It seems that every time the Times is ready to turn a corner on its Latin America coverage, it reverts back to covering the 639 million, six language-speaking peoples as it always has; ‘not-Cubans’.
Never mind that Fidel, Che, and their rampaging entourage murdered 5,000 in only their first year in power. The caricatures of the regions it relies on are based on a 60-year-old revolution. Neither the color tv, the computer, or even ‘the pill’ had been invented. Yet The NewYorkTimes can only view the continent and its struggle through a Cuban lens.
This is why when Nick Casey compared Oscar Perez, the assassinated dissident police investigator on the run for the last 7 months, to Che Guevara I was not at all surprised.
Perez, by the paper’s own admission, did little more than fire blanks, flash-bangs, and fly provocative banners. But never the less the comparison was made to Castro’s executioner in chief.
Are Latin Americans so simplistic, so tribal in nature that they are incapable of rising above the idolatry of a coke-head murderer? Can we not instead idolize “folk-heroes” more alike to John Parker or Paul Revere? Heck, we’d even settle for Ernest Hemingway, who, as a soldier in the Spanish civil war, killed as many if not more than Perez.
But to make matters worse, Venezuela has its own litany of folk heroes Casey could have drawn from. Rómulo Betancourt, who helped topple the Jimenez dictatorship. Raul Leoni, who defended the country against an impending Cuban invasion in the 1967 Machurucuto incident. And yes, even Hugo Chavez, the power hungry, and silver-tongued socialist colonel who tried to overthrow the republic in ’93. So why not compare Perez to one of those “folk heroes”?
The NewYorkTimes insults Latin Americans and its readers by continuing to cut the Gordian Knot of Latin America’s leftist upheaval with a Cuban blade.
It’s long overdue for some creativity and honesty on the subject from the paper.