It took Univision/Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos all of three seconds to set the tone of the post-Fidel Castro edition of his weekly public affairs show, Al Punto. With one single sentence, Ramos put the rest of the establishment media to shame:
JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, AL PUNTO: The dictator, Fidel Castro, is dead. It took us 57 years to be able to say this phrase. And with the death of the historic leader of the Cuban revolution, are opened many possibilities for the future of the island.
The latest edition of Univision's Al Punto dealt with Fidel Castro's passing very differently than the rest of the establishment media, which has collectively decided to whitewash the grotesque brutalities that the Castro regime has inflicted on Cuba over the past 57 years. There was no justification of human rights abuses here, and no mentions of nuance when addressing Castro's history. The entire show was devoted to the calling of Castro by his proper names. Dictator. Tyrant. Murderer.
The show opened with Ramos' statement, then segued to the reactions of several current and former Cuban-American members of Congress: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), former Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart (R-FL) and Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ). The next segment featured veteran journalist Ninoska Pérez, along with activist Ofelia Acevedo, the widow of dissident Oswaldo Payá, who died in 2012 under suspicious (and likely regime-induced) circumstances. Both women refuse to remain silent in the face of barbarism, and were very compelling to watch.
That very powerful segment was followed by an interview with RNC Director of Hispanic Media Helen Aguirre-Ferré. This is probably the only segment where Ramos veered slightly off of Cuba and on to immigration, but not for long and with a very light touch. In keeping with the show's tradition of joining politics with entertainment, Ramos then discussed Fidel with legendary producer Emilio Estefan. Ramos closed out the show with replays of his 2014 interview with Fidel's bodyguard, and of the time in the early '90s when he himself was roughed up by Castro's goons in Mexico.
Fairness compels us to memorialize what Al Punto did right...which in this case, was everything. Jorge Ramos broke sharply from the rest of the media by simply calling a dictator a dictator. The tone of the show was proper in that it was somber. Viewers got to see the reality of Fidel Castro through the voices of people whose lives were affected by the tyrant, and were given space to come to their own conclusions.
This isn't to say Univision uniformly took this approach to Castro's demise on all its platforms. Online, they rehashed the disgusting Fidel-at-90 hagiographical slideshow, so there's that.
I am hopeful the network will subtitle yesterday's Al Punto into English and post it prominently throughout its footprint, if for no other reason than to show the rest of the media how to properly cover Fidel Castro. This was the one show on the subject that was must-must-watch.
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