Patron saint of Cuban mercenaries and lazy journalists

AP journalist Anita Snow reports that according to Cuban “dissident” Elizardo Sánchez (El Camaján) more than 200 Cubans serving time in Cuban prisons for taking money from the United States to overthrow the Cuban government, are “nearly unanimous” on the idea that they would rather stay in prison than be traded for the Cuban Five.elizardobotellawhisky

Now, Machetera’s just a humble blogger, picking over the carcass of a story dragged back by a beat reporter, but still, she has a few nagging questions.  First of all, it can’t be pleasant talking to someone as slimy as Sánchez, and Snow probably wanted to get off the phone as fast as possible, but Machetera wonders if it occurred to her to ask him how he came by his information?  Did he take a poll?  Snow mentions that Sánchez talks to some of these people and their families every day, but it’s kind of a leap between talking to “numerous” prisoners and saying that “most of the 200” are unanimous on the idea of serving their entire sentence.  Isn’t it?

Second of all, it’s not Sánchez doing the time, is it?  Sánchez is free to continue hanging out in public parks, trading info for whiskey. So maybe it’s easy for him to say?

And when would it be worth mentioning to readers that Sánchez is a man notorious for playing both sides of the fence – working Cuban security at the same time he worked Frank Calzon – not because he cared about either, but because his main allegiance was to himself?

2 responses to “Patron saint of Cuban mercenaries and lazy journalists

  1. What is the deal with Elizardo Sanchez? How slimy is he really? And, are there any decent people among the Cuban dissidents?

  2. The best information about Elizardo Sánchez is found in the book El Camaján, written by two Cuban journalists, Arleen Rodríguez and Lázaro Barredo. It’s available in both English and Spanish and I saw the English version for sale somewhere on the Internet as I was writing this entry but now I can’t find it. If I run across it again, I’ll post it.

    Basically Sánchez was working with the U.S. funded “dissidents” in Cuba, with all the attendant privileges – fully funded foreign travel, etc., when he realized that if he became a double agent he would be able to work the gratuities on the Cuban side as well. After a time, Cuban security exposed Sánchez for what he was, hence the sobriquet “Camaján.”

    The prologue to the book explains the word “Camaján” as a Cubanism, meaning “‘someone who likes the good life, in the pejorative sense.’ The adjective, originally associated with discredited rural politics, was invented as a biting way of pointing out those who tried to get a better lifestyle with the least possible work and sacrifice. Someone who talks a lot and does nothing.”

    When Sánchez was exposed by Cuban security he howled that it was a filthy trick to undermine the dissident movement, but he had a harder time explaining the pictures released, one of which is shown in the post above.

    Journalists have very short memories though, which is why it was only a matter of time before he could start to be used as a source again.

    As far as your last question is concerned, the answer is no.

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