Most mornings I watch the BBCA news at 6AM Eastern. It never ceases to provide blogging material.
Today they had reporter Michael Voss, who sounds a lot like Monty Python’s Eric Idle, reporting on the 45th year old “embargo”. He’s repeating the same-old same-old, decades-old, Cuban communist party soudbites those of us who follow Caribbean news have been hearing ad nauseam.
They even show Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque saying “El bloqueo es una guerra economica a escala parlamentaria” (The blockade is economic warfare on a parliamentary scale), which the Beeb promptly mistranslates as “The embargo is economic warfare on a global scale.”
Then we have the same-old same-old shots of ancient American cars and decrepit Russian vehicles puttering down the sad streets of Havana. Eric Idle’s sound-alike forgets to mention what is “Martha Beatriz”‘s last name (it’s Martha Beatriz Roque, Michael, and she was arrested last week) but points out that the press conference where she spoke took place at the home of the US envoy.
The Ladies in White fared better than Ms Roque, since Miriam Leiva states that the Cuban government has been using the embargo as a pretext for opression.
Voss ignores two things:
1. Over one hundred countries in the world are free to trade with Cuba and in fact 20% Cuba’s agricultural products came from the U.S. in 2002 and U.S. farmers and agribusiness total half a billion dollars’ trade since 2001
2. The reason Cuba is broke is because
And where did the Beeb get the story from? Cuban official media. Which of course makes it true:
But Cuban media took up the story at the weekend as the island prepares for commemorations to mark Che Guevara’s death 40 years ago.
Outsiders who have been observing for decades the media reporting from Cuba are well aware that reporters who don’t toe the propaganda line and who don’t go to bed with the Party get thrown out of the island prison.
I predict the BBC will stay safely ensconced in Cuba, at least for as long as the Party is pleased. And pleased they are.
In the short term, however, expect another fellational report soon since “the island prepares for commemorations to mark Che Guevara’s death 40 years ago.”
Michael’s going to be on the front row center seat for that.
UPDATE, Monday 6 October: Sure enough, the Beeb does a Che tribute like no other.