Hundreds of thousands of readers now know who Carlos Varela is, thanks to a New York Times article about him and his magical musical lobbying tour of the United States. But unfortunately the Times only tells part of the story in that unique way that only the Gray Lady can, namely by minimizing the realities of Cuba’s Castro dictatorship while playing up the supposed absurdity of U.S. policy toward it. It has been the same for 51 years. Even before the Cuban revolution of 1959, the Times was shilling for Fidel Castro.
A neophyte to the ongoing Cuban tragedy would come away from the Varela article with the idea that the United States is trying to bully another free country into doing things it does not want to do. The Times does not mention Castro once in the piece. Nor does it mention censorship or human rights or political prisoners or democracy.
In the article, Carlos Varela claims that he doesn’t represent any government or political party. He is either lying to the Times or lying to himself.
You see, nobody can legally leave Cuba without the permission of the Castro regime, which has been misgoverning the island for more than half a century. This is a gross violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When Varela is granted an exit visa, known as a “white card,” it’s only because the regime trusts him to (at a bare minimum) first do no harm to its ongoing diplomatic efforts to convince the United States to lift sanctions against Cuba.
But more concretely than doing no harm, he is being entrusted to carry the exact message that the Times is all too willing to amplify. That message is that Cuba is just another country that has chosen a different path, and that if any change is required, it’s to U.S. policy.
That’s why people like Yoani Sánchez, the Cuban blogger, are routinely denied a white card to tour the world.
She simply cannot be trusted to say that Cuba is a country like any other because her writings every day express the exact opposite — that Cuba is a country like no other because of its absurd system of government which has been imposed on the people by a dictator for five decades.