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.]