On Sunday’s CBS "60 Minutes," Steve Kroft suggested that the American-based Chiquita Banana company was in league with Colombian terrorist groups after paying extortion money to such groups to protect its employees: "It made millions growing bananas there, only to emerge with its reputation splattered in blood, after acknowledging that it had paid nearly $2 million in protection money to a murderous paramilitary group that's killed or massacred thousands of people."
Kroft went on to portray the situation with Chiquita as only one example of a larger pattern of U.S. companies funding terrorism: "Now the Colombian government is talking about extraditing Chiquita executives to Colombia, and investigators in Bogota and on Capitol Hill are looking at other US companies that may have done the same thing."
Kroft later highlighted the murder of a 12-year-old boy by the paramilitary group that Chiquita made payments to: "...the paramilitaries arrived and murdered a 12-year-old boy whose only crime had been to announce their presence." Kroft also explained: "As the atrocities piled up all across the country, Chiquita continued to make the payments to the paramilitaries, viewing itself as a victim of the violence, not a facilitator."
CBS's "Early Show" gave a fairly glowing report from the May Day celebration in Havana, Cuba, May 1, on changes Cuban President Raúl Castro has made in the country. Reporter Elizabeth Palmer called the leader's brother, Fidel Castro, a "revolutionary hero."
Fidel Castro handed provisional power to Raúl Castro, his younger brother, in July 2006. Raúl Castro officially took over the presidency in February 2008 after Fidel Castro fell ill.
Anchor Russ Mitchell said the May Day celebrations in Cuba signaled a "new era" for the country, and Palmer touted reforms like "cell phones," "text-messaging," opening of "resort hotels" to Cuban citizens and "shiny new Chinese buses."
Leftist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is threatening neighboring Colombia with war after that country successfully killed via airstrike FARC terrorists in a camp in Ecuador. Yet in reporting the story, CBSNews.com and the AP downplayed the terroristic nature of the leftist rebel movement.
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been on a Comprehensive List of Terrorists and Groups since November 2, 2001, yet in a March 2 AP filing on the CBSNews.com Web site, the Associated Press waited 30 paragraphs before hinting that FARC was an internationally-maligned terror organization:
[Venezuelan dictator Hugo] Chavez has increasingly revealed his sympathies for the FARC, and in January asked that it be struck from lists of terrorist groups internationally.
Instead, AP preferred to label FARC as a "rebel" force and put in dismissive quote marks the term "terrorists" to refer to FARC militants. For good measure, AP gave ink to former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, who insisted Colombia was acting as a puppet of Washington:
Saturday's Fox News Watch featured a discussion on revelations that CNN staff were sent a memo advising them to make positive claims about Fidel Castro to balance out the regime's critics, crediting the communist dictator as a "revolutionary hero" to leftists who established "free education and universal health care." FNC's liberal contributor and NPR correspondent Juan Williams took exception:
I don't know what was going on there. ... what news man is at work and saying here is what we want to say nice about a man who was an oppressive force in his culture, in his society? A man who long ago left the heroic stance, the Che Guevara time period, and became somewhat of a hard hand that has left his people living at a low quality of life. I don't get it.
"Chavez inspires left but [is] no icon," insists the headline for a February 21 story by Reuters reporter Frank Jack Daniel. Daniel took time to examine what role Chavez could play in rallying Latin American leftists now that the Fidel Castro has kindly retired to let little hermano Raul take the wheel for a while indefinitely.
Daniel practically makes Chavez sound like the Barack Obama of Latin American Marxism: nice image, but still needs more experience:
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's red beret-wearing President Hugo Chavez has inspired a new generation of Latin American leftists but has a ways to go to achieve the heroic status awarded to his iconic friend Fidel Castro.
With the symbolic passing of the torch - from Fidel Castro to Raul Castro - comes hope of changes in Cuba, well at least among some in the media.
Even though no one is predicting Cuba to usher in a new wave of Adam Smith-style capitalism, there might be some changes according to ABC's "World News with Charles Gibson."
"[H]e's talking about significant reforms - liberalizing trade, economic reforms designed to ease poverty in a country where the average person earned $19 a month in the hope of consolidating his own power," ABC correspondent Jeffrey Kofman said on the Feb.19, 2008, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson."