The New York Times–Ever Faithfull!

The NY Times' Herbert Matthews decorated by his icon.
The NY Times' Herbert Matthews decorated by his icon.

“Can Cuba find the space between socialist failure and again becoming an economic colony of the United States,” (New York Times, March, 20 2011)

In fact, of Cuba’s 161 sugar mills in 1958, only 40 were U.S. owned. And United Fruit — the outfit generally cast as J.R. Ewing/Snidely Whiplash in this episode — owned only a third of these. And according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in 1958 U.S. investments in Cuba accounted for only 13 per cent of Cuba’s GNP.

Early in the Cuban revolution, for instance, Czech economist Radoslav Selucky visited Cuba and was rudely awakened: “We thought Cuba was underdeveloped except for a few sugar refineries?!” he wrote when he got home to Prague. “This is false. Almost a quarter of Cuba’s labor force was employed in industry where the salaries were equal to those in the U.S.!

“One Thousand Killed in 5 days of Fierce Street Fighting!” (New York Times headline on Jan 4, 1959 about the “battle” of Santa Clara) “Commander Che Guevara appealed to Batista troops for a truce to clear the streets of casualties,” continues the Times article. “Guevara turned the tide in this bloody battle and whipped a Batista force of 3,000 men!”

A year later, Che’s own diaries revealed that his forces suffered exactly one casualty during this Caribbean Stalingrad, as depicted by the New York Times.

“Castro’s promise of social justice brings a foretaste of human dignity for millions (of Cubans) who had little knowledge of it in Cuba’s former near-feudal economy,” (New York Times June, 1959).

In fact: Prior to Cuba’s glorious liberation by Fidel and Che, the average farm-wage in “near-feudal” Cuba was higher than in France, Belgium, Denmark, or West Germany. According to the Geneva-based International Labor Organization, the average daily wage for an agricultural worker in Cuba in 1958 was $3. The average daily wage in France at the time was $2.73; in Belgium $2.70; in Denmark $2.74; in West Germany $2.73; and in the U.S. $4.06. Also, far from huge latifundia dominating the agricultural landscape, the average Cuban farm in 1958 was actually smaller than the average farm in the U.S.: 140 acres in Cuba vs. 195 acres in the U.S. In 1958 Cuba, a nation of 6.2 million people, had 159,958 farms — 11,000 of which were tobacco farms. Only 34 percent of the Cuban population was rural.”

So: same ole…same ole…from the New York Times

3 thoughts on “The New York Times–Ever Faithfull!”

  1. What can one expect of a newspaper that decades earlier denied the Gulags and created the myth of a benevolent grandfather-like Joseph Stalin?

    Besides, the NYT’s has always hated Cubans. There was an infamous case before castro when the newspaper had to give an apology to the country because it wrote that Cuban women [who before castro used to be very well coiffured] looked like whores walking down the street. Apparently, since the NYT’s believed its own lies that all Cubans were shoeless peasants, and it irked them to see Cuban women dressed no different than Parisians, Londoners or New Yorkers.

    What a wonderfully consistent paper. It just doesn’t stop.

  2. Matthews was clearly seriously compromised by his embarrassing, even creepy infatuation with Fidel Castro. Regardless of what he thought he was doing or what his intentions or motives were, he was, for all practical purposes, a Castro propagandist. His reporting on Cuba might as well have been done by Hugo Chávez. No serious, respectable newspaper should have employed such a “journalist.” But yes, the same sort of gross misinformation had happened before, very notoriously with Walter Duranty. And yet, the NYT got away with it and has yet to apologize, let alone take responsibility for the consequences of such blatant malpractice. Those who have failed to hold it responsible are obviously part of the problem. As I keep saying, the problem is not so much bad actors, but rather their enablers.

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