Friday, October 27, 2006

Media stunts, Castro style

Regular readers of this blog (I am sure there is one or two of you out there, right?), may recall an earlier post regarding a story published by the official Cuban media earlier this month about a boy called Raysel Sosa Gonzalez.

Raysel was one of a number of children from around the world who won a drawing competition organised by the United Nations.

But when he turned up to collect his certificate in Algeria, he discovered that one of the prizes was missing from the kitty handed out by the sponsors to all the winners: a digital camera from Nikon.

Nikon apparently said they could not provide Raysel with a camera because of the US embargo.

Initially, the well-oiled Cuban propaganda machine used the story to demonstrate how those evil Americans were using the commercial embargo to hurt and humiliate poor Cuban children, blah, blah, blah …

But lately there has been a subtle change in Havana.

As well as using the missing camera to attack the Americans over their “criminal blockade”, Cuban newspapers are now also attacking the Japanese firm for being heartless and spineless and nothing but a tool of imperialism. Usual stuff.

We do not know whether Nikon will respond or how.

But the propaganda offensive continues, with a report this morning in Juventud Rebelde that Raysel has now been given a Nikon camera after all, not by the company but by … Fidel Castro. Naturally.

Apparently, the 80 year old dictator is not only alive but well enough to have heard about Raysel’s dilemma and ordered a Nikon for the boy, although we suspect the money did not come from Castro’s own pockets.

You think this is a pretty pathetic PR stunt? You think it couldn’t get more tacky? Think again.

The paper quotes Raysel’s art teacher, one Jorge Gonzalez, as telling reporters, in reference to Castro: “Today, justice has been done and it’s been done by most just man in the entire world.”


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