When you come across pathetically ignorant statements about Cuba in the media, it is sometimes difficult to decide whether to feel enraged or to feel sorry for the person exhibiting the benightedness. It is enough to possibly drive a reasonable person insane.
A few days ago, I came across this article in the San Jose State University newspaper The Spartan Daily. The article was written by Angela Medina, one of the paper’s staff writers and I presume one of the university’s journalism students. With all the brouhaha surrounding the visit to Cuba by Beyonce and Jay-Z, Ms. Medina decided to weigh in on the topic in an editorial that asked: “When will it ever be okay to travel to Cuba?”
To give her readers a little background and to offer support for her assertion that sanctions against the brutal and repressive dictatorship in Cuba are outdated, Ms. Medina shares this little tidbit of Cuban history:
However, the bigger concern is the current U.S.-Cuba tension that prevents trips like Beyonce and Jay-Z’s from ever happening in the first place.
The stigma surrounding Cuba stems from nearly 50 years ago, when Fidel Castro’s regime overthrew then president Juan Bautista. On October 19, 1960, the U.S. established a partial trade embargo that would endure to this day.
Juan Bautista? Is he related to Fulgencio Batista? A cousin perhaps?
What makes this amazing display of ignorance so worrisome is that it really does not take much effort to discover the correct name of the Cuban leader Fidel Castro toppled. Even Wikipedia gets the name right. But what is even sadder is that Ms. Medina, who I imagine has a career goal of becoming a journalist, apparently did not find it all that important to conduct adequate research and confirm her sources before writing her article.
Yet, in spite of the overwhelming ignorance, we are expected to take Ms. Medina’s other assertions about Cuba seriously.
I could feel outraged at this inexcusable show of ignorance and be well justified. But in this case, I simply feel sorry for Angela Medina. Moreover, I also feel sorry for the once noble field of journalism.