The New York Times' Cuban Adventures in Misinformation

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
This week, Andrew Rosenthal, The New York Times' Editorial Page Editor, was asked about the newspaper's obsessive string of Cuba editorials.

He admitted that their goal was to "influence American policymakers as they continue contemplating policies towards Cuba."

We appreciate his honesty.  So let's call a spade-a-spade: It's a lobbying campaign.

Yesterday, the NYT released its fifth editorial -- in as many weeks -- on Cuba policy.  It's entitled, "In Cuba, Misadventures in Regime Change," aimed at the U.S.'s democracy programs.

All five iterations of this NYT lobbying campaign share a common theme: 

Market Raul as a "reformer" (or as deceased Cuban democracy leader, Oswaldo Paya, would say "fraudulent change"); whitewash the Castro regime's crimes and abuses; ignore Cuba's courageous democracy movement, which overwhelmingly supports current U.S. policy; and portray the United States as the bad guys.

Moreover, current events have highlighted the indiscipline and irresponsibility of this lobbying campaign.

For example, pursuant to its editorial on the "changing" political landscape among Cuban-Americans, the two stars of its piece -- Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) -- lost their respective races.

Then, pursuant to its endorsement of the Castro regime's ransom demands for its American hostage, Alan Gross, the North Korean regime unconditionally released its American hostages -- with U.S. officials emphasizing how no "quid pro quo" took place and that North Korea would not be rewarded with diplomatic or sanctions relief.

This latest editorial is no different.

It simply regurgitates the AP's two recent attacks on the U.S.'s democracy programs -- to which our responses can be seen here and here.

(What a "coincidence" that on the very same day as this latest NYT editorial, the AP runs a new "big story" speculating about a possible reshuffling of USAID's democracy programs.)

However, what this latest editorial lacks in substance, it makes up for in vitriolic. No wonder its was published in the front-page of Castro's rag, Granma, today (see image below).

It begins by calling the 1996 passing of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (knows as "Helms Burton"), which conditions the lifting of U.S. sanctions to democratic reforms and human rights, as an "act of revenge."

Apparently, the NYT is still upset that Congress passed this law pursuant to the Castro regime's murder of three American citizens and a permanent resident of the United States, when the civilian Cessna planes they were traveling in were pulverized over international waters by Cuban MIG fighter jets.

As the NYT sees it, this murder was either justified or should have been rewarded by the United States.

It then describes the recipients of U.S. democracy funding as "charlatans and swindlers." Of course, ignoring that the majority of these programs have been competently run over the years by prestigious NGOs, such as the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Pan American Development Foundation and Freedom House.

Next, the NYT seeks to validate the hostage-taking of American development worker, Alan Gross, regurgitating that he "smuggled communications equipment" -- as if Internet connectivity was contraband.

The fact is Alan Gross is a development worker who traveled to Cuba to help its Jewish community connect freely to the Internet. He declared all of his equipment to Cuban customs upon his arrival. Moreover, his actions in Cuba are protected under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which establishes the right of all human beings "to receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

But it's the last sentence of this latest editorial that is most revealing.

It states, "Washington should recognize that the most it can hope to accomplish is to positively influence Cuba’s evolution toward a more open society."

In other words, the most that can be accomplished is for Cuba to have a "benevolent" dictatorship.

For the NYT, Cubans are incapable or undeserving of the freedoms and democracy that 34 of the 35 nations in the Western Hemisphere enjoy.

Hence its aversion to "regime change," preferring instead "regime preservation."

This is also why the NYT is lobbying for the U.S. to accept Cuba's inclusion in the upcoming Summit of the Americas -- for who cares if Cuba clearly does not meet the Summit's democratic requirements?

After all, Cuba's regime should get a pass from democracy.

This is insulting, dangerous and bigoted. It's also why the NYT lobbying campaign should be rejected.

But at least they're now being honest.