MediaWatch: May 1991

Vol. Five No. 5

Another Castro Whitewash


More than a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ted Turner still won't give up on communism. In Portrait of Castro's Cuba, a two-hour TBS homage on April 7, narrator James Earl Jones talked about a pro-Castro rally: "Attendance at this rally is, if not mandatory, then highly recommended. But this rally is more than just a way to maintain control. It's also a sincere demonstration of national pride and independence."

At a welcome home ceremony for Cuban troops returning from Angola, Jones intoned: "Incessantly involved in affairs around the globe, this island nation has won the respect, sometimes grudgingly, of countries twenty times its size. Castro's Cuba stands tall in the ranks of nations....Today is a passionate display of national pride. These men are symbols of all that Castro's Cuba has aspired to be. A nation to be reckoned with. A major player on the world stage. Defiant, spirited, free."

Free? A Cuban dissident might disagree, but the documentary didn't interview any. TBS relied on spokesmen for the regime. Jones pronounced: "The Sierras have become a testament to the revolution. Here is where the gains have been most dramatic. Clean water, electricity, telephones, and above all, education and medical care."

To substantiate how Castro has improved everyone's lives, TBS interviewed a government doctor who claimed: "We have the things that are important in life to develop as a human being. Because the blue jeans are not essential to live or a sweater or a tape recorder. So what are the necessary things to be able to live? Food, education, guaranteed health, not having to think that tomorrow you will be without a job, or not having money to buy food, or that I have to sell drugs to earn money. These are the things that are necessary for living."

An armed militia member described how the Cuban people feel about Castro: "These people grow stronger with the difficulties to support Fidel, because here we want Fidel, he is our father, he is the father of our people. The Revolution is our mother and we feel proud."