Gossip and Speculation Pinch-Hitting for Intelligence
Flip flops & stonewashed jeans?
Ann Louise Bardach’s Without Fidel magically appeared under my Christmas tree and I’ve been meaning ever since to write a review. The problem is that book reviews tend to go on the very back burner around here (as poor Jefferson Morley can attest). In any case, I was suddenly reminded of the book again with the Bardach interview just published by Foreign Policy Magazine. FP calls Without Fidel “the authoritative book on Cuba under Raúl” which implies that Bardach is moving in on the ex-CIA agent Brian Latell’s turf. Unlike Bardach, Latell shows no evidence of ever actually having visited Cuba, but has managed nevertheless to capture a certain corner of the Cuba myth and speculation franchise. Bardach now finds herself in a similar position; blocked for years (by her own admission) from obtaining a Cuban press visa and declining (by her own account) an invitation to play on the Cuban team, she is forced to rely on a grab bag of second-hand sources, spiced with a healthy measure of personal memory and opinion, to serve up the kind of speculative stew that FP editors devour. Continue reading
Posted in Latin America / Caribbean
Tagged ann louise bardach, Carlos Lage, elizardo sánchez, Felipe Pérez Roque, fidel castro, gossip as intelligence, hugo chávez, mental health smears, mormons, ramiro valdés, raul castro, revolutionaries, rosa miriam elizalde
Why yes…or actually, Da! There does seem to be an echo, and by golly, it’s coming in Russian now. Wait while Machetera puts on her Russian translating headset…
It seems that some guy named Nikolai Pakhomov, writing for Politikom, the website for the curiously named Russian Center for Political Technology, has the EXACT same theory as Jorge Castañeda about what went down with Felipe Pérez Roque and Carlos Lage. He even starts the same way, saying that because nobody really knows what’s going on in Cuba, you just have to guess!
CASTAÑEDA: Will Raúl be able to pull off a rapprochement with Washington quickly enough to placate the restiveness his opponents (Carlos Lage, Felipe Pérez Roque and Hugo Chávez) could exploit?
PAKHOMOV: “In this case, the generals [Raúl & the rest] may prove to be not an obstacle to democratization but facilitators of reform. The next test for [the Cuban] regime will most likely be the forthcoming rapprochement with the United States.”
Coincidence? You be the judge.
Machetera’s Russia correspondent, Anton Dech, says he’s never heard of Politikom and never reads it. “The site is not very interesting and has no distinct position,” he says. But apparently the Miami Herald doesn’t see it that way. They actually went to the trouble of digging this piece up and translating it (although Machetera fixed it so you could actually read it). Anyway, that would put Politikom in a category with a whole bunch of other irrelevant National Endowment for Democracy websites, wouldn’t it?
What in the hell is wrong with Jorge Castañeda? Wait, you don’t have to answer that. Machetera will tell you. Basically, he can’t help himself. Someone pays him to make shit up, and he complies. There’s really not much more to it than that. But just for fun, let’s take a look at his Newsweek article about the recent Cuban replacements of Carlos Lage and Felipe Pérez Roque, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, respectively. Did you know that it was all Hugo Chávez’s doing? See, according to Castañeda, Chávez doesn’t like Raúl (Castro) and so he and Lage and Pérez Roque were sneaking around to see how they might get rid of him. Was it Chávez’s idea, or Lage’s? Or Pérez Roque’s? Who knows?! It’s just made up shit!
Machetera will show you how it’s done with this free guided tour of Castañeda’s mind:
As we enter the scene, a dark and stormy night on New York’s Upper West Side, somewhere around 72nd Street, Castañeda is banging away on his keyboard, a half empty bottle of Rioja to his right, an overflowing ashtray to the left, and an empty pharmaceutical packet on the floor. There’s an evil glitter in his eye. He takes a swig, then a deep breath, and pounds away: Continue reading