Monday, March 2, 2009

From the Associated Press:

Analysis: Cuba waiting and watching Obama

HAVANA (AP) — Amid two wars and an economic crisis, Cuba policy hardly ranks at the top of President Barack Obama's long agenda.

But circumstances are pressuring Obama to make a move on Cuba soon — or miss an opportunity to advance his pledge to restore America's leadership in the world and in its own hemisphere.

Click here for the whole story.

Below, I've listed a few portions of the story, along with questions that arose in my mind when I read them. As the resident journalist, I think this is an interesting case study in semantics and their effect on news coverage.

Conversations with Cuban officials here suggest that unless the Obama administration signals its intentions quickly and clearly, it will disappoint not only Cuba, but also many Latin American leaders watching for signs that the U.S. is ready to chart a dramatic new course in the region.

Disappoint Cuba? Ready to chart a new coure? At what point is the Cuban government disappointing the U.S.? The human rights community? It's own people? There are currently exceptions to embargo law and the U.S. does do trade with Cuba - albeit limited and heavily regulated. Isn't that more concession than the Cuban regime has ever made? Who are journalists to make value judgments about who is disappointing — or who needs to satisfy — whom?
Again during the Clinton years, Cuba's downing of two civilian planes sent towards Cuba by an anti-Castro group in Florida arrested possibilities for progress in 1996.
"Sent towards Cuba"? Really? The planes were sent into international waters. Since when do we describe planes' paths by what they ae heading "towards" beyond their destination? When I'm on flights from Miami to Atlanta I never tell people I'm headed towards New York. And why not mention the planes' humanitarian mission? It certainly seems relevant given that we're talking about their being shot down.


1 comment:

Gladisley said...

Well, regarding your first question, what I got from that part of the article was the journalists relaying what the Cuban government had been spewing out publicly, that not changing course would put the US at bigger odds with a lot of Latin American leaders (e.g. Lula) who have been recently advocating strongly for the normalization of US-Cuba relations...

As for the other citation... well, of course it reflects what the journalist has been exposed to, I'm sure if you wrote an article about that incident it would sound a lot different and I wouldn't be hard pressed to find your opinion in your syntax. I guess I at least find the use of the word 'civilian' sort of redeeming, though I know this is really a sensitive issue for a lot of Cuban-Americans. But don't get bogged down by this reading between the lines! If we were to talk about semantics and biased rhetoric...