22 October 2003

The workers' paradise

[source, source, source]
Richard Lapper, the FT’s Latin America editor, became frustrated with the reticence of Havanans living in a police state to discuss politics, and thus set out with his wife to ten days of ferrying around hitchhikers, and discussing politics, in a rental car.

What he finds is not surprising of a police state which spies on and imprisons its human rights workers and poets: “In less than two hours we give lifts to five Cubans, and the picture they are painting of Fidel Castro’s Cuba is not attractive. While the ubiquitous roadside slogans urge sacrifice to defend the revolution, Castro seems to be losing the battle of ideas.” (Lapper’s ending sentence is particularly evocative: “In the gloom, I vaguely make out yet another fading party slogan on a roadside billboard. “Firmness and dignity”, it reads.”)

This should be required reading for the misguided collegiate fans of the regime, along with Human Rights Watch’s extensive documentation of Cuba’s repression of its people (including congressional testimony last month by OxBlog’s friend Tom Malinowski, a Rhodes scholar from 1989) Although in its report on the latest wave of brutal political repression, Amnesty International curiously spends most of its words playing for the gallery and attacking the U.S. embargo and (quote) the “war on terror” - their scare quotes. (Amnesty’s bias against actually looking at countries that repress their people, and instead concentrating with increasing exclusivity solely on criticizing the United States, has been well documented - a sad end to an organization which once stood for human rights.)

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That's how we do things in the big city

[source, source]
The Gray Lady’s review trashing “Bill Clinton: An American Journey. Great Expectations” was written by Todd S. Purdum, the husband of Clinton’s first White House press secretary, Dee Dee Myers - though Times readers weren’t informed of his connction to Clinton.
The readers! Why would they deserve to know?
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