Friday, October 28, 2011

"The Murder of Laura Pollán" (Part 3)

Yesterday, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart appeared on Radio Mambi with Ninoska Perez-Castellon. He was there to talk about the recent passage of H.R. 674, but also made comments about the death of Laura Pollán. Rep. Diaz-Balart said that despite not having any evidence to prove that Pollán was murdered by the Cuban government, he still believed that she was. Lately, this has been the position of many in Miami. And, it makes for good propaganda*.

Just like Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Nancy Perez Crespo, radio show host on WWFE 670AM, made the same claim. Earlier this week on her 2pm show, Perez Crespo (photo above, lower right) acknowledged that she had no hard facts to prove that Laura Pollán was murdered, and had to rely on certain assumptions. She began to explain to listeners how Cuba is a closed society with a government-controlled press which makes it hard to find reliable and credible sources. And, she added that sometimes exiles in Miami have to rely on anonymous sources for news in order to protect those sources from government retaliation. What a bad excuse.

First, in the case of Laura Pollán, all sources of information concerning her death and allegations of dissidents being injected with a toxic substances have come from named sources. There are no anonymous sources in this case. Second, the use of anonymous sources by exiles in Miami is rare. Over the past few years, independent news sources from Cuba have become part of our online world, where it is very hard to keep anonymity for long (just ask me).

Nevertheless, despite the lack of evidence and neglect for the burden of proof, many still insist that Laura Pollán was murdered. If you attended last Friday's act of remembrance for Laura Pollán in Coral Gables you heard repeated claims (video) that Pollán was "killed" (by Sylvia Iriondo, President of M.A.R por Cuba), or "strangled by a murderous hand" (by Cary Roque, ex-political prisoner), or chanting of "murderers." Also this week, Rep. David Rivera (FL-25) of South Florida spoke about the "ruthless murder by the Castro dictatorship" of Laura Pollán on the House floor (video). (He got the date wrong saying "last Friday," but facts seem trivial at this point.)

So why do hard-liners persist on this claim?

After decades insisting (and investing into the narrative) that the Cuban government is a ruthless and evil force on the planet, after blaming tragic acts solely on the Cuban government, after years and years of propaganda, what explanation is one likely to accept? But, more precisely, what explanation is acceptable in the exile community? One that is simple and identifies the evil perpetrator, or a more complicated one that describes the complexity of a half-century conflict? For someone who identifies oneself as an "exile," there seems to be little room for a complicated story about why one has struggled for so many years "in exile."

[Video of Sylvia Iriondo's speech at act of remembrance for Laura Pollán in Coral Gables.]
[*Definition and characteristics of propaganda are described by Jay Black.]

[Part One]
[Part Two]


Anonymous said...

I like this blog. The author –maybe Pancho, or Tato-, looks deeply informed on the hard-liner Cuban exile.

Tato wrote: “After decades insisting (and investing into the narrative) that the Cuban government is a ruthless and evil force on the planet… what explanation is acceptable in the exile community?” But reading right here how the hard-liner Cuban exile behaves, it’s easy to understand that hard-liner are not advocated to any rationally acceptable explanation of nothing. They’re not trying to persuade the Cuban exile. They are just trying to intimidate Cuban immigrants. And, by the way, they are trying to make the credits to get the US federal government money. Money assigned to the democracy and liberty name.

So why do hard-liners persist on this claim? [the murder of Laura Pollán] It looks not too hard question for answer. Hard-liners are making their predictable job of terrorize the Cuban community in the democracy’s name. There are neither principles nor ethic on it.

Mambi_Watch said...

I wouldn't say hard-liners are focused on trying to "terrorize" or "intimidate" their own community members. Several tactics are used in trying to persuade the local community to become hard-liners against Cuba.

One of those tactics it certainly to exaggerate the threat of the Cuban government. Some call it "threat elevation" in the field of political science. It is mainly an act of manipulation through the media which in the Cuban community probably goes as far back as the Pedro Luis Boitel case, and now into the Orlando Zapata and Laura Pollan case.

But it is not entirely irrational, but certainly exploitative of past traumas of the Cuba exile story.