Circuses used to stage elaborate parades whenever they came to town.
Yesterday the normalization circus staged a different kind of parade, which consisted solely of clowns. No elephants, no lions, no acrobats, no freaks of nature. Just clowns.
Clowns who know nothing about Cuba, to boot. Only the major news networks were allowed to cover the event, and, as one might expect, the coverage was idiotic.
Yesterday I received a call from Al Jazeera. A reporter who had interviewed me previously for a documentary on the Pedro Pan airlift wanted to know how I felt about the ceremony at the U.S. “embassy” in Havana.
“Tell me how you feel while watching the events unfold live on television!”
I provided her with a short and not so sweet response. I told her it was way too painful an event to watch. See below.
She seemed stunned by my response.
I was also interviewed by Deutsche Welle, a German news outlet. They asked me the same question. I gave them the same answer, more or less, but I only had three minutes and could barely cover more than a single point per question.
They also asked me about the embargo and I explained that there really hasn’t been an embargo for a long time, and that all it means at this point is that Cuba has to pay cash for its purchases.
I got the distinct impression the interviewer didn’t like my answers. The third question was so totally off base that it couldn’t be answered. They wanted to know what percentage of the Cuban people favor the normalization circus. I tried to explain that no one can take polls in Cuba, and that even if the Castro regime permitted it, no one would feel free to express an honest opinion. They seemed flabbergasted. I got the distinct impression they thought I was insane. “But…. why…. why can’t polls be taken?….” They had no clue.
You’d think someone who lives in Berlin would know better. But, alas, no.
The news report that preceded my interview made yesterday’s event seem like the fall of the Berlin Wall. The reporter actually had no clue that all the Cubans assembled at the ceremony were hand-picked by the Castro regime or that dissidents had been prevented from leaving their homes. As he reported it, all those Cubans were there of their own accord to display their joy.
So it goes.
From Al Jazeera America:
Unaccompanied minors from Cuba, all grown up
Updated Aug. 14, 2015:
As the American flag flew above the US Embassy in Cuba Friday for the first time in more than 50 years, two people who fled the country as part of Operation Pedro Pan told America Tonight they have mixed feelings about the countries celebrating renewed ties.
“I can’t watch it,” said Carlos Eire, a Yale professor who left Cuba when he was 11. “It would be like watching members of my family being beheaded,” he told America Tonight.
Eire said the steps the United States is taking to rebuild relations with Cuba, is one of the “stupidest things an American president had done.” Until Cubans enjoy free speech, freedom of the press and free elections, Eire won’t return to his home country.
Lissette Alvarez, the daughter of Cuban performers Olga Chorens and Tony Alvarez, described Friday’s ceremony as bittersweet.
“It’s so emotional to see the American flag in Havana,” she said. “It looks so beautiful, but what is happening is a different story. There is nothing the government has done to change the conditions on the island.”
The actions of the United States, she said, is “just helping these people have more repression.”
“I love my country,” she said. “I will go back to rebuild, but [only] when there is freedom of speech and no people in jails for what they think.”