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writing for godot

19 more phantoms impede travel to Cuba

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Written by Alvaro Fernandez   
Friday, 09 February 2018 02:30

If you are the U.S. State Department in the age of Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wants to ramp up the scare meter on Cuba travelers, you continue to hype the secretive ‘sonic attacks’ they tell us have affected, now 43, American citizens who lived in or visited Havana. You then follow that up by going to the Miami newspaper that, over decades now, has served to create more false rumors about Cuba than any other.

It is no surprise then that travel to Cuba by American citizens continues to decrease. This in spite of the fact that the FBI was allowed to travel to Cuba and freely investigate the case of these “attacks.” And according to the Associated Press, a report issued last month by the FBI “casts doubt on the initial theory that Americans there [in Havana] have been hit by sonic attacks.’”

[Associated Press: Following months of investigation and four FBI trips to Havana, an interim report from the bureau’s Operational Technology Division says the probe has uncovered no evidence that sound waves could have damaged the Americans’ health, the AP has learned. The report, dated Jan. 4, doesn’t address other theories and says the FBI will keep investigating until it can show there’s been no intentional harm.]

For years the Miami Herald, especially El Nuevo Herald, has served as the public relations arm of the anti-Cuba Cubans in south Florida. Progreso Weekly used to call them out weekly with a now defunct column called the B.S. Detector.

It is also true that the Herald has often been complicit with the U.S. government on nebulous missions to undermine the Cuban government. It is not an unknown factor that U.S. agencies, like the CIA, have over the years embedded government agents in most major newspapers around the country, and the world. (To read and learn more about this, click here, and here.) There’s also the case where it was reported that Herald journalists were being paid by the U.S. government for stories critical of Fidel Castro.

So it is not new news or fake news that the Miami Herald and the now defunct afternoon newspaper Miami News have over the years been populated by journalists who collaborated directly or indirectly with the CIA. And their mission dealt with the Havana government, Cuba and Fidel Castro.

And in spite of the advances achieved after the Obama rapprochement begun in December 2014, the Herald seems to have fallen back to its old ways with new people lending themselves to U.S. government chicanery. I suppose Herald executives can’t break old habits and have decided to go down embracing the lies of their past.

At one time this may have been done for reasons of the newspaper’s economic survival, but to continue doing it today is to die the same slow death brought on by an archaic vision of our relationship with Cuba.

I was not surprised, then, to read a Miami Herald story in late January, authored by Nora Gámez Torres, with a headline that read "19 American travelers to Cuba report symptoms similar to those suffered by diplomats." It was a continuation of the “sonic attack” stories we’ve been reading about for months. This time, though, there were 19 new persons involved, all regular travelers having nothing to do with the U.S. embassy.

So I read. Not one of the travelers “who reported experiencing symptoms similar to those listed in the Travel Warning after visiting Cuba,” was named. I found it odd. We are now up to 43 travelers to Cuba, and we have yet to see ONE name. Not one! As for a medical report or anything like it — NADA!

But because it comes from the U.S. government, which we know never lies (wink, wink), especially to its citizens, we’re supposed to believe this crock…

And here’s where the Herald comes in. The Miami Herald was the source of this latest ‘sonic attack’ news. A spokesperson from the State Department conveniently emailed the information to the Herald, we were told. What followed were other newspapers, like the British Daily Mail, and TV stations like ABC, NBC, CNN, and still others who reported this news… based on the Miami Herald story.

I’ve tried talking to the State Department. I emailed the Miami Herald. Not a word, not even acknowledgement of receipt of my email. All I wanted to know was if they had the name of at least one of the 19 persons who traveled to Cuba and “reported experiencing [the sonic attack] symptoms.” I think it’s a fair question.

The silence, I believe, speaks loudly.

There are persons who may have gotten sick in Cuba. Heck, they may have gotten earaches, suffered a case or two of vertigo, run into a wall at home head first and suffered concussion, but 43 persons that were “attacked” by a new space age weapon using sonic waves… I used to watch The Jetsons too.


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