did note that “regular Cubans” can’t afford to go to the Tropicana and that the place was filled with Europeans. It didn’t appear he saw any poignancy in that fact.

But one thing Oppmann studiously avoided was any mention of the fact that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro recently arrested a group of political dissidents who had planned a pro-democracy rally in Havana.

Even as far back as June, Cuban authorities had arrested almost 1,000 of the Castros’ political opponents.

So, while Obama has offered his sunny expectations of welcoming Cuba to the roster of nations, the powers behind that island nation have not slackened the oppression of those Cubans yearning to be free.

Following the President’s lead, CNN was uninterested in highlighting the oppression that the Cuban people continue to suffer.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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