News from our hemisphere gone AWOL

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News from our hemisphere gone AWOL

One of the more annoy­ing things in the cur­rent pre­pon­der­ance of opin­ion pieces instead of actual report­ing is the dis­missal of news on our hemi­sphere. Rarely do you find infor­ma­tion on, say, Brazil, the world’s ninth-​largest econ­omy, unless you actu­ally go look­ing for it.

Each coun­try is treated as a piece of puff pas­try on a tray shaped like South Amer­ica: Exotic, tasty but a rare treat that you don’t want to overdo, inter­change­able. Today, arepas. Tomor­row, guava pastries.

The reports you find are few and far apart, and focus mostly on Cuba as a tourist spot, and on Venezuela as an ongo­ing train wreck.

Of course, Cuba fits the social­ist agenda. By now the “excel­lent free health­care” non­sense has been replaced with the “travel to Havana before it mod­ern­izes” gim­mick. Just last night PBS aired Week­end in Havana, entic­ing us to “Travel to Cuba’s vibrant, allur­ing and rapidly chang­ing cap­i­tal,” while ignor­ing the very grim reality:

that under the tyran­ni­cal régime of the Cas­tros, Cuba is a fourth-​world coun­try with col­laps­ing build­ings and a crum­bling infra­struc­ture that can­not pro­vide humane con­di­tions for its own enslaved peo­ple, let alone for­eign tourists.

Venezuela gets atten­tion for its hor­ri­ble near-​civil-​war, brought about by the imple­men­ta­tion of 21st Cen­tury Social­ism™ which is rarely men­tioned. Yesterday’s news car­ried a few more sto­ries on Venezuela because Pres. Trump is con­sid­er­ing sanc­tions against the com­mu­nist régime, includ­ing a pos­si­ble oil embargo.

Most of those arti­cles were opin­ion pieces, low on substance.

It is extremely unusual to read fac­tual report­ing con­nect­ing the many threads of Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. Mary O’Grady does an excep­tional job this week in her arti­cle, How Cuba Runs Venezuela. Havana’s secu­rity appa­ra­tus is deeply embed­ded in the armed forces (empha­sis added)

Havana doesn’t care about Venezue­lan poverty or famine or whether the régime is unpop­u­lar. It has spent a half-​century sow­ing its ide­o­log­i­cal “rev­o­lu­tion” in South Amer­ica. It needs Venezuela as a cor­ri­dor to run Colom­bian cocaine to the U.S. and to Africa to sup­ply Europe. It also relies heav­ily on cut-​rate Venezue­lan petroleum.

This is the first time this year I’ve seen this men­tioned in an arti­cle in a national news­pa­per. O’Grady’s arti­cle is a must-​read.

One can only wish other “jour­nal­ists” were in the same league as O’Grady. They might even find a Rus­sia Rus­sia Rus­sia angle — and a lit­tle China for measure.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin Amer­ica at Fausta’s blog

One of the more annoying things in the current preponderance of opinion pieces instead of actual reporting is the dismissal of news on our hemisphere. Rarely do you find information on, say, Brazil, the world’s ninth-largest economy, unless you actually go looking for it.

Each country is treated as a piece of puff pastry on a tray shaped like South America: Exotic, tasty but a rare treat that you don’t want to overdo, interchangeable. Today, arepas. Tomorrow, guava pastries.

The reports you find are few and far apart, and focus mostly on Cuba as a tourist spot, and on Venezuela as an ongoing train wreck.

Of course, Cuba fits the socialist agenda. By now the “excellent free healthcare” nonsense has been replaced with the “travel to Havana before it modernizes” gimmick. Just last night PBS aired Weekend in Havana, enticing us to “Travel to Cuba’s vibrant, alluring and rapidly changing capital,” while ignoring the very grim reality:

that under the tyrannical regime of the Castros, Cuba is a fourth-world country with collapsing buildings and a crumbling infrastructure that cannot provide humane conditions for its own enslaved people, let alone foreign tourists.

Venezuela gets attention for its horrible near-civil-war, brought about by the implementation of 21st Century Socialism™ which is rarely mentioned. Yesterday’s news carried a few more stories on Venezuela because Pres. Trump is considering sanctions against the communist regime, including a possible oil embargo.

Most of those articles were opinion pieces, low on substance.

It is extremely unusual to read factual reporting connecting the many threads of Latin American politics. Mary O’Grady does an exceptional job this week in her article, How Cuba Runs Venezuela. Havana’s security apparatus is deeply embedded in the armed forces (emphasis added)

Havana doesn’t care about Venezuelan poverty or famine or whether the regime is unpopular. It has spent a half-century sowing its ideological “revolution” in South America. It needs Venezuela as a corridor to run Colombian cocaine to the U.S. and to Africa to supply Europe. It also relies heavily on cut-rate Venezuelan petroleum.

This is the first time this year I’ve seen this mentioned in an article in a national newspaper. O’Grady’s article is a must-read.

One can only wish other “journalists” were in the same league as O’Grady. They might even find a Russia Russia Russia angle – and a little China for measure.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog