Category Archives: media terrorism

Alan Gross’ Fasting Folly

By Max S. Cruz

Alan Gross’ fasting folly

healthshakeTwo weeks ago, Alan Gross, a USAID subcontractor arrested in Cuba in 2009 for activities aimed at overthrowing the Cuban government, desperately announced that he was beginning a fast in an attempt to get the attention of US President Obama, who has basically abandoned Mr. Gross:

“I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal.”

All major news sources rushed to tell the world that a man had gone on hunger strike.

“Fast” and “hunger strike” are not interchangeable terms. Continue reading


Burson-Marsteller, Alan Gross, and the light at the end of the tunnel

The lesson at the Salpêtrière (1887), by Pierre-André Brouillet (1857 - 1914)

PR as Valium español, traducido por Manuel Talens, de Tlaxcala


Saltpêtrière is a legendary Parisian hospital.  Built in the 17th century, it was known as the cradle of neurosciences for having hosted great teaching doctors such as Charcot, Babinski and Freud.  In the image above, a famous painting by Pierre-André Brouillet, the French doctor Jean-Martin Charcot is portrayed explaining how to diagnose hysteria in a female patient whose name has gone down in the annals of medical history: Blanche Wittman.

The scene is unmistakably sexist: a roomful of men deciding how to treat a woman for a condition whose very etymology reveals its sexism.  Simply by virtue of the fact that she is a woman, she is at the mercy of their decisions. A victim.  The two nuns waiting to catch Blanche as she collapses are mere voiceless spectators.  The men in this image know everything, the women, nothing.

A century and a quarter later, the story behind this painting suggests nothing so much as the case of Judy Gross, the wife of the USAID contractor imprisoned in Cuba. Paternalism remains very much alive, and both The New York Times and Washington Post confirm this through their participation in the inane media campaign to pressure Pope Benedict XVI to counsel Cuba to exchange Rene González for Alan Gross.  Counseling Cuba, as though it were an unruly child, not a sovereign country, is offensive enough.  But it’s nothing new.  The counsel that Judy Gross is receiving on the other hand, is another matter.  Instead of being treated as an active subject, capable of taking her future into her own hands, Judy’s campaign to bring her husband home is being managed and reported by people who have their own, very different priorities. Continue reading

Rene González and Alan Gross: speed and bacon

Disparates – (español)


I suppose the Latin American term for an apples and oranges comparison is peras y manzanas.  [Pears and apples.]  Somehow it doesn’t have quite the same ring.  In Spain, the expressions are funnier.  No hay que confundir el culo con las témporas. [No need to confuse the ass with the temporal bones].  No confundir churras con merinas.   [Don’t confuse the sheep that produces itchy wool with the sheep that makes merino].

But at the moment, thinking of Rene González and Alan Gross, I prefer the Spanish no mezclar la velocidad con el tocino [don’t mix up speed and bacon], because it’s an expression that highlights the absurd, and nothing is more absurd than the comparisons that are being marketed by the mainstream U.S. press on behalf of the State Department about these two men. Continue reading

Sticky fingers at “Ladies in White” in Cuba

Cuban “Ladies in White” Suspect Recently Deceased Leader of Embezzling $20,000español

Jean-Guy Allard
Translation: Machetera

Rumors in Havana circulate at lightning speed.  Sources close to the “Ladies in White” [Damas de Blanco] reveal that upon taking charge of the mini-group and reviewing its finances, Berta Soler had the disagreeable surprise of learning that some $20,000 was missing from the organization which is openly funded by the United States.

The “Ladies” founder, Laura Pollán, died on October 14 at the Calixto Garcia Hospital, at the age of 63, victim of cardiac arrest “aggravated by diabetes, hypertension and dengue.”

The discovery of the group’s missing funds came about in a meeting where the 48 year old Soler, who’d acted as second in command until Pollán’s death, was confirmed as the new leader.  The rivalry between the two women who competed for favors from the U.S. diplomatic post in Havana (known as the U.S. Interests Section – USIS) was well known. Continue reading

Ted Henken rolls snake eyes

Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Long story short.  Ted Henken, the quite white chair of the Black and Hispanic Studies department at Baruch College who calls himself “El Yuma” and writes a blog under the same title, recently returned from a trip to Cuba where he had gone to interview bloggers of all persuasions, but most especially his close personal friend, “La Yoa,” (Yoani Sánchez) whose cherished interview he saved for last. Continue reading

U.S. Soldiers: Posada Carriles, Juan Carlos Castillón and Ernesto Hernández Busto

Left to right: BFFs Posada Carriles, Castillón & Hernández Busto

U.S. Soldiers: Posada, Castillón and Hernández Busto

Posada Carriles: U.S. citizen by virtue of “spilt” blood, according to Castillón

Enrique Ubieta Gómez, La Isla Desconocidaespañol

Translation: Machetera / Tlaxcala

From time to time, one has to be grateful to [Ernesto] Hernández Busto for the clues he leaves in his blog about the darker regions of his little brain.  Today he posted a priceless article by Juan Carlos Castillón – a regular collaborator of his, and I suppose, a friend.  Let’s see, it’s titled “Bambi, acquitted.”  The author, apparently distanced from Posada, nevertheless dedicates all of his argumentative efforts to justifying him:  “In good conscience I can’t approve of many of the things that he’s done, but I admire the fact that a man, alone, or with the help of very few friends, at an age when many of them are in nursing homes, has taken upon his shoulders the work of keeping alive a Cold War in which those who were his bosses no longer believe.  Is Posada in the right?  He was in his day.”  Castillón talks without embarrassment about the legitimacy of a dirty war “against communism,” and elevates Posada to hero status; when he says that “he was right,” it is a reference to an era in which a bipolar world still existed, to the years in which the man he admires and defends plotted the mid-air bombing of a Cuban passenger airliner and caused the death of the 73 persons on board.  But there are also some fragments where Castillón says who he, Posada, and Hernández Busto serve:

“A (USAmerican) society to which Posada rightfully belongs, no matter how much it bothers his critics in Havana, Caracas and the United States itself.  The French legionnaires, who may become citizens once they’ve performed certain duties, often say that they are French by blood, not inherited blood, but through spilt blood.  This is true.  Few fight harder for their adopted countries than immigrants.  U.S. history has plenty of examples (…) Posada Carriles has been a U.S. soldier in times of war and this gives him the right to be in the United States.  Because Posada, despite having fought on a different battlefield, is not all that different from other soldiers.  Although we may have forgotten it and put it away in that drawer where bothersome mementos are kept, the Cold War was a real war.  A war in which plenty of exiles participated in order to oppose the governments who led their nations (…) Many Cuban American exiles sympathize with Posada Carriles because he was a combatant in that war.”

They were men, Castillon finally admits, “who enlisted in ‘The Company’ or supported it, in order to struggle for their countries by fighting for the United States.”  “The Company” is what the CIA is often called.  I’ve never read a more open argument.  The fascists Castillón and Hernández Busto admit frankly that they are U.S. soldiers, in a war against the governments that lead their countries; that they have enlisted with the CIA to fight for the United States.

Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.

The Habeas Corpus Appeal of Gerardo Hernández, one of the Cuban Five: he had no advance knowledge about Brothers to the Rescue shoot down

No evidence exists that Hernández had any advance knowledge whatsoever regarding Cuban Air Force shoot down of Brothers to the Rescue planes – inferences made at trial were “tragically, utterly false”español


“Gerardo Hernández never did receive due process of law either on the part of the prosecutors or his own defense.”
Leonard Weinglass

Gerardo Hernández

Attorneys for Gerardo Hernández, a Cuban citizen serving two consecutive life sentences plus 15 years in the maximum security wing of the US Federal Penitentiary at Victorville, California have filed his final appeal in the US legal system. The evidence supporting his right to a new trial is staggering.

Hernández is one of ten Cubans who, like the Russian agents arrested in the summer of 2010 in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, were arrested by the FBI in Miami in 1998 and charged with failing to register as agents of a foreign government, as well as  conspiracy to commit espionage. Unlike the Russians, who were swiftly deported and never faced a trial, five of the arrested Cubans quickly pled guilty and were rewarded with reduced sentences and green cards, while the remaining five, including Hernández, were thrown into separate solitary confinement cells for nearly a year and a half to await their court date. All the evidence for, against, and irrelevant to their cases was locked away by federal authorities under cover of national security. The government’s manipulation of the evidence is one of the issues raised in the appeal. Continue reading