26.3.09

News Blackout on Antunez and Dissidents Under Siege in Placetas, Cuba Continues

The news blackout on Placetas has now become a story too. No, of course I'm not referring to Granma and Castro's Cuban media monopololy. Everyone knows they will not publish anything that threatens their totalitarian grip.

Nor is it a full news blackout but something perhaps more subtle. Indeed, The Miami Herald published a piece today, although below the real Cuba headlines where they focus on what Fidel and Mariela Castro have to say today (distracting everyone's attention to something other than the siege of 5 dissidents of course). Nothing in it demonstrates that the Herald visited Placetas. Yet it published a picture of Antúnez resting happily in a cot.

No pictures of State Security forces surrounding his house. Are these forces not really there or did the Herald just not send a journalist to take pictures? If so, why not and why wasn't it explained in the article? Surely the Herald has correspondents in Cuba. Just take a look at the gallery of pictures they have published on the "Bienal de arte en La Habana". How were they able to take those pictures but none of State Security presumed to be surrounding the dissidents' house?

Apparently the Herald's report is for some yet unknown reason based not on a visit to the site of the siege but on a long distance telephone conversation with Antúnez. So, Antúnez has access to a phone. Hmm. Did they ask him if he had attempted to leave the house to get nutrients or to phone someone to bring them? Apparently not. Why not?
What is the Herald trying to tell us is happening in Placetas? Is it that Antunez is taking a nap in America's favorite future tourist destination? No, of course not. The pictures are accompanied by words, sentences, even a message.
The Herald claims that Antúnez house is "...one that visitors can't reach because the Cuban National Police won't allow it." How do they know this if they have not visited the site? Are they just taking Antúnez and a couple of other dissidents' word for it, thus implicitly making the story of what is happening less credible? Surely the Herald must be aware that the Cuban apparatus is going to deny anything the dissidents claim. How could they have failed thus far to attempt to obtain objective evidence of what may in fact be happening? Pictures of the siege. Recordings of the Agents surrounding the house. Videos of someone trying to enter. One knows the Herald is capable of all of this so are are they just not interested in investigating what is objectively happening in Placetas? If so, why not? How could the art fair in Havana (gloriously featuring those responsible for the siege of the dissidents), or Castro's and his niece's worthless dictatorial propaganda be accorded better coverage than this? Isn't their media monopoly sufficient proof that what these 2 may have to say cannot stand up to objections?

Sadly and perhaps soon even tragically, the Herald's notion of objectivity in this case is at best amateurish. Indeed rather than attempt to confirm or deny objectively the slow assasination of 5 dissidents that may be taking place, today's article raises suspicions about Antúnez by telling readers that the "...Cuban 'government' (my quotes) revealed that he had accepted funds from a Miami organization ...with ties to terrorism..." Oh, I get it, Antúnez and the other 4 are perhaps a terrorist cell. All this human rights talk in Cuba is just a cover for terrorism. Do they mean the Al Queda type? Of course not. Just terrorism, or, better yet, the Cuban exile type. You know, Posadas Carriles and those hundreds of thousands of other terrorists. The same crowd who with the US tried to assasinate Fidel over 200 times (see the art show in Havana). Readers, that non-violent dissident, the one taking a nap in the picture published by The Miami Herald is perhaps really planning to blow up Fidel's Cuban Apparatus. Don't you trust him. Don't believe him. Not to worry, we won't investigate any further.

Why hasn't the Herald or any international journalist visited Placetas? There are 5 men supposedly on a liquid fast but supposedly with no access to nutrients. State Security forces supposedly have tried to gas them out and supposedly refuse to let anyone enter or exit. Why hasn't any international journalist gone there, taken pictures, videos and asked some questions right on the scene as would be the case if this were happening anywhere else? If they have absolutely no nutrients, how much time do they have left to live? Is that what the Cuban apparatus and the international media are waiting to find out?

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