WaPo's Odd Cuba Headline: 'Party Elders' Triumph with Raul Castro Accession

February 25th, 2008 11:38 AM

So much for Washington Post staff writer Manuel Roig-Franzia waxing poetic about the tech-savvy younger generation of Communists in Cuba. "Party Elders Triumph in Cuba," as Raul Castro has been formally named the new dictator, a February 25 Post headline informs readers. Party elders?! That's language suitable for a story about the role of  superdelegates in the presidential nomination process for the Democratic Party, not when describing window-dressing "elections" in one-party Communist dictatorships.

Roig-Franzia opened his article with a lament that a "younger generation" of Communists has been "bypassed" by the Geritol crowd:

HAVANA, Feb. 24 -- Cuba's revolutionary old guard consolidated its hold on power Sunday when the National Assembly bypassed a younger generation of politicians and named Fidel Castro's brother, Raúl, president and a hard-line communist first vice president.

The unanimous decision dealt a blow to Cubans who had hoped Sunday would mark a dramatic change of direction for the island nation ruled for nearly five decades by Fidel Castro, 81, who announced Tuesday that he was stepping down after a long illness.

Later in his article, Roig-Franzia noted that Castro's formalized accession to power should not surprise anyone, but even here the Post reporter sought to maintain detached neutrality by chalking up complaints about the fettered and unfair selection to what "critics say":

There was little doubt that Raúl Castro, Fidel's handpicked successor, would be named president by a National Assembly that critics say has served only to rubber-stamp the brothers' decisions. Assembly members interviewed during breaks said they were free to vote for whomever they pleased, but some said Raúl was the only candidate on the ballot.

As NewsBusters has documented, Roig-Franzia has a history of treadly softly and even praising some elements of Castro's regime. You can read more about that here: