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realclearworld

Cuba trade embargo and the politics of deception

Frank Calzon in The Miami Herald:

Cuba trade embargo and the politics of deception

http://img.radio.cz/pictures/r/politik/kuba/calzon.jpgThe news media has reported on a campaign of posters on the Washington Metro urging President Barack Obama to end the U.S. embargo against Havana. The group behind the campaign, with the suggestive name of CubaNow, has made a sudden appearance, and the only well-known name among the few that the campaign mentions is that of Yoani Sánchez, the courageous Cuban blogger who is persecuted by the regime and who has received many international awards for her work. At the time that CubaNow launched its campaign, Yoani Sánchez was in the United States, and it was learned that she had not approved the use of her name and photograph, prominently displayed next to a photo of President Obama, in the poster campaign.

Sadly, the photo of Yoani Sánchez, copied from the Internet, has been used without her permission on more than one occasion, and some have published collections of her blogs despite her copyright over her work.

But to use Yoani Sánchez, without her permission, for a campaign that presents a distorted vision of Cuba’s reality, and which asks President Obama to unilaterally lift sanctions against the Castro dynasty, is not the only worrisome part of the CubaNow initiative.

The public face of CubaNow, Ric Herrero, refuses to make public the cost of the publicity campaign, and more troubling, the source of the funds that make it possible.

But Americans see a lack of transparency as an unforgivable failure in politics. Americans demand and expect total transparency when it comes to politics. For example, when a citizen makes a contribution to an electoral campaign, the amount of the donation, the name of the donor, his or her profession and his or her address become part of the public record.

And if transparency in domestic politics is important, why not with a campaign to influence U.S. policy toward a government that just three week ago was once again identified by the Department of State as a sponsor of international terrorism? The other countries on the list are Syria, Sudan, and Iran. As early as June 1976, Fidel Castro, made his position clear: “If the Cuban state were to carry out terrorist acts and respond with terrorism to the terrorists, we believe we would be efficient terrorists. Let no one think otherwise. If we decide to carry out terrorism, it is a sure thing we would be efficient. But the mere fact that the Cuban revolution has never implemented terrorism does not mean that we renounce it. We would like to issue this warning.”

The lack of information from the CubaNow campaign is troubling. The image of young Cuban Americans, with sweet and adorable smiles, does not answer the questions being asked. Herrero said that it is a group made up of a new generation of Cuban-Americans, but did not say how many members it has and said nothing about its history, how it was founded or how it was organized.

We do know that he was the deputy director of the controversial Cuba Study Group, headed by businessman Carlos Saladrigas. And that Herrero was treasurer of the New Cuban-American Majority political action committee, also founded by Saladrigas.

Continue reading HERE.

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