The wire service began by deliberately mischaracterizing the Cubans as “migrants” instead of calling them “refugees” or even “passengers.” Labeling them “migrants” ignores Cuba's political and economic straitjacket, and more importantly links Cuban refugees to the issue of illegal immigration.
The media are beginning to call everyone who comes to America with the intent to stay, “migrants,” whether here legally or not, which erases any distinctions. People who are anti-illegal immigration often support Cuban refugees remaining in the US, and linking the two issues can reduce opposition to illegal immigration.
While explaining why the Cubans risked their lives coming to the US, Reuters ignored Castro's totalitarian regime (bold mine throughout):
Under U.S. immigration policy, Cubans intercepted at sea are returned to the island, but those who reach U.S. soil are almost always allowed to stay.
Cuba blames that "dry foot" policy for encouraging Cubans to risk their lives on vessels or smuggler boats speeding across the 90-mile strait with Florida. Critics say emigration reflects discontent over economic hardships.
Just “economic hardships?” What about the other hardships? Cubans live in an oppressive police state where government thugs drag people from churches, pepper spraying and beating them in the street just because they want freedom.
Possessing a book that Castro's government does not approve of will land Cubans in prison, even librarians. There is no privacy, free speech or dissent without punishment and the much-vaunted health-care system is in tatters. Surprisingly, the article didn't mention the US embargo—the media's favorite scapegoat.
So, what is prompting all of those Cubans to leave now? After a year of Brother Raul, they know that even when Castro dies, nothing will change. They will still be prisoners in a brutal country where people are jailed for reciting quotations by Martin Luther King Jr.
Reuters explained the increasing number of fleeing Cubans:
According to U.S. figures, the Coast Guard intercepted 2,868 Cubans trying to get to the United States in fiscal year 2007. That is the highest since 1994 when more than 35,000 tried to reach U.S. territory.
Washington has agreed to grant 20,000 visas a year for those seeking to emigrate, but the visa process is caught in a dispute. The U.S. mission in Havana said this year consular work was being obstructed, but Cuba countered U.S. authorities were delaying visas to undermine the government.
Typical equivalency about Cuba. Blame the US for not issuing enough visas while pretending that both countries are equally at fault. Maybe someday the media will report Cuba fairly.
*Photo via Reuters
Lynn contributes to NewsBusters. Contact her at tvisgoodforyou2 AT yahoo DOT com