It’s all about semantics

Early this morning, five Cubans came ashore on Hollywood beach from their 15-foot boat. In a subtle though deliberate way, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel chose to describe these refugees from a dictatorship as “migrants.” Not that there is anything wrong with being a migrant, but these five Cubans were not exactly flying north for the winter.
The Sun-Sentinel’s choice of words is interesting. We have been seeing this more and more often as the media is trying to portray the situation in Cuba as something other than a dictatorship that oppresses the masses. By describing these refugees in such a general term, the focus on Cuba’s tyranny is deflected. The spotlight is instead aimed at the actual victims of the tyranny as if they are the ones to blame for their situation. They are no longer coming to this country seeking refuge from a despotic regime—they are simply migrants doing what the term implies: One that moves from one region to another by chance, instinct, or plan.
Some of you may not see any real importance in the choice of terms used by the media. But history has shown, over and over again, how the subtle use of semantics can influence the world.

9 thoughts on “It’s all about semantics”

  1. Alberto, I agree with you but Cubans themselves have blurred the lines between whether they are economic migrants or political refugees. A political refugee doesn’t go back to Cuba after a year and a day. A political refugee doesn’t come to the refuge and say he doesn’t want to talk about politics. There are certainly refugees among the thousands of Cubans that come this country. But the truth is that there are also a lot of migrants.

  2. So, Somali refugees are no “migrants?”
    Those escaping Sudan’s embattled Darfur region are now “migrants?”
    Those Jews during the second world war lucky enough to escape eastern Europe were mere “migrants?”

  3. The use of “migrants” is now a common liberal term. Like that of the term “Hispanics” I tell all my new Cuban political refugees to tell everyone they are CUBAN POLITICAL REFUGEES!

  4. Anatasio,
    I agree. I could never envision a Jewish refugee going back to Germany while the conditions that made him a refugee persisted. Same for the Somalis.
    But many Cubans return to Cuba as soon as they are eligible. That tells me that there’s a difference.

  5. I’m going to add a twist to what I just said. The fact that these Cubans that return to Cuba to visit at the first chance, speaks also about the apartheid system in Cuba. As a U.S. resident, that Cuban has many more rights within Cuba than a Cuban citizen living in Cuba. It’s another way that the Castro regime has perverted everything we know.

  6. You raised an interesting and very valid point, Henry, but unfortunately, the MSM is not interested in the nuances between a Cuban refugee and a Cuban migrant. When those five Cubans came ashore this morning, the Sun-Sentinel had no way of knowing which of them came to the US for economic reasons, and which came here fleeing oppression. However, they do know that they came from a country that practices flagrant apartheid against its own, stifles free speech, punishes dissenters, and is guilty of a host of other human rights violations. By labeling these five as migrants, they diminish the issue of the repressive system they left.
    You are right that many of the Cubans arriving here as of late behave more like migrants than refugees. The MSM, however, uses the term for different reasons. And that is my problem with the word, “migrant.”

  7. I agree with Henry 100%. I heard the interviews given by the recent arrivals from the Cuban Ballet and they t sound like any migrant looking for better opportunities in a better economy, etc. No dicen ni pinga contra los castros.

  8. I think the dominant liberal media is using the word for a purpose. The left (and way too many Republicans) believe that there is no reason other than racism for securing our southern border, so if they can semantically equate Cuban refugees with Mexican migrants, then they can brush off any attempts to curb illegal immigration as hypocritical.

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