Should it come as a surprise that Cuba’s state-run media, GRANMA, makes no mention of this week’s Cuban Social Media movement? Why would it? It is not in their interest to allow non-violent demonstrations be part of their coverage. In the world of Cuban state media, it is better to deny reality than actually admit it.
Instead, we get the following English post by Raúl Castro: The Revolutionary Rebellion in Egypt. There is support for Egypt and what is has accomplished. But do we read about how social media propelled a movement to overthrow a dictator? Instead we get this:
After 18 days of harsh battling, the Egyptian people attained an important objective: to defeat the United States’ principal ally in the heart of the Arab countries. Mubarak was oppressing and plundering his own people, he was an enemy of the Palestinians and an accomplice of Israel, the sixth nuclear power on the planet, associated with the military NATO group.
And we get this:
The United States supplies Israel with the most modern and sophisticated armament, worth billions of dollars every year. Egypt, an Arab country, was converted into the second recipient of U.S. weapons. To fight against whom? Against another Arab country? Against the Egyptian people themselves?
When the population was demanding respect for their most elemental rights and the resignation of a president whose policies consisted of exploiting and plundering his people, the repressive forces trained by the United States did not hesitate to fire on them, killing hundreds and wounding thousands.
Castro also ends with these statements:
Obama is affected by the events in Egypt; he acts or appears to act as if he were the owner of the planet. What is happening in Egypt seems to be his own issue. He has not stopped talking over the telephone with leaders of other countries.
We support the valiant Egyptian people and their struggle for political rights and social justice.
We are not opposed to the people of Israel; we are opposed to the genocide of the Palestinian people and in favor of their right to an independent state.
We are not in favor of war, but rather in favor of peace among all peoples.
So the Cuban government is in favor of peace, but will it allow its own people to express themselves the same way that Egyptians did? Will it allow for democracy to flourish on the island? Will it provide its own people with true freedom of expression and self-determination?
The answer is, quite simply, no.
The reality is clear: it is in the interest of the United States to see a free and democratic Cuba. While Cuba’s Communist leaders form partnerships with China, President Obama eased travel restrictions to Cuba in the hopes of increasing civil society on the island. Yes, a free Cuba will be better for the United States.
Although the irony is that the one group that is salivating for Cuba to be liberated, Cuban American Florida Republicans, are quick to criticize the Obama administration for doing this. As Florida Republican Senator and Cuban American Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said:
They will not make the Castro regime show respect for human rights, and they certainly won’t help the Cuban people free themselves from the despotic tyranny which oppresses them.
So basically it comes down to this: the Cuban government criticizes the Obama administration. Florida Republican Cuba American leaders criticize the Obama administration. The politics of extreme are alive and well in Havana and Miami.
No wonder people are ready to demonstrate and use social media to get their messages across. Politicians cannot be relied upon.