Cuban President Fidel Castro has declared that the case of Elian Gonzalez “is a lesson,” and that in the future communist Cuba will actively seek to mold public opinion in the United States, according to official Cuban sources.
“This is a lesson for us … public opinion [in the United States] deserves much more consideration and should be taken into account,” declared the Cuban dictator.
“For me,” said Castro, ” there have been two important moments in which public opinion has played a key role — during the Vietnam war, and in the case of Elian Gonzalez.”
Castro’s remarks were reported by Radio Habana Cuba, the official broadcasting service of the Cuban government.
Castro’s intention to give “much more consideration” to American public opinion received little acknowledgment in the establishment media in the U.S.
During the five months of the Elian Gonzalez case, “public opinion has had time to reflect” on the issue, Castro stated. It was during this period, and especially in the last few weeks, that “most influential media outlets” in the U.S. gave constant support to the position of the Clinton government to the detriment of Elian’s American relatives.
Radio Habana noted that “virtually all” of the “most influential media outlets” in the U.S. have favored “forcible removal” of Elian.
Radio Habana chose the Tuesday, April 25 editorial from the Chicago Tribune as an example “reflecting the position of virtually all the major news dailies.” Radio Habana cited several Tribune statements, including those labeling the Republican reaction to the Elian Gonzalez raid as exaggerated, and the Tribune’s doubts as to the fitness of the Republicans to govern.
Of course, the “most influential media outlets” did not truly reflect American public opinion, which remains deeply divided regarding the status and ultimate fate of Elian.
In contrast to the diverse and comprehensive coverage of the Elian case in the New Media — that is, the Internet and talk radio — the establishment media’s solid support for the Castro/Clinton position has clearly provided the Cuban dictator hope for influencing the American public on other issues in the future.
Though the political and social dogmas dominating Cuba have changed little since communism took hold in the island over 40 years ago, they have been given a contemporary appeal.
During the recent G-77 meeting of underdeveloped nations held in Havana two weeks ago, the “first world” was condemned not only for its great wealth, but also for the amount of natural resources used in relation to its population.
The market economy was attacked, as might have been expected, but so was the “techie class,” whose wealth, the Cuban government claims, is driving others into poverty. Mandatory sentencing of felons also was condemned as being overly harsh, and contributing to the large number of prisoners in the United States.