Herbert Matthews’ Ghost

Monday, October 13, 2014
From The New York Sun's Editorial Board:

Herbert Matthews’ Ghost

Herbert Matthews’ ghost seems to be prowling the editorial rooms of the New York Times. How else to explain the editorial this morning calling for an end to America’s embargo of Cuba and the establishment of diplomatic relations with the communist regime on the island? Matthews was the Times’ correspondent who broke the story that Fidel Castro was, despite the assurances of the president, Fulgencio Batista, alive and leading a revolutionary army. The Timesman had been smuggled up into the Sierra Maestra mountains and given an interview with the future communist dictator, and was the tyrant’s apologist ever since.

The Times wants to placate this poltergeist before the devil lights Castro’s last cigar.* It starts by acknowledging the “dismal state of troubled bilateral relationships” that the Obama administration “has sought to turn around.” It then tries to assert that President Obama “would be smart to take a hard look at Cuba, where a major policy shift could yield a significant foreign policy success.” Let us acknowledge other possibilities: Maybe, say, the Times didn’t really intend to suggest something so ridiculous but suddenly got the frights when the Shade of Mr. Matthews just appeared through the wall.

In any event, a response to the contradictions, misrepresentations, and omissions in the Times latest editorial has been put up on the Web by the executive director of Cuba Democracy Advocates in Washington, Mauricio Claver-Carone. He points out that many of the bilateral crises the Times cites have been aggravated by “precisely,” as he puts it, “foreign policies that the NYT has long advocated.” He cites Syria, Russia, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. The Times says if we don’t lift our embargo, Cuba’s new port won’t be viable. Fine by him (and us): It was used to ship “240 tons of Cuban weapons destined” to Pyongyang.

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