The Dominant Interests / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar

Granma article against The New York Times, April 24, 2003: “The New York Times is neither serious nor liberal”
Granma article against The New York Times, April 24, 2003: “The New York Times is neither serious nor liberal”

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 11 November 2014 — I was tempted to title this text “The Good New York Times and Bad New York Times”, but since Yoani Sanchez had done the same with USAID it seemed repetitive.

The truth is that lately, and in an unusual manner, the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party, the newspaper Granma, and its televised arm, The Roundtable show, haven’t stopped repeating the good reasons this newspaper has for criticizing the embargo, for demanding that Alan Gross be exchanged for Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior (MININT) prisoners held in the United States, or for criticizing U.S. policy with regards to the Cuban government. This is the good New York Times, a credible and influential American newspaper.

But some have the healthy habit of saving paper and among these pearls appears, published in the Granma itself, an article which speaks very differently in relation to the famous newspaper .

On April 24, 2003, the news was fresh of the imprisonment of 75 Cuban dissidents (originally there were 80 defendants) who were given sentences of 15, 20 and up to 28 years imprisonment. The New York Times addressed that process, later dubbed the Black Spring, and to the Cuban government this was unforgivable.

Granma’s response, under the byline of Arsenio Rodríguez, was overwhelming and conclusive. “…their editorial decisions are neither serious nor liberal, but obediently follow orders in defense of the interests of the dominant powers in this nation.” And concluding with this succinct affirmation: “… the true role of the New York Times was, is and will be to represent the essence of the empire.”

The question some of us in Cuba ask is if the newspaper has ceased to represent the imperial interests of the United States (if this was ever the case) or if now those interests are changing and something is moving under the table, behind the backs of the only protagonists in this drama: Cubans.

I do not know if Arsenio Rodriguez has retired, how old he is, or if he prefers to “pass” on the subject, but I would love to read his opinion now. I would give anything to have the evidence that the editorial decisions of Granma dutifully obey orders in defense of the dominant interests.