The communist government of Cuba held their sham election for a new leader on Wednesday after President Raul Castro stepped down to make way for Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel to take the reins. The news of the transition broke early that morning, but both ABC and NBC appeared too lazy to even give it a simple brief on their morning and evening broadcasts. CBS and Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo all ran reports on the transition.
“In Cuba, after six decades, the Castro-era is coming to an end. Today a new President was chosen to succeed Raul Castro, who took over from his older brother Fidel 12 years ago,” anchor Jeff Glor announced during the CBS Evening News before handing the report (one minute long) off to Manuel Bojorquez who was in Havana, Cuba.
Bojorquez noted that the transition “was more a selection of a new president than an election.” “Only members of the national assembly can directly vote, and there was only one candidate,” he elaborated. “The first Vice President, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has served under outgoing President Raul Castro, a clear sign the Communist Party wants to send a message of continuity.”
According to the CBS report, it would be the first time in almost 60 years a Castro would not be in control of Cuba but “Raul Castro will remain the head of the Communist Party.” And while he didn’t read any of the quotes directly, Bojorquez noted that Cuban-American lawmakers were critical of the so-called “election.”
“The sham ‘elections’ in Cuba were nothing more than a predetermined charade by the Castro regime,” denounced Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio in a press release. “With Raul Castro stepping down today, and his appointed crony Miguel Díaz-Canel taking his place, Cuba will continue to be an island imprisoned under the rule of an oppressive single-party political system.”
And South Florida Republican Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart condemned Diaz Canel: “Today, the Cuban regime has named a new puppet. Just like Fidel Castro named Osvaldo Dorticós as ‘president’ until 1976, Raul Castro has now named Miguel Díaz Canel as the new ‘president of the Council of Ministers and State.’”
On Univision, anchor Jorge Ramos was critical of the so-called election. “Cuba has a new President, at least that is the official title, but he was not chosen by voters in a democratic election, rather by the own government,” he stated. And correspondent Lourdes Del Río read an analysis that argued the appointment would “be a publicity stunt on the part of the Cuban government.”
Instead of having, at least, a news brief on the sham election, ABC’s World News Tonight chose to report on David Copperfield being sued for a magic trick gone wrong and the arrival of more snow. Meanwhile on NBC Nightly News, they covered robots putting together Ikea furniture and a model of the Titanic built out of Legos.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CBS Evening News
April 18, 2018
6:40:11 PM Eastern [1 minute]
JEFF GLOR: In Cuba after six decades, the Castro-era is coming to an end. Today a new president was chosen to succeed Raul Castro, who took over from his older brother Fidel 12 years ago. Manuel Bojorquez is in Havana.
MANUEL BOJORQUEZ: Jeff, this was more a selection of a new president than an election. Only members of the national assembly can directly vote, and there was only one candidate. The first vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has served under outgoing President Raul Castro, a clear sign the Communist Party wants to send a message of continuity.
And although a Castro will not lead the island for the first time in nearly six decades, Raul Castro will remain the head of the communist party. In the U.S., Cuban-American lawmakers have called this transition a mere passing of the torch from one dictator to the next and see little chances of it doing anything to improve current relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Jeff?
GLOR: All right, Manny from Havana. We'll see you again tomorrow.