Thursday, September 14, 2006

Media management 101

The official Cuban media has published new photographs of Fidel Castro.

And just in time, too.

The hundreds of foreign journalists who have been allowed into Cuba to cover the Summit of the Non Aligned Movement were getting a little bored with the talkfest itself. Not surprising since, much as expected, the whole thing has turned into one very long and very dull speech attacking “the Empire”. And that’s even before Hugo Chavez arrives ...

So, we now have photographs of the 80 year old dictator having a chat to an Argentinean parliamentarian, still wearing his pyjamas and the silk robe he seems to be so fond of, and looking somewhat healthier than in previous footage.

The photographs don’t prove anything, of course, except the fact that Castro is still alive. This is old news.

But that’s not the point. The latest pictures will give the international media camped in Havana something to write about, rather than spending their time looking for real stories, like the dengue epidemic reportedly engulfing entire neighbourhoods in the capital city, or the crumbling buildings just a couple of blocks away from the convention centre, or the protests by the Damas de Blanco.

It’s called media management and the Castro regime has been a master of the art for 47 very long years.


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