AP on Cuba - Propaganda in, 'News' out

August 7th, 2006 2:02 PM
Sometimes, the credulity of the press is very amusing. And very indicative of their biases. Consider, for example, this story from the Associated Press.
Elian Gonzalez sent a note Sunday wishing a speedy recovery to "my dear grandpa Fidel," ...Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle with family members in Miami six years ago, published a letter in the Communist Youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde signed with "little kisses" from him and his half-siblings and cousins.

"We send you this letter to let you know that we are worried about your health," Elian, now 12, wrote. "We hope for your speedy recovery and take the opportunity to wish you a happy birthday, may you have many more."

Question - does anyone with children think that sounds like the un-prompted action, and un-scripted words of a 12-year old boy?

Of course not. It is, I suppose, remotely conceivable that Elian Gonzalez did, in fact, of his own free will and volition, compose that letter which has been attributed to him, but it strikes me as extremely unlikely. As a father with kids that age, I'm not buying it.

Let us not forget, as the AP has apparently done, who and what Elian Gonzalez is. The key to understanding any comments attributed to young Mr. Gonzalez is this statement from Cuban spokesman Luis Fernandez back at the height of the controversy over his potential return to Cuba: "He [Elian] is a possession of the Cuban government." Not a free citizen - a possession. Anything that is attributed to Elian Gonzalez, therefore, is coming from...The Cuban Government. How credulous do you have to be to take ANY reports out of Cuba at face value?

Elian has been a public relations puppet for the ailing dictator more than once in the last half-dozen years. But the AP doesn't find it necessary to include any background, or cast any suspicion on the provenance of the letter. It doesn't find any reason to suggest to its readers that this might just be a piece of Cuban propaganda, from the Communist dictatorship still clinging to the reins of power. No, Elian wrote it. An innocent child. Freed from his oppressive relatives in Miami to return to his dear father in good old Cuba. That's good enough for the AP. And they think it's good enough for their readers...