Monday, January 21, 2008

Covering Code Pink in Little Havana (Part 2)


The day after the protest, the Sun-Sentinel published a 456-word article (by Ruth Morris) which I thought was pretty good. Following our methodology, Morris briefly described the mission of Code Pink as "plans to distribute postcards in Miami and Miami Beach, [and] asking the FBI to put Posada Carriles on its most-wanted list. Codepink is also offering to pay for billboards with the same message." (Morris failed to include Code Pink's other activities.) Morris also included a quote by Medea Benjamin which described well the main motivation behind the campaign against Posada: "He's a known terrorist. This man should be behind bars... We feel our government should be consistent. We go looking for terrorists all over the world."

Morris described the counter-protest crowd as "mostly older men" numbering "about 200," some of which "charged at the [Code Pink] truck as they arrived, tearing at its pink fringe, while others jeered and shouted insults... Supporters of Posada Carriles ran through the streets of Little Havana looking for the [Code Pink] truck while bystanders shouted, 'Prostitutes!' at the small group." Morris also detailed the controversial past of Luis Posada Carriles by describing him as "former CIA operative wanted in Venezuela in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner." She also mentioned his immigration case, his connection to hotel bombings in Cuba, and his arrest in Panama from which he was later (strangely) pardoned.

Morris also captured well the basic counter-argument from some of Posada's supporters by including this quote: "Posada Carriles is no terrorist. The terrorist is Fidel Castro." This sentence alone illustrates well how supporters of Posada 1) attempt to obviate certain facts surrounding the controversial militancy of Luis Posada Carriles, 2) justify Posada's violent crusade against the Cuban government, and 3) ignore the central concern in regards to the inconsistency of US principles applied in the "War on Terror."


Diario Las Americas published an almost 700-word EFE Spanish News Agency article (by Sonia Osorio) two days after the Code Pink demonstration. Of the articles already mentioned (and despite its tardiness) it includes plenty of good quotes and descriptions of the events of January 12th. It is also available in English.

It should be noted that Diario Las Americas also published an announcement to its readers one day before the anticipated Code Pink demonstration in Little Havana. According to the announcement (published in the Local section), groups in support of Luis Posada Carriles were scheduled to meet at the Versailles Restaurant at 10:30 AM (30 minutes before the Code Pink demonstration in the same location), and with the understanding that "those who defend the Castro regime [whom we must assume to be Code Pink], also defend the traitorous assassinations committed by the communist regime, the sinking of the '13 de Marzo' tugboat, the shooting down of the Brothers to the Rescue planes, the invasions of Angola, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia [and] Grenada." But I'm sure they could've added many more incidents to mischaracterize those whom they feel "defend the Castro regime."

Anyway, the EFE report was originally published the same day of the demonstration (Jan 12th), but published online on the 14th for Diario Las Americas. Sonia Osorio described the Code Pink campaign as a demonstration to "distribute post cards showing Posada Carriles' face and the telephone number of the FBI... to get the FBI to arrest Posada Carriles, 73, and extradite him to Venezuela where the authorities accuse him of blowing up a Cubana de Aviacion airliner in 1976, killing 73 people... Code Pink also plans to hold a vigil on Sunday, a protest demonstration Monday in front of the office of Cuban American congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and present a list of signatures to the FBI office in Miami."

Osorio also quoted Medea Benjamin describing the inconsistency of the "War on Terror": "It is known throughout Latin America that this man, Posada Carriles, is responsible for the death of civilians. The failure of the Bush administration to arrest and extradite him makes the war on terror ridiculous." This statement is supported by the fact that the extradition of Luis Posada Carriles has been supported by the majority of Latin nations at the last three Ibero-American Summits (2005, 2006, 2007) and also supported by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza.

Osorio described the actions of counter-protesters: "When a van with pink decorations drove in front of the [Versailles] restaurant with a huge banner showing the face of the anti-Castro militant [Luis Posada Carriles], several Cubans chased the vehicle to try to rip the banner down... The threat of violence was halted when police took up positions in the middle of the street... The members of Code Pink... left the scene quickly with some of the Cubans hurling insults after them." In the Spanish version of the EFE article the "intent of aggression" is added to "threat of violence" in the same line.

Finally, the EFE article briefly mentioned the background of Posada with mention to the 1976 bombing and his current immigration case. (No mention of his involvement with the CIA, connection to hotel bombings in Cuba, and his arrest in Panama.) Osorio also estimated the counter-protest crowd at "some 300" and included a jaw-dropping quote by Miguel Saavedra from Vigilia Mambisa, the same man caught chasing and assaulting a counter-protester last year in Little Havana. Osorio quotes Saavedra: "We are very democratic, this is a free country. We are on our side of the street. No one has prohibited anything. We're pluralists."

BS. Let's look at some video.

[Part 3]

1 comment:

leftside said...

Thank you for your work on this. Do you know if there was any outrage about this event in Miami? The impression I get from the press coverage is that they tried hard to minimize traces of outrage that this case (and all the rest) deserved.