CBS: Cubans 'Hoping' for Castro's Return, 'Enraged' by U.S. 'Hypocrisy' on Terrorists
Anchor Katie Couric heralded: “In Cuba tonight, a lot of anticipation. Reports there say Fidel Castro may lead tomorrow's May Day celebration.” From Havana, Lara Logan asserted: “Just as Cubans are hoping that Fidel Castro will make his first public appearance since falling ill nine months ago, people here have been enraged by the re-emergence of one of his oldest and most hated enemies. Luis Posada Carriles is to Cubans their Osama bin Laden.” Speaking for all Cubans, Logan insisted that “Cubans want him to face terrorism charges. Outraged, they've taken to the streets here in silent protest day after day.” After video of those protesters of supposed free-will, Logan issued another generality: “People here accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy, asking how America can condemn countries who harbor terrorists while refusing to hand over Cuba's most wanted terrorist.” She offered no soundbites or names to support her assumption.
ABC's World News Sunday ran a similar story from Bob Woodruff about Cubans who accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy over the Posada case.
Posada, convicted in Venezuela for masterminding the 1976 destruction of a Cuban airliner with 73 aboard, was released from U.S. custody last week pending trial for entering the U.S. illegally in 2005. He escaped from prison in 1985. I couldn't find much about him in online news sources over the past couple of weeks, other than from Cuban and socialist sources, but this April 25 McClatchy story, “U.S., Venezuelan officials clash over alleged terrorist Luis Posada,” provides some of the basics as does this AFP dispatch with a bit of an edge, “US seeks to bar anti-Castro extremist to speak of CIA ties.”
The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to the April 24 posting on CBSNews.com by CBS News producer Portia Siegelbaum, “Getting Old in Cuba.” An excerpt:
Fidel Castro, 81, is not the only Cuban who is aging.
Thanks to the socialist island's free health care system -- which emphasizes preventive medicine -- Cubans enjoy a very high life expectancy. The average life span in Cuba is 77.08 years. As a result, the island's population is one of the oldest in the Americas, surpassed only by Uruguay....
"We've had to turn our lives inside out because my father-in-law, Victor, who lives with us, suffers from advanced Alzheimer's," Matilde Velazquez, 54, told CBS News.
Velazquez and her husband both work, as do their two grown sons and one daughter-in-law, all of whom live in the house with them -- along with a grade school-age grandson. Because there are no fancy gadgets, no electronic monitoring systems to be had on this island, the family had to come up with a "Cuban solution" five years ago when Victor first began to show signs of memory loss.
"We hung a handmade sign around his neck with his name, address and phone number on it. Strangers and neighbors were always bringing him home," she explains. "People who lived in the neighborhood began to recognize him and would invite him into their homes, then call us."
But as her father-in-law's condition worsened, her husband retired and then took a job as an airport security guard working the night shift. Velazquez got a job as a secretary in a night school. They use their meager savings to pay a neighbor to watch Victor when everyone has to be out of the house. The emotional strain on the family is great.
Fortunately, Cuba's universal, free cradle-to-grave health care system means Alzheimer's patients do not add an additional financial burden to the family. But the shortage of state-and church-run facilities for the elderly mean there is no relief for most families confronting this situation....
The sociologist [Diaz Tenorio], who heads a family study group at the Psychological and Sociological Research Center in Havana, says that while they have found isolated cases of persons who have been sidelined or excluded from family life, the predominant trend is for even those at very advanced ages to be integral and useful, productive members of the family.
A case in point is Laura Clark, a very healthy 73, who was born in Banes, the same town as Fidel Castro. She lives with two daughters, a son-in-law and four grandchildren in the working-class Havana neighborhood known as Pogolotti. It’s the kind of neighborhood where family life spills out into the streets, music blares and conga lines form at the slightest excuse. But inside their modest crowded apartment, Laura runs a tight ship....
Her 12-year-old daughter Rachel depends on her grandmother for meals, for help with her schoolwork, for ironing her school uniform. Asked who does more for her, her mother or her grandmother, Rachel doesn't hesitate: "In reality, my grandmother. She has more time to pay attention to me. My mother's work doesn't leave her with practically any time for me."
Another granddaughter, Leidy Laura, a 21-year-old, fourth-year medical student, said her mother Ileana is always so busy with work that only her grandmother has time for her.
"She's there when I get up in the morning, when I come home from school. She wants to know how my day went. She makes sure my uniform is washed and ironed."
Free education and free universal health care take the financial burden off the family....
The island’s low birth rate -- 11.89 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2006 -- can be linked to the economic crisis that began in the 90s. At the same time, its already-high life expectancy continues to grow, with Fidel Castro's personal physician Dr. Eugenio Selman heading the "120 Years Club" designed to promote longevity among the population....
That recalls an August 16, 2004 MRC CyberAlert item:
USA Today lent its news pages to a Havana-datelined story, ostensibly tied to Fidel Castro's 78th birthday, which treated as credible the claims by one of Castro's doctors that Cubans can live 120 years. "Cuba pursues a 120-year-old future," blared the August 13 headline. "Nation strives for world's longest life expectancy," trumpeted the subhead. Reporter Eric Sabo's lead: "There's a good chance that Fidel Castro, who marks his 78th birthday today, could keep going for another 40 years, the Cuban leader's personal physician says." Check out this sentence in Sabo's "news" story: "Cuban officials say the same revolutionary zeal that has driven nearly five decades of socialism can overcome the ravages of time."
Now, to the April 30 CBS Evening News story transcribed by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
Katie Couric: "In Cuba tonight, a lot of anticipation. Reports there say Fidel Castro may lead tomorrow's May Day celebration. He has been out of the public eye since he had intestinal surgery nine months ago. Our chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan is in Havana."
Lara Logan: "Just as Cubans are hoping that Fidel Castro will make his first public appearance since falling ill nine months ago, people here have been enraged by the re-emergence of one of his oldest and most hated enemies. Luis Posada Carriles is to Cubans their Osama bin Laden, accused of blowing up this plane in 1976 when all 73 people on board were killed, and for a string of other hotel bombings that claimed innocent lives in what was supposed to be a fight against Fidel Castro.
“Watching the former CIA agent and aging exile walk free from a U.S. prison was the last thing Cubans wanted to see. Even though he's in Miami awaiting trial for entering the U.S. illegally, Cubans want him to face terrorism charges. Outraged, they've taken to the streets here in silent protest day after day. Camilo Rojo was five when he lost his father on the airline bombing. 'Posada showed no regret, and now,' he says, 'he sleeps like a baby, but I haven't slept that way since he killed my father,' he told us. People here accuse the U.S. of hypocrisy, asking how America can condemn countries who harbor terrorists while refusing to hand over Cuba's most wanted terrorist. People here say that if there's one thing that could get Fidel Castro out of bed and into public tomorrow after so long, it's the idea that Posada could get off scot-free. Lara Logan, CBS News, Havana."
Many more examples of journalists admiring Castro's accomplishments: In February, the MRC's Rich Noyes put together a Special Report with many examples of how the U.S. media have gushed over the communist dictator, "Fidel's Flatterers: The U.S. Media's Decades of Cheering Castro's Communism." The report features more than 20 videos, going back to 1988, culled by Michelle Humphrey from the MRC's archive, divided into four categories:
# Field Trips to Fidel's Island "Paradise"
# CNN's Havana Bureau: "Megaphone for a Dictator"
# Elian Gonzalez, Back to the "Peaceable" Paradise
# Touting Fidel and Cuba's Communist Revolution