I have thought long and hard for a good many years about why it is that so many a revolution leads to suppression of free press, a vital aspect of any country with a sensible form of governance. Democracy cannot exist without free press and full freedom of expression for a nation’s people. That said, I have watched countries such as the United States and England, time and time again, use the force of their media power to misinform people of nations for which they have wholly undemocratic plans, confusing people into believing that what was good for them was what the big powers were planning to give them. The tactic, as the article below points out, has worked time and again to undermine the stability of newly formed governments that defy the wishes of the big powers, Guatemala being one place,
Nicaragua another, and, yes, Cuba another. Developmentalism in Latin America mid-20th century was indeed bringing about changes in government in the region that were succeeding in the development of economies that truly served the whole these nations’ people. But these new economies were based in socialism (sometimes very mild forms that took from the rich and foreign and gave more of the nation’s wealth to back to those who had historically been exploited) and not capitalism, the economic approach by which they had been screwed.
A part of the developmentalist reform was to reclaim natural resources, turned over to American interests by corrupt and despotic leaders, and this got the corporations and individuals profiting to get those Dulles Brothers to do something about it, to show the people that they could be far better off by listening again to what the United States wanted them to hear, this strategy of manufacturing doubt in ancient governments just starting to push reform without much time to undo all that had been done to make these countries true “banana nations,” pushed boatloads of propaganda against these new governments into these sovereign countries, propaganda that anyone looking at it today with half a mind would recognized to be pure and unadulterated bullshit.
Any good and honest history of countries of the “southern cone” will tell of the deception and the results of people being manipulated to act against their own interests by the foreign powers that wished to colonize the land and steal the people’s labor. I forgot to mention that one of the countries colonized, here by the British with a hefty assist from the United States and the Dulles, was Iran, a country that, in 1941, deposed the democratically elected leader of the country, Mohammad Mossadegh and replaced him with the Shah Mohammad Rezā Pahlavi who was the main target of the modern Iranian revolution.
Such events in history are not often taught in the USA and when it is, the good side of the bad is often emphasized, the though not great, better off than otherwise, which, if one were to ask the people of the lands involved, good numbers (like most Cubans living in Cuba would say of their lives in their land) to be untrue.
So, and this is terrible to say, but necessary, thought I hate the idea, it does occur in my mind, far too often, that there is justification for censorship though acceptance of censorship as a viable tool for making humane change in exploited nations possible and sustained. I really do not know of a comfortable way out of this entanglement and, perhaps, it comes with trying to get at the true meaning of things for one to be thrashed this way and that as contradictions push against the sane and comfortable state of mind.
The chunk extracted from the piece below helps to make understandable the tendency of those leading revolutions, even those with the best intentions of liberating their nations from true tyrants, often suppress free expression. The question of how they can succeed and allow the infiltration of propaganda from the powers that support the tyrants is an important one to consider.
You’re Thinking About Fidel Castro All Wrong
He wasn’t operating in a vacuum.
Huffington Post November 29, 2016
Ernesto “Che” Guevara arrived in Guatemala City on Christmas Eve in 1953. An aimless radical who had yet to find his path in life, he had come to see firsthand the liberal reforms being carried out by Guatemala’s democratically elected leader, Jacobo Arbenz.
The most consequential of them, it would turn out, was his effort at land redistribution. Arbenz proposed seizing the uncultivated land held by the company United Fruit, and compensating the firm by paying it the full amount it had claimed the land was worth in its latest tax filings.
Unfortunately for Arbenz, then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA, were both effectively paid agents of United Fruit, which was represented by their law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell. They were also zealous Cold Warriors, and believed deeply that Arbenz was a communist, regardless of whether he admitted it.
The CIA launched a coup, led by several hundred U.S.-backed rebels, and backed by U.S. bombs and a substantial propaganda campaign both in print and on the radio.
Stephen Kinzer, in his dual biography of the Dulles brothers [must read], writes that the Eisenhower-approved coup left a lasting impression on the young man, Guevara, who happened to be in the capital as the coup was carried out:
Later he told Castro why it succeeded. He said Arbenz had foolishly tolerated an open society, which the CIA penetrated and subverted, and also preserved the existing army, which the CIA turned into its instrument. Castro agreed that a revolutionary regime in Cuba must avoid those mistakes. Upon taking power, he cracked down on dissent and purged the army.
None of this means the U.S. is directly responsible for the decisions Castro made, or for the path he took Cuba down. None of it justifies or excuses human rights abuses or the subjugation of an entire people. What Castro did is his own.
One reply on “Fidel and censorship in Cuba”
I wish more people would respond to your posts. You’re probably getting tired of my responses. Anyway, here I go again. It is a shame that history taught in the US is so lop-sided. Reading Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’ book “An indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States,” she says that most students educated in the US do not understand that this country was populated by millions of Native Americans before the great genocide against them which went on since the new world’s discovery. More recently, since the McCarthy era, there has been a flood of propaganda distributed and communicated over the air demonizing any socialist or communist ideas up to the present. Too, most people are totally uninformed concerning cruel foreign policies like you mentioned about Guatemala. I have close colleague which I work with everyday who is from Guatemala. When he visits his home, he carries a pistol for protection. Anyway, just agreeing with you again. I wish Eduardo Galeano’s book, “Open Veins of Latin American” would be required reading. A lot of the wealth the most wealthy have in this nation has come from a lot of cruelty.
I think the reason there is not a lot of discussion is that people are unaware, and that is the way the establishment wants it. You mentioned freedom of the press. We do have a degree of freedom of the press here, but the platform for a public square is hard for everyday working people to access/participate in and for those who are informed to use to educate. How many people even tune in to Democracy Now? It is becoming more popular, but my point is, even on the internet, where can we get these discussions going? People are like, “What are you talking about? I’ve never heard of this!”