Desperate and Shameless: The New York Times' Latest Cuba Editorial

Sunday, October 26, 2014
Last Sunday, The New York Times treated us to an editorial on U.S.-Cuba policy, which was full of glaring contradictions, misrepresentations and omissions.

Today, it's treating us to a similarly deceptive -- and absolutely shameless -- editorial on Cuban-American politics.

Just how shameless?

It finally admits in its opening paragraph:

"There was a time, not too long ago, when any mainstream politician running for statewide or national office in Florida had to rattle off fiery rhetoric against the Cuban government and declare unquestioning faith that the embargo on the island would one day force the Castros from power."

What? Not too long ago?

Is the NYT recognizing that it has been absolutely wrong about Cuban-American politics for the last 40 years?

After all -- this is the same NYT that on December 20th, 1965, sought to convince politicians and public opinion that:

The very active anti-Castro groups in Miami have faded into virtual obscurity.”

Then again, on October 10, 1974:

Virtually all of several dozen Cubans interviewed would like to visit Cuba either to see their relatives or just their country, which they have not seen for 10 years or more; and some segments of the exile community, especially young refugees brought up and educated here, are not interested in the Cuban issues.”

And on March 23, 1975:

For the first time significant number of exiles are beginning to temper their emotion with hardnosed geopolitical realism.”

And on August 31, 1975:

A majority of the persons interviewed — especially the young, who make up more than half of the 450,000 exiles here — are looking forward to the time when it will be possible for them to travel to Cuba. Even businessmen, who represent a more conservative group than the young, are thinking about trading with Cuba once the embargo is totally lifted.”

And on July 4, 1976:

A new generation of professionals between 25 and 35 years of age has replaced the older exile leadership.”

Et al.

Yet, now again, today -- on October 25th, 2014 -- claims:

"In recent years as younger members of the diaspora have staked out views that are increasingly in favor of deepening engagement with the island."

In recent years?

The NYT has been making that same political argument since 1965!

Beyond this glaring contradiction, the editorial weaves, bobs and turns in desperate search for a selective gauge that favors its long-discredited narrative on Cuban-American politics.

Of course, it omits the two simplest, factual and most relevant indicators:

-- Every Cuban-American elected official supports U.S. sanctions towards Cuba. Surely, there's no greater indicator of political attitude than the democratic process.  This transcends generations -- with some of the policy's most visible and vocal defenders being young, i.e. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

-- There are only two majority Cuban-American Congressional Districts in the whole country -- Florida 27, represented by U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Florida 25, represented by U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). Both ran unopposed this year due to the strong support they enjoy from their majority Cuban-American electorate.

Then, the NYT frets:

"Still, ending the embargo, which requires congressional action, remains challenging because a small but passionate group of Cuban-American lawmakers is adamant about maintaining the status quo."

That's right, in our democracy, Congress makes laws -- and only Congress can repeal laws. But it takes more than a "small passionate group" to pass or repeal a law -- it takes a majority of Congress.

Just this week, one of the Castro regime's most outspoken Congressional apologists, U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), stated:

"Right now we would not win a vote to repeal Helms-Burton or to remove the travel restrictions."

He's right.

Moreover, in recent years, any Congressional support for easing sanctions towards Cuba has continued to whither, as the Castro regime has taken an American hostage; dramatically increased repression; illegally trafficked 240 tons of weapons to North Korea; fomented violence and subverted democracy in Venezuela; arbitrarily imprisoned and confiscated the investments of foreign businessmen from Europe and Canada; and become a diplomatic mouthpiece for its terrorist brethren in Syria and Iran.

Legislators have also been heeding the calls from Cuba's largest and most active internal democracy groups (i.e. UNPACU, The Ladies in White, Estado de Sats, National Resistance Front) that it is not the time to ease sanctions.

Case and point:

In the 111th Congress, a bill to ease travel restrictions garnered 179 co-sponsors in the House of Representative -- still short of the 218 needed to pass.

In this 113th Congress, the very same bill garnered only 18 co-sponsors.

Apparently, the NYT doesn't want you to know this.

Finally, the NYT resorts to taking desperate potshots at the former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

It states that Ros-Lehtinen -- the democratically-elected representative of the most highly-concentrated, Cuban-American Congressional District in the country, who meets and interacts on a daily basis with Cuba's leading democracy leaders, civil society activists and recent arrivals of all stripes -- "is strikingly out of touch with what is happening on the island."

That is unbecoming (at best). Particularly, coming from a young, new editorial writer at the NYT, Ernesto LondoƱo, who recently discovered Cuba and is obviously regurgitating the cliches of his biased sources.

Then it criticizes Chairman Menendez for giving an impassioned Cuba policy speech on the Senate floor "during the height of the crisis set off by Russia’s invasion of Crimea."

That is ironic (at best). Particularly, coming from the NYT's Editorial Board, which among the world's multiple crises, has now dedicated three editorials to Cuba (the first two praised by Castro himself, as surely this latest one will) in just one week.

It's even more ironic, as the NYT is precisely lobbying President Obama, the Commander-in-Chief, to deviate from the world's many crises, in order to unilaterally and unconditionally embrace Cuba's undeserving dictatorship.

Absolutely shameless.