More on the Havana Wall (Updated)

This time, from the BBC:

Cuba ‘blocking’ American messages

By Stephen Gibbs
BBC News, Havana

Cuban bulldozers are digging up an area in front of the US interests section in the capital, Havana.

US diplomats say the move is designed to obscure the illuminated messages, mainly on human rights themes, that are being displayed on the building.

President Fidel Castro has described the scrolling messages as a gross provocation, saying he believes the US wants to sever all relations with Cuba.

The two countries have not had diplomatic links for 45 years.


What was once the car park of the US mission in Havana is rapidly turning into a major construction site.

Huge cranes have been brought in and teams of builders are working there non-stop.

But no-one will say what is being built, not even President Castro.

On Wednesday night, his black Mercedes drew up to the site. He emerged to give the workers a pep talk.

American envoys in Havana, he said, were cockroaches.

Asked what was being built, he said he did not want to ruin the surprise.

As he spoke, the huge US electronic billboard scrolled out its illuminated messages across the building behind him.

One gave news that Palestinians had been voting for the first time in 10 years.

Another declared that President Bush believed people had the right to choose how they lived their lives.

The propaganda war between the US and Cuba is nothing new – but this is an escalation.

Already Cuba has put up scores of posters in the capital caricaturing President Bush as both a fascist and a vampire.

Where this will all end is not clear.

President Castro says he believes the US is intending to break off all relations with Cuba. He also says he does not believe Cuba would lose much if that happened.

Get it? Cuba will not lose much at all should US/Cuba relations be broken. I guess those 37 or 38 states with agricultural trade agreements with fidel will have to find someone else to sell to.

Cuban-American Pundits has more.

Update:Fausta has an excellent round up here.

8 thoughts on “More on the Havana Wall (<i>Updated</i>)”

  1. Isn’t it time for a “Mr. Castro, don’t build this wall!” moment? Would someone in the State or Defense press corps get off their collective duffs and ask someone about this situation–i.e. Mme. Secretary, are the activities of the U.S. mission in Havana part of your larger Cuba offensive announced in December, and what else can we expect? Or, for that matter, Mr. Secretary, is the U.S. prepared to back up the activities of the U.S. mission in Havana with military support for an internal Cuban rebellion?

    But no…we’ll have to wait for more info from the BBC.

    Thank you, though, for the updates Val!

  2. I thought that there was a shortage of construction materials due to the embargo?! After all, that is why the malecon is all roto and all the buildings se estan cayendo, right?

  3. Ohh great, the U.S. boosting Cuban construction… Guess GDP growth will jump to 20% now!

    He, little hint. On cloudy days you can beam messages into the sky…

  4. I imagine its not going to be a wall. More than likely some type of insulting propaganda, i.e. huge statue of an abu ghraib prisoner, or something of the sort. The law of unintended consequences says he will draw people to the area where they can see what the ticker says. Giving another victory to the U.S. Interests section. I can only hope.

  5. How tall is the American Interest Section in Havana? Wouldn’t it be funny if Castro builts a wall that obscures the sign around the building [what is Castro going to do circle the building? Doesn’t the sign go all around the building?] and the American ambassador just raised the height of the sign? Maybe that is what the Americans should do! LOL!

  6. Yah, nurian, that’s what I was wondering too. Cities fall into disrepair, but there’s equipment to just whip out for a project to block the screen? What a self-serving creep castro is.

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