WaPo's Booth Hails 'Half-Century of Revolution' in Cuba

Filing his January 1 story from Santiago, Cuba, Washington Post foreign service staffer William Booth paid homage to the 50-year mark of the Castro revolution, pinning blame on "mostly hostile U.S. presidents" and a "decades-long trade and travel embargo" for the big 5-0 being celebrated as a "low-key event that was far removed from the triumphant displays and mass rallies of [Cuba's] socialist glory days."

Booth's 14-paragraph article failed to label either ailing despot Fidel nor ruling substitute despot Raul Castro as dictators, although the man they deposed in 1959, Fulgencio Batista, was tagged as a "despised dictator."

What's more, the word "revolution" to describe the Castro regime a total of seven times in the story, four of them by Booth himself, the other three in quotes from Castro. At no point did Booth quote a Cuban dissident or any Castro opponent, although he made efforts to paint the younger Castro brother as something of a reformer:

Castro spoke of the challenges ahead but did not offer any hints of possible reforms. Since taking office, Raúl has taken small steps to revive the economy and offer new opportunities to Cubans. He made it possible for farmers to work their own land -- a step seen as vital in a fertile country where many fields lay fallow and the government had to spend $2.6 billion in cash for food shipments from the United States in 2008.

The younger Castro also allowed ordinary Cubans to purchase once-forbidden DVD players, computers and cellphones. Unfortunately, many Cubans cannot afford the new luxuries. Purchasing a mobile telephone and setting up an account costs $150. The average monthly salary in Cuba is about $20, though the government provides food rations, medical care, housing and education.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters