CAUGHT: CNN En Español Openly Pushing Communist Cuba’s Propaganda

CNN En Español’s Directo USA newscast recently spent two segments on the Cuba issue, and the contrast could not be more stark. The first segment tried to frame a reduced turnout of protesters in Miami as a sign that regime opponents are losing hope. The second segment then devoted over nine minutes of uncontested false information and communist propaganda. 

Watch as CNN En Español belittles Cuban anti-communist protesters in Miami, and then moves on to give a platform to pro-regime propaganda:

 

 

ANAMARIA MEJIA, CNN: What we’re really seeing today is a reduction in the number of people showing up, and I will show you where we are- at the Freedom Tower- an iconic place that just eight days ago -not this past Saturday but the previous one- was completely full of people who at this very spot were calling for the freedom of Cuba.

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: Carlos, what’s your take on what happened in Cuba on the eleventh of July and what’s happened since: the protests, the internet shutdown, the reports of excessive use of force against these protesters and official statements that there was no uprising and the situation on the island is normal?

CARLOS LAZO: Um, yes…look, I do believe that there was an inflection point of desperation in the population. The point being that there’s an ongoing pandemic, and in addition to the pandemic, (that inflection point was) aggravated by the problems of the Cuban economy, and at the same time (aggravated by) the sanctions that were increased during this Trump era.

ACTIVIST: We have to build bridges of love between the peoples of Cuba and of  the United States. Cuba yes! Blockade No!

 

Take notice of reporter Ana Maria Mejia’s intentional emphasis on the reduced protester turnout on the streets of Miami. This is intentional, so as to diminish the effects of the SOS Cuba protests and make them appear as something fringe. When coupled with anchor Juan Carlos López’ snarky dismissal (“they should check their social media”) of the protesters’ concerns that the Biden Administration’s statement might be insufficient, it is clear that CNN is operating from a position of hostility towards the SOS Cuba protests. Had anyone at CNN En Español bothered to check the Miami Herald or other media, they would have known to cover the thousands of people from Miami and elsewhere gathering in the D.C. streets -day and night- in solidarity with the Cuban people. What else is one to expect from the network that fabricated a quote from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in order to take a cheap shot at the protests, and labeled the protests in Cuba as a COVID superspreader event? 

These lies are then followed by an interview with Carlos Lazo, founder of Puentes de Amor (Bridges of Love), an organization which advocates for lifting the embargo on Cuba. It is worth noting that this segment ran over nine minutes, as opposed to the five or so minutes mostly downplaying the anti-communist protests in Miami. Lazo contradicts himself by saying that supporters of the Puentes de Amor movement vary in their ideologies towards the Cuban government; when this movement is in fact sympathetic to the communist government- which also blames the United States for the suffering of the Cuban people. 

Despite the fact that Lazo’s words so clearly reflected the agenda of the communist government of Cuba, he went completely unchallenged by López. When Lopez asked Lazo on his take regarding the internet being shut down, the excessive force deployed by the Cuban government, and their denial of uprisings throughout the island, Lazo completely avoided the question. Instead, Lopez allows him to redirect by talking about how the pandemic and the U.S. embargo causes economic problems and as a result the Cuban people are turning against their apparently flawless and functioning government. In the midst of citing regime propaganda, Lazo cited a recent FIU study on the Cuban-American community and its support of different aspects of U.S.-Cuba policy. Lazo ticked off all of the policy items supported by the Cuban-American community, EXCEPT the 60% support for keeping the embargo in force. Here, again, López failed to push back and allowed him to pontificate. Not disclosed by CNN En Español: Lazo’s ties to communist-adjacent Code Pink, which actively promoted Lazo’s trip to D.C. along with six other individuals. Tons of organic support, huh?

CNN En Español’s reporting on the SOS Cuba protests continues to leave a lot to be desired and exposes an unsightly willingness to be mouthpieces for the murderous Castro regime rather than to report on it.

This incompetent reporting is brought to you by Tide, write them here and tell them what you think about their support for communist lies and propaganda. 

Click “Expand” to view the full transcripts of the aforementioned segments as aired on CNN En Español’s Directo USA on Tuesday, July 27th, 2021.

 

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: Let’s take a look at these images of what has happened in the United States over the weekend and leading up to today: protests related to what happened in Cuba, starting on the 11th of July, with protests that erupted in several cities throughout that country. Well, the White House has been the scene of protests over the weekend with that (same) slogan- S.O.S Cuba. But this hasn’t just happened over the course of the weekend. To date, there have been protests both for and against U.S. strategy…policy towards Cuba. This is the current climate-wherein protests are now taking place in the United States regarding the situation on the island. And we now go to South Florida. As you can see, there are those who are calling for military intervention, something that has been dismissed outright by the United States government and by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. We now go to South Florida because today is an important date in the history of Cuba. It is the twenty-sixth of July, the anniversary of the assault on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba.  Anamaria Mejía is on the streets of Miami. Anamaria, there was expected to be (a crowd) present on this twenty-sixth of July. What have you seen so far?

ANAMARIA MEJIA, CNN: Well, Juan Carlos, protests have been ongoing since July 11th here in the city of Miami, and they have not stopped. What we’re really seeing today is a reduction in the number of people showing up, and I will show you where we are- at the Freedom Tower- an iconic place that just eight days ago -not this past Saturday but the previous one- was completely full of people who at this very spot were calling for the freedom of Cuba. As you can now see, few people have turned out, but when we ask them what the reason is for the small turnout of people as the days go on, they tell us that many people are in Washington. Others say that, obviously today is Monday and they are working, and so on. But what they don’t want is for people to get discouraged from going out into the streets and continuing to support those on the island. This was said by some of those who are protesting today:

 

ACTIVIST: (The crowds) are gradually decreasing because this weekend, for example, many of them went to Washington. So, what’s going on is that there are several people who went there and many stayed here but are not coming out. But we are hopeful that today they will come out when they see that we are outside, showing up. That they come and you know, they can be with us, we’re going to be here until nighttime so they have a chance to advocate for their homeland.

 

ACTIVIST: We need to continue, we can’t stop and people can’t give up because it’s very important that they hear our voices.

 

ANAMARIA MEJIA, CNN: Juan Carlos, I can count approximately fifteen people at this protest, a low turnout of people who have come here today, but there was also in the morning a meeting attended by about ten people there in front of the Versailles restaurant, which also featured former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, as well as the mayor of Miami Francis Suarez. As to the question of why so few people were attending these events, no one made any comment. The truth is, they’ve said they’re not going to stop even if only a few people come out daily. They say that they’re not going to stop until there’s a response from the American government. Juan Carlos.

 

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: They should check their social media because there have been statements issued both from the White House as well as from the State Department. Thank you Anamaria Mejia, reporting from South Florida.

ACTIVIST: We have to build bridges of love between the peoples of Cuba and of  the United States. Cuba yes! Blockade No!

 

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: This is footage of a protest that happened in front of the White House this past weekend. The Cuban flag is present, but their message is different (from the protests) that happened both over the weekend and this Monday. Let’s talk to one of the organizers of these events, Carlos Lazo of Puentes de Amor (Bridges of Love). And I have to tell you all that I had an opportunity to interview Carlos Lazo some years ago. He is a retired U.S. Army sergeant. He served in the Iraq war and we spoke, Carlos when you wanted to go see your family but the government’s restrictions did not allow it. Now, 16 years later, you’re on this Puentes de Amor project. What is it and what was the message that you were taking to the White House?

 

CARLOS LAZO: Well look, the message we were taking to the White House was to lift the sanctions that weigh upon the Cuban Family. President Biden, before his campaign and during his election campaign promised to lift the sanctions imposed by Trump. For example, sending remittances. You cannot send remittances through Western Union at this time. That was taken away by President Trump in October. The U.S. embassy in Havana is closed. The family reunification program has been closed since the year 2017, closed by Trump as well. Airports in Cuban provinces are also closed. These are some of the things that Biden promised to lift as a relief to the Cuban Family and that actually aggravate the situation of hardship and shortages that the Cuban people are going through. We came to the White House and we’ve been walking for quite some time with Puentes de Amor because Biden hasn’t done anything. I mean, he’s been in office for six or seven months now. He promised that he was going to do it, but to date it’s only been promises- that we’re studying the issue and studying the issue but so far nothing has happened.

 

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: Carlos, what’s your take on what happened in Cuba on the eleventh of July and what’s happened since: the protests, the internet shutdown, the reports of excessive use of force against these protesters and official statements that there was no uprising and the situation on the island is normal?

 

CARLOS LAZO: Um, yes…look, I do believe that there was an inflection point of desperation in the population. The point being that there’s an ongoing pandemic, and in addition to the pandemic, (that inflection point was) aggravated by the problems of the Cuban economy, and at the same time (aggravated by) the sanctions that were increased during this Trump era. To such an extent that people can’t send remittances to family members. If you have a son, a father or a brother in Cuba and you want to send him a hundred dollars given the current situation over there, you can’t do it. This, I think, has contributed to such a degree of desperation within the population that many people took to the streets asking for food, asking for vaccines, asking for things, right? And I believe that this is part of it- that the measures currently in place increase the hardship, and increase the potential for a social outburst on the island. 

 

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: What you also demonstrate with this march -you came from South Florida and have been not only in the White House -is that there is not just one position on the issue of Cuba within the United States and within the Cubans based here.

 

CARLOS LAZO: I don’t think so, there’s not just one position. In fact, sometimes these positions are polarized. The blockade, or against the blockade. The embargo, or in favor of the embargo. But when you ask most of them, according to an FIU poll a few months ago, you ask most Cuban Americans and break it up into sections and you tell them; would you like the United States to reopen its embassy in Havana? Most people say yes. Would you like the Family Reunification (Parole) Program to be restored? Most people say yes. Would you like to be able to send remittances to family members? Most people say yes. And so on- would you like them to bring back (direct) flights to the provinces? Most people say yes. There were measures that Trump imposed in order to punish the Cuban family, to bring people into despair to the point of having a rebellion and to turn them against the government. But the fact is that these policies have been in place for sixty years, and have never fulfilled the goal that they claim to pursue. Moreover, they are inhumane policies because they punish Cuban families. I believe that there are many Cuban Americans who, beyond their ideological positions, are there for their families, and they support these things that I told you about. The proof of that is the hundreds of people that, month after month, in Miami, in Tampa, take part in Puentes de Amor caravans each Sunday- each last Sunday of the month, and call for the lifting of these sanctions. In the middle of Calle Ocho, in the middle of Miami, even on the 27th when we set off on this 2000-kilometer pilgrimage we made a caravan in Miami of people supporting us. Over the course of a week the counter caravan, the people who opposed our goal, the brothers who are on the other side- they also organized themselves; but in the end, when it was time to do the caravan, they would have 30 or 40 people on site and we would have 300. And of the 300 that we had, many of those people do not care about ideology. They may be from the left or from the right. What matters to them is that the sanctions that weigh on Cuban families are lifted. So I believe that this is not a monolithic issue, but an issue that goes to the heart of the people and that more and more people start to separate the politics from family, and from the need to lift this sanction from the families.

 

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: Are you family-focused? Is this an endorsement of those of you who still have loved ones there, is it an endorsement of the government of Cuba? What is it?

 

CARLOS LAZO: I don’t think it is an endorsement of the Cuban government. We have people within our group who are opposed to the Cuban government, others who do not care about the government of Cuba, others who may have sympathy for it. What we believe is that families should not be used as pawns in order to bring down the government. To make families suffer in order to bring down the government does not seem to me to be the most humane or the most correct policy. Moreover, this 60-year policy has not yielded any of the political results that it intended. 60 years ago Deputy Secretary of State (Mallory) wrote a secret memo saying that the only way at the time to bring down Fidel Castro’s government was through hunger, through necessity, and that those sanctions had to be tightened. If that memo is still around and in force, it’s evident that this hasn’t happened. Who has suffered? Our families. Even in the face of human rights violations, what will be the response of the United States? To bar family members from sending money to their families? This reminds me, Juan Carlos, of the year that I returned from Iraq and you interviewed me. I wanted to go see my children who at the time lived in Cuba, and they had imposed that three-year measure where you couldn’t go to Cuba, in order to punish the Cuban government. Those who ended up being punished were the Cuban people, and in the end they had to lift those anti-family measures because they were not popular. I believe that family comes first and that beyond politics, we at Puentes de Amor believe that what matters is love for family, help for family. And we also believe that helping both families and the bridges of love between Cuba and the United States would contribute to a more democratic, prosperous and inclusive Cuba.

 

JUAN CARLOS LOPEZ, CNN: Carlos Lazo is a U.S. war veteran, but he is also leading this Puentes de Amor project, a pilgrimage from South Florida, another one of the protests that has taken place in front of the White House and elsewhere. Carlos, we’ll continue to follow the conversation in the midst of what’s happening. The protests began on July 11th, and we hope that at least the interest and attention to the situation on the Island does not end. Thank you Carlos Lazo for coming back to Directo USA after 16 years.

 

CARLOS LAZO: Absolutely. Thank you and God bless you all.

 

 

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