Monday, June 04, 2007

Today, in Cuba.

I'm lifting this from Chantel's blog.
Yes, the capitalization is deliberate.

On Tuesday, June 5, TODAY’s Matt Lauer will take viewers on a special visit — to Cuba. Join Lauer as he reports live from Havana to discuss the current political and cultural climates of Cuba. The broadcast will include reports on Castro's health, a discussion about Castro's importance in the country, where its political future is headed, Cuba’s relations with the U.S. and how the U.S.- Cuba embargo affects both countries. It will a unique and exciting trip — it's one of the very few times an American TV show has broadcast live from Cuba, so don't miss it!

This is the write-up on the TODAY Show's website. I could rewrite it a thousand different ways. Instead of "special visit," I'd change the words to "sobering visit." I'd rewrite the line about "castro's importance in the country" to read, rather, "castro's oppressive hold on the country," and switch out the line about the embargo to read "how Cuba uses the embargo as an excuse to mask the freedoms in denies its people." But all that rewriting would assume a program that will reflect the realities in Cuba, and not the usual tropes about Cuba's health care, colorful people, and music. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Matt Lauer's "unique and exciting trip" is not only one of the "very few times an American TV show has broadcast live from Cuba," but also, the first time that any American TV show has gone there and told the truth. In the meantime, I've sent Matt Lauer a note, which follows. You can send one, too.

Dear Mr. Lauer,

Consider that the hotel you are staying in is one that is verboten to Cuban citizens, that the clean, decked-out beaches are only for tourists, and the three square meals you are getting while in Cuba are denied to ration-card carrying Cubans. Consider that the young girls you see loitering about in Havana may well be underaged jineteras, prostitutes trying to make ends meet and hoping against hope that you might call them tonight. Consider that a government that does not allow information access to its citizens is adept at hiding the truth from everyone.

Once you’ve considered all this, ask someone in the Cuban government why they feel the need to oppress their people this way. And Matt, don’t settle for anything other than a real answer, which has nothing to do with the embargo, or sacrifice for the common good. If you can be as ballsy as the Ladies in White, Cuban dissidents who weekly march to protest the unjust imprisonment of their husbands for political reasons, then you will have secured a place in history as the first American journalist not only to broadcast television from the island, but to take a pair to Cuba.


Chantel Acevedo


'Nuff said, wouldn't you agree?

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