Cuba criticizes Obama, US media
By PAUL HAVEN
HAVANA -- Cuba on Friday denounced U.S. President Barack Obama as a copy
of his conservative Republican predecessor, and said he gave more
credence to Cuban-American exiles than his own diplomats.
An opinion piece in the official Communist Party newspaper Granma
criticized Obama for supporting dissidents on the island and called for
Cuba to release all political prisoners. It said the president's
Wednesday statement shows he is being manipulated by exiles, uninformed
advisors and a biased U.S. media.
Obama's call came on the one-year anniversary of the death of Orlando
Zapata Tamayo, a political prisoner who died after an 83-day hunger strike.
Obama termed Tamayo's death "selfless and tragic" and said it brought
the world's attention to the mistreatment of prisoners unjustly held by
Cuban authorities for standing up for the rights of the Cuban people.
Tamayo's mother was briefly detained in Cuba over the weekend, an action
Cuba has said its doctors did all they could to keep Tamayo alive. It
maintains he and all other dissidents are common criminals, and says his
jail term was extended because of poor behavior behind bars.
The Granma piece refers to a secret diplomatic cable sent out in 2009
over the signature of Jonathan Farrar, America's chief diplomat in
Havana, which describes Cuban opposition groups as petty, fractured and
out of touch. The cable was revealed by WikiLeaks late last year.
The article says Obama's statement made clear he had ignored his chief
"The White House is giving more attention to pressure from Miami and its
mafia in the capital then it is to its own diplomats," the article says,
adding that Obama's emotional statement "emulated his predecessor George
W. Bush in its abuse of adjectives."
The article was published next to a series of altered photos showing the
face of former President George W. Bush gradually turning into that of
The newspaper also had harsh words for Cuban bloggers and the U.S.
media, particularly The New York Times - the latest in a series of
official articles criticizing the American press.
"In an era where newspapers are filled with more lies than
advertisements ... it is hard to tell who got the president so worked
up, the New York Times or an adviser on the National Security Council,"
Granma also carried an article denouncing The Wall Street Journal for an
editorial that drew parallels between Cuba and Egypt, where a popular
uprising forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Cuba has
been led by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro since 1959.
The article said the newspaper's "image of sobriety and power cannot
hide fanaticism and hate."
The articles come days after Cuban media lashed out at CNN's
Spanish-language network for reporting that an opposition demonstration
was going to take place in Havana. The protest never occurred.
Cuban state cable providers last month removed CNN's Spanish network
from a package of channels provided mostly to hotels, foreign companies,
and diplomats on the island, though no reason was given.
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