Double Standards and the Struggle Against Terrorism

Presentation to the “International Meeting Against Terrorism, For Truth and Justice”, Havana, June 4, 2005.

Translated by Diana Barahona

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has launched a great “struggle against terrorism” which involves “all of the dark corners of the planet,” according to the words of President George W. Bush. Taking advantage of the tragic events which have affected the people of the U.S., the strategists of the White House have put their plans in motion, prepared a long time before the attacks on the World Trade Center, with the aim of seizing the resources of the Middle East and controlling the world. In the name of this broad offensive “for freedom,” U.S. troops have invaded two sovereign nations, Afghanistan and Iraq, causing the deaths of several hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. At present, insecurity and chaos reign in these two countries.

At the same time, since 1959, Washington harbors in its territory small terrorist groups which wage a merciless war against the Cuban revolution. Those fascist entities act in plain sight and with complete impunity, since historically they have benefited from the support of the White House. The chapter of Luis Posada Carriles, who is in the United States since the middle of March of 2005, while the U.S. courts have prohibited him from staying in the territory due to his terrorist activities, has shed new light on the fraud of what constitutes the “war on terror.”

Nevertheless, the double standard the United States applies in its “struggle against terrorism,” which is really nothing but a subterfuge which hides hegemonic aspirations, also extends to the international media which certify, assimilate and apply the doctrine of the “good and bad terrorist.” In this way they become accomplices to a global maneuver and effectively ratify the U.S.’s imperialist plans.

This media conspiracy is glaringly evident. How is it possible that in the middle of the “war on terrorism” the information and communication corporations are not dealing with the case of Cuba, the country which has suffered the longest and most ferocious terrorist campaign in modern history?

The civilian airplanes which crashed against the buildings in New York and Washington have generated an enormous emotional shock in every country in the world. In the name of what ideological amnesia has the international press failed to evoke, after the attacks of September 2001, the bloody bombing perpetrated on October 6, 1976, against a Cubana Airlines commercial airplane in Barbados which cost the lives of 73 people, when it is one of the first acts of air terrorism in history? How is it possible that at the same time the United States is harboring and protecting Luis Posada Carriles, the worst terrorist in the Western Hemisphere, the international media prefer to report on the meeting of a small group of “dissidents” financed and controlled by Washington, as the U.S. State Department’s own documents demonstrate?

The media treatment reserved for the problem of terrorism confirms not only the double discourse in effect, but also the mystification that the “war on terror” represents. If the “struggle against terrorism” had any basis in reality, the international media would denounce the implacable terrorist campaign which successive U.S. administrations have waged against the Cuban people since 1959. The censorship of the most sophisticated kind of terrorism against Cuba clearly illustrates the duplicity of the Western press.

The selectivity evidenced by the media only illuminates even more the doctrinal environment which reigns in the heart of the world’s newspapers, radios and televisions. The scandal of the five Cuban citizens imprisoned in the United States is the example par excellence: Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, Fernando Gonzalez Llort and Rene Gonzalez Sehweret were sentenced to four life terms, increased by 77 years, for infiltrating terrorist groups in Florida protected by Washington. If Western societies were intellectually free, they would denounce the cruel and inhuman treatment reserved for the Five. As a matter of fact, this judicial scandal has been completely censored from the dominant media space.

Information passes through a doctrinal filter which shows how deeply the foundations of totalitarianism are rooted in international media structures. In reality, the press, which should provide citizens with unbiased news, is nothing more than a tool to control thought and ideas since it systematically ignores important debates such as the relevance or legitimacy of a terrorist war against a nation which has chosen the path of independence and self determination. The fundamental questions, such as the right of Cuba to defend itself against constant attacks, are not dealt with.

The French press had the indecency to call Luis Posada Carriles an “anti-Castro” militant, a person “accused of terrorism” or, the height of deception, an “ex-terrorist.” This semantic crime is never questioned and shows how perfectly the doctrinal barriers function. What would happen if Osama Bin Ladin were called “anti-Bush,” a person “accused of terrorism” or an “ex-terrorist”? The intensity of protests unleashed by such descriptions would approach the level of the media collusion regarding Posada Carriles.

In a way, the large press groups are accomplices to terrorism since to them, the bloody attacks against Cuba don’t take on any importance. Horrors committed in the name of a reactionary and anti-revolutionary aversion are covered up as much as possible. When that is no longer possible, they are minimized and the criminals responsible find themselves absolved by the media in total impunity, as the terms used to refer to the worst terrorist of the Americas show.

The press tacitly agrees to justify one type of violence and denounce what it calls arbitrary terrorism. The approach varies according to the victim: if he is European or American the perpetrators are lawless criminals; when the victim is Cuban they turn into people “accused of terrorism,” “anti-Castro” or “ex-terrorists.” Public opinion is the main prey of this media tyranny.

The ideological frame established in the heart of the media censors the real debates. The fact is the press, owned by large economic and financial groups, displays despotic characteristics which represent a danger for the future of humanity.

Why Cuba? The answer is relatively simple. The Caribbean island has demonstrated that the application of the neo-liberal doctrine is a complete failure. The Cuban people continue to commit the unpardonable sin of believing that a human being is not condemned to indifference and humiliation. While Europe and the United States send troops to Haiti to overthrow a president, Cuba sends free doctors and teachers to the same place to try to alleviate the suffering of the most marginalized. The United States and the Western world cannot accept this insult. Here is a part of the reason why the international press is an accomplice to terrorism against Cuba, backing the crimes of Washington with its silence.

It is for this reason that intellectuals have a duty not to place themselves among the executioners.


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