Coco Fusco — a Cuban-American artist who is critical of the island’s communist government — said that editors at The New York Times muted her recent opinion piece about widespread anti-regime protests.
On August 7, Fusco and Cuban political scientist Armando Chaguaceda wrote an essay debunking the claim that the American trade embargo is a leading cause of the protest movement.
“For anyone following the demonstrations closely, it’s easy to see what the protesters are really calling for,” they explained. “Through the intrepid efforts of independent journalists who labor under constant threat, we have been given an unfiltered glimpse of these calls for freedom — the last thing that the country’s leadership wants anyone to see — as well as the state’s predictably harsh reaction.”
As mentioned by Fusco and Chaguaceda, the Black Lives Matter movement issued a statement alleging that the unrest is attributable to the embargo. Likewise, the Democratic Socialists of America — of which Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are members — expressed solidarity with the Cuban people against the blockade.
Fusco noted, however, that the editorial team inserted points that neither she nor Chaguaceda wrote or endorsed.
“The process of getting an opinion piece in The New York Times — everything favorable that appears in this article about Cuba was put in by the editors of The New York Times,” she said at a recent panel discussion. “There was a negotiation in which we lost, to a certain extent, certain battles to be able to advance the article — because deep down it was more important that certain things appeared.”
1) “Todo lo favorable que aparece en ese artículo sobre Cuba lo metieron los editores del @nytimes, eso no fue escrito ni por mí ni por Armando Chaguaceda”
— Norges Rodríguez (@norges14) August 16, 2021
For example, the article claims that Cubans have “been able to elect only three presidents” over the course of sixty years. Fusco commented: “Many friends wrote to me — ‘Why did you say that there were elections?’ I did not say that, that was them.”
“They were always making concessions to the [Cuban] government, and that is in the position of the entire international press,” she added.
Nevertheless, Fusco explained that American media companies cannot trust Prensa Latina — the state-sanctioned news outlet of Cuba — for accurate information from the island, forcing them to cite her and others who disagree with the regime.
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