Posted July 28, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
As Cubans mark the 50th anniversary of the start of the revolution which brought Fidel Castro to power, the splits between his supporters at home and exiles in Miami are nowhere more marked than in the press.
Passions run high on both sides of the Straits of Florida, with newspapers in Cuba following their normal pattern of eulogising Fidel and the revolution, while those in Miami attack the “tyranny across the water”.
One of Havana’s leading dailies, Granma, reports on what it hails as “the glorious epic of 26 July 1953” from “heroic Santiago de Cuba”, the location of the Moncada barracks.
“Especially emotional were the meetings of the children, youth, adults and old people with the participants in that action of 26 July.”
“The population of this legendary city experienced the emotions of a carnival considered to be genuinely representative of the cultural values of the Cuban nation.”
They had long awaited this special moment, Granma says.
Writing in another leading daily, Juventude Rebelde, Rosa Miriam Elizalde says that “Santiago is, 50 years on, a kaleidoscope of images which nurture the nation’s history.”
Moncada, she writes, “is a name which resonates, signifies courage, goes to make Cuba what it is”.
“It’s very likely that Cubans assimilate these signs which identify them as citizens even before they can read and write.”
Writing in the same paper, Remy Herrera argues that “26 July reminds us of an exceptional fact: that from current defeat can be born future victory”.
Echoing Fidel Castro’s famous words at his trial, Mr Herrera notes that, “50 years on, the entire Cuban people can say: ‘Condemn us, it doesn’t matter. History will absolve us’.”
“If Cuba is condemned, demonised and threatened it’s because Cuba is admired, independent and free. All of us in Cuba are Moncadistas.”
El Correo de Cuba
Mr Herrera asks “Why back Cuba now more than ever? Because of the social progress achieved by the revolution. Health, education, research, culture. It’s recognised that Cuba’s indices are excellent.”
“The Cuban dictator used the celebration to offend the European Union,” came a different message from across the sea in Miami.
Miami’s El Correo de Cuba says the events in Santiago took place “among the odour of the sickly multitude” which sought to review “the achievements of 50 years of a revolution which pitched the island into a half century of bloody dictatorship and turned it into the biggest prison in America”.
Describing Mr Castro as “a terrorist”, El Correo held an opinion poll asking: “Will the tyrant Castro see out the year?”. Nineteen per cent said yes, 37% said no, and 44% said “yes, but he’ll not last long”.
Nueva Prensa Cubana also launches a fierce attack on its internet site, calling Cuba a country with “the prisons of the ultimate barbarity” and publishing a map where it says journalists seeking to tell the truth are incarcerated.
It carries reports about “the dirty and degrading behaviour” of the local neighbourhood committees, speaks about “45 years of totalitarian power” and reports on “delinquent officials who carry out physical and psychological torture”.
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