Friday, May 15, 2015

How political could an author get in the bad old days?

GUEST: Tom Miller, author of "Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro’s Cuba," talks about his views on the end of the 55 year US embargo.

Tom was a very entertaining guest with on obvious love of Cuba (from his Cuban wife to eventing strolls on the Malecón). Most of the interview centered on the readiness of the US and Cuba to put an end to the embargo.

We touched on a few issues. Yes, the US was forced to change its policy, since this country was completely isolated from the rest of the world in its illegal embargo. From the UN to the Organization of American States the rest of the world (except for the pariah state of Israel) had condemned our aggression.

Tom was surprised to hear that the US media never printed anything good about Cuba's revolution, despite its many positive aspects. From universal healthcare and free college education to the absence of childhood hunger and homelessness, The NY Times has never printed a positive fact about Castro's Cuba. 

He had been stopped by the Cuban Police and charged with handing out the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (he was innocent of the charge and was released). I have walked all over Havana and talked to many citizens. They had never seemed worried about what they were saying. We had a Cuban restaurant owner get up before about 35 people to say how capitalism would work better in his business (I am sure he could pay his workers less). He wasn't worried about the police in the least. So I think that our media has overplayed Cuban repression and underplayed the many positive gains of the revolution. Of course, our mainstream media has always been guided by Pentagon propaganda. 

Some critics have attacked Trading with the Enemy for being "strangely apolitical." But really, how political could an author get in the bad old days and still be published? Let's see if this new opening with Cuba can free our mainstream media of Cold War distortions.  

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