CSC responds to media comment on Fidel

Campaign News | Friday, 22 February 2008

DURING a hectic week in which Cuba has taken centre stage in the British media, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) has striven to defend the country’s achievements.

Fidel Castro sparked the media feeding frenzy last Tuesday after he ruled himself out of the running for country’s presidency. His decision was later followed by Rául Castro’s election to Cuba’s top position.

From CSC members who appeared on local radio shows through to appearances on national television, the organisation has sought to put the record straight in the face of a barrage of biased media reports about the Caribbean island.

Rob Miller, CSC’s Director, appeared on a string of shows including: BBC Radio Five’s Drive Time show; Sky News; BBC News 24 and the Fox News Business Network - a television broadcast direct to the United States. Members across the country spoke on national and regional radio shows including: Wales, Scotland, Manchester, Cumbria, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. Members also inundated newspapers and media outlets with complaints about reports carrying factual errors about the country.

Mr Miller said: “The blanket coverage of Fidel’s announcement clearly demonstrated the level of interest in his life, but much of the reporting once again highlighted the media’s frequent inability to fairly tackle events in the developing world - especially in Cuba, and was often full of misinformation often parroting US propaganda messages..

“I am absolutely delighted that so many members worked to put the record straight. The message came through loud and clear that far from Cuba being a terrorist state, it guarantees its people a decent standard of living even in spite of enduring the longest trade blockade in modern history.”

Fox News Business Network featured a five minute interview with Mr Miller which went out live to the US business community.

During the interview he said: “There are issues the new leadership will have to address so that the revolution can continue, such as: housing, travel, variety of food stuffs on sale, and the availability of consumables. But generally the system of government will continue because it is supported by the people.

“What we want to see is the end of the blockade, and that would be of tremendous benefit to both the economies of Cuba and the US.”

George Galloway and Cuban poet Pedro Sarduy appeared on Newsnight along with Cuban critic Oliver Kamm and former CIA agent and executive director of the Miami-based Centre for a Free Cuba, Frank Calzone. Pedro said he was “proud” that black Cubans fought to liberate Angola and dismissed Mr Calzone’s spiteful attacks and remarkable assertion that in 50 years of power in Cuba Castro had “achieved nothing”.

Bob Oram, CSC’s Vice Chair, appeared on satellite programme Press TV broadcast live to Middle East to talk about Rául’s election, and Roger Bevan, from Cymru Cuba, appeared on BBC Radio Wales and Real Radio.

Members of CSC’s Press Action Network rounded off the media activity by focusing on a viciously one-sided report featured in The Independent. The newspaper’s letter page on the following day contained several letters from CSC members who took the report to task.

Listen to the BBC Radio 5 interview here:

To watch the Fox News interview go to the link below, scroll down to ‘search for video’ and search for ‘Investing in Cuba’:

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