Okay, Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who is now on a three month world tour, no more called for the release of five spies for the Castro government than Rush Limbaugh actually purchased a can opener for his mother so she could eat dog food. Let me explain:
The Miami Herald reported that ironic comments by Sanchez, currently in Brazil, were misunderstood to mean she supported the release of five agents sent by Cuba to spy on anti-Castro groups in Miami:
Opposition blogger Yoani Sánchez stirred controversy in Brazil on Wednesday when she made a ironic comment about the Cuban government’s misuses of money, time and resources in an international campaign for the release of five Cuban spies. She had said that if that they were freed, the Cuban government would save millions of dollars.
Hours later, Sánchez clarified her position through several messages sent through social media.
The five men were convicted in 2000 of spying on anti-Castro groups in Miami. As part of a spy ring called the Wasp Network, they were linked to the Cuban government’s 1996 shoot-down over the Florida Straits of two planes carrying members of the exile group Brothers to the Rescue. Four South Florida men were killed. Cuba has waged a relentless campaign for the release of the men known as the “Cuban Five.’’
It's unfortunate that Sanchez had to clarify her position because her initial statement was clearly irony IMHO:
“The amount of money that my country’s government is spending on this worldwide campaign, on [ad] space of international media by the Interior Ministry, the number of hours spent in schools talking about those five people, in order to bring that campaign to an end, they should free them,’’ said Sánchez, 37. “I’m worried about my country’s coffers and would prefer their release to see if they save more [money] because there are more issues on the table."
Apparently it was not apparent to some people in various quarters that Sanchez was obviously mocking the Cuban government's obsession with releasing those spies. Perhaps we need to have former congresswoman Pat Schroeder weigh in on this controversy. Why? Because she hilariously missed the obvious irony in Rush Limbaugh's remarks years ago. El Rushbo himself explains:
Some of you people new to the show may not have ever heard this story. Cookie, go to the archives and grab Patsy Schroeder. Back in mid-nineties I was asked to go make a speech on a Sunday afternoon at GOPAC in Washington. I was very upset because there was a big football game that day. The 49ers and Cowboys were playing, but I'd agreed to do this thing. So I was not in the best of humor, not in the best mood. And at that time we were in the middle of the budget debate, the school lunch cuts and the Democrats were calling around saying that Republicans were engaging in their usual stuff of cutting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid and they run around saying that food stamps and senior citizens were soon going to have to make the choice of eating dog food and being able to buy medicine or eating real food and not buying medicine. So all this is banging around Washington the whole week before I get there. So I open up the speech by thanking the GOPAC people for inviting me. "It's really great to be here and, I'll tell you what, I'm so happy the Democrats are doing what they're doing because I have heard them and I want you people to know: I love my mother and I love old people.
"And since the Democrats have told me what's going to happen, what I have done is I went out and I bought my mom a new can opener so that she can get the dog food easier when she has to eat it," and the place busted up laughing. Well, now, this was televised on C-SPAN. Pat Schroeder went to the floor of the House the next day and said, "This is what it's come to! This is it! Rush Limbaugh actually said he's going to buy his mother a can opener so she can have dog food. Wow!" I could not believe it.
And if anybody somehow still believes that either Yoani Sanchez was not being ironic or that she favored the release of the spies, here is her statement on the subject:
“At no moment in Brazil did I ask for the five members of the Cuban Interior Ministry to be free. I was using irony to express my views that if they’re free right now, the government would save millions of dollars that it is now paying in this campaign that has lasted for 15 years.
“If the irony didn’t work, if the words that I used weren’t the right ones, I apologize. My position is the same: They’re not innocent.”
Got that? "They're NOT innocent." And hopefully this ends a controversy stirred up by misunderstood irony.
Finally, I leave it to the reader to guess whether or not your humble correspondent is being ironic when he notes that the staff of the Miami Herald will enjoy the view of the parking lot when they move to their new inland business park headquarters in a few weeks so much more than their current vista of the shimmering blue of Biscayne Bay where they are currently located.
Sorry, no clarification will forthcoming.