Thursday, September 18, 2008


Two weeks after large parts of Cuba were devastated by hurricane Ike, leaving 200,000 people homeless and much of the economy in ruins, the never-ending war of words between Havana and Washington continues.

All very predictable – and very depressing.

In the latest instalment, the Castro regime has accused the US administration of lying about the amount of aid being offered to the island, calling instead for, yes, you guessed it, the immediate lifting of the “criminal” trade “blockade”.

Never mind that Fidel Castro has already rejected American aid out of hand, arguing that accepting any assistance from the US would somehow undermine the “dignity” of the Cuban people.

Ordinary Cubans may be homeless and hungry but as far as the semi-retired dictator is concerned, they are “too proud to accept charity from the enemy”.

Which proves yet again that while the old man may be out of action and out of touch with the reality around him, he still knows how to play that old public relations game that has served him so well for the past five decades.

And as usual, the Castro propaganda machine is running rings around their counterparts in the US.

Big time.

As far as I can see, Washington stuffed it up from the very beginning, announcing they’d be offering Cuba a measly $100,000 in aid on the condition a team of US assessors was allowed into the island to ascertain the level of damage.

And much as expected, Cuba rejected the offer.

Instead, they mounted a totally predictable (and obviously effective) campaign internationally that ensured much-needed aid arrived from other nations, including Russia and Western Europe ... while attacking Washington for its obviously inadequate and highly conditional offer of aid.

Result? Endless articles, editorials and commentary across the international media once again portraying those warm and fuzzy and valiant Castro brothers as victims of the nasty and insensitive Americans.

By the time Washington increased its offer of aid to a very generous USD5 million with no strings attached, it was too late.

Game, set and match to the regime in Havana. Again.

As for ordinary Cubans, well, they have been relegated to their usual role by the regime: mute spectators in their own tragedy.

According to this article in The Economist, food markets are already running out of supplies and prices have shot up, making life even more miserable for much of the population.


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