ABC Offers Little Criticism for Obama's Cuba Move: It 'Helped Thaw a Cold War'

The journalists of Good Morning America on Thursday cheered Barack Obama's efforts to "help thaw a Cold War" and offered little in the way of criticism for the President's actions to normalize relations with Cuba. Reporter Jim Avila hyped, "Well soon many more Americans will be able to hop a plane to Havana, take a tour, even legally buy one of those famous cigars." The words "human rights" were not uttered until the 8am hour. 

Co-host George Stephanopoulos enthused over "the American held prisoner in Havana whose dramatic release helped thaw a Cold War." Robin Roberts touted, "Now to that historic announcement, the U.S. restoring relations with Cuba, ending the 50-year Cold War." Avila informed viewers that "church bells [are] ringing out in celebration in Havana." He then quoted dictator Raul Castro (without using the term, of course). [MP3 audio here.]

It wasn't until the end of the segment that Avila allowed: 

JIM AVILA: But in the U.S., just 200 miles north in South Florida, a very different tone in some Cuban-American communities. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 2: The people in Cuba are not helped by these measures.  

In the 8am hour, news reader Amy Robach finally noted "...Critics insist President Obama's decision will do little to bring democracy to Cuba or improve human rights there." 

Of course, ABC has a long history of fawning over the communist Cuba. On December 12, journalist Barbara Walters declared her affection for the "charismatic" Fidel Castro.         

In 2002, she famously praised, "For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent."

CBS on Friday brought on Obama supporter Colin Powell to endorse the new Cuba policy. 

A transcript of the December 18 segment is below:  

7am tease

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Free at last. The American held prisoner in Havana whose dramatic release helped thaw a Cold War. A surprise announcement opening relations with Cuba, and the role Pope Francis played behind the scenes to end a half century standoff. 

7:07

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to that historic announcement, the U.S. restoring relations with Cuba, ending the 50-year Cold War. The surprise coming after a year and a half of secret talks involving Pope Francis. ABC’s Jim Avila is in Cuba this morning. Good morning Jim. 

AVILA: Good morning Robin. Just how big of a deal is this? Well, soon many more Americans will be able to hop a plane to Havana, take a tour, even legally buy one of those famous cigars. For the first time in 50 years, the presidents of the United States and Cuba speaking simultaneously, confirming the surprise reversal of a long-running U.S. policy of isolating Cuba. Church bells ringing out in celebration in Havana as President Raul Castro told Cubans, “President Obama's decision deserves the respect and recognition of our country.” The announcement follows the surprise release of 65-year-old Alan Gross. A government contractor held in Cuba on espionage charges for five years. 

ALAN GROSS: What a blessing it is to be a citizen of this country. 

AVILA: Gross says he wants to be part of a new era of Cuban-American relations. His release jump started. The U.S. opening an embassy here  for the first time in 53 years. The White House’s plan: gradually relax travel, commercial and diplomatic relations. But a full end to the trade and travel embargo requires congressional legislation. While many Cubans expressed optimism–

UNKNOWN PERSON: I hope everything really gets okay for the good of the United States and Cuba. 

AVILA: But in the U.S., just 200 miles north in South Florida, a very different tone in some Cuban-American communities. 

UNKNOWN PERSON 2: The people in Cuba are not helped by these measures. 

AVILA: Cubans proudly call themselves survivors. They’ve outlasted American isolation and the collapse of their biggest ally. Now they’re hoping this new era will in fact make their lives less of a struggle. Robin? 

Cuba Communists ABC Good Morning America Video Jim Avila Barack Obama Fidel Castro
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