Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What was in the news today?

Mainly stories about Fidel Castro, his medical problems, and the temporary turnover of power.

What did they say about it? This is the interesting thing. Every news story I saw today (and I saw a lot because I'm on vacation, so I didn't spend the day at the office)led with the statement that Fidel Castro had turned over power to his brother Raoul. This is true as far as it goes, but it hides the real truth and serves the political goals of the ruling elite by suggesting that Castro is a strongman rather than the head of government.

To see what I mean, try this on for size: "President Bush went into the hospital for surgery today and turned over the reins of government to long-time Bush family crony Dick Cheney."

This statement would be true. Just as true as the stories about Castro, but it would obscure the fact that it happened because of Cheney's role in the constitutional government of the United States. Only in this case the stories deliberately obscured Raoul's role in the constitutional government of Cuba.

You don't have to like Castro or his government, but pay attention when the MSM are carrying water for the Right.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Brother Mike said...

I'm not sure this is a legitimate objection to the way the power situation in Cuba is being described in the American media. Castro's statement does not make any reference to his brother taking over because that's the way it's set up according to his "role in the constitutional government." There is no language like that at all, in fact. He says "I delegate in a provisional manner my duties as..." and then describes who he is naming to handle what responsibilities, including but not limited to President-type stuff.

I don't know anything about the Cuban constitution, but does it specify who handles education decisions when the President is sick? Or whether the offical national celebration of the President's birthday should go on as scheduled on August 13, when he'll still be sick? (FYI - they're postponing it until December - better return that water pistol and get him a nice scarf). Those and other seemingly personal decisions are laid out in the official statement. I really think that gives us lots of leeway to describe this as turning power over to his brother, rather than using some more formal or legalistic language.

August 02, 2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger palkomakala said...

Raúl Castro Ruz (born June 3, 1931) is the second ranking member of the Cuban Council of State. The younger brother of Cuban President Fidel Castro, he has been appointed to the positions: First Vice President of the Council of State, Vice President of the Council of Ministers, Vice-Secretary of the Politburo and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), and Maximum General of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force), second to the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro. According to the Cuban Constitution Article 94, the First Vice President of the Council of State assumes presidential duties upon the illness or death of the president.

August 03, 2006 9:09 AM  
Anonymous brother paul said...

Raúl Castro Ruz (born June 3, 1931) is the second ranking member of the Cuban Council of State. The younger brother of Cuban President Fidel Castro, he has been appointed to the positions: First Vice President of the Council of State, Vice President of the Council of Ministers, Vice-Secretary of the Politburo and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), and Maximum General of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force), second to the Commander in Chief, Fidel Castro. According to the Cuban Constitution Article 94, the First Vice President of the Council of State assumes presidential duties upon the illness or death of the president.

August 03, 2006 9:10 AM  
Anonymous tom mcc said...

The formalistic description of Raul's official position, official appointments and official duties in case of death or incapacitation of Fidel is all well and good. Of course, it also obscures the fact that Raul is where he is only because Fidel wants him there and regardless of what anybody else thinks about it. His appointments were made by Fidel without any serious vetting by anybody who can claim any kind of legitimacy as a representative of the Cuban people. When a leader, like the head of Belarus, is an unelected dictator, i think it is better to describe him as such. That way it is clearer that any succession is more a result of his intentions than of the constitution whose writing he oversaw.

August 15, 2006 10:43 PM  

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