The Spectacle Blog

Department of Scurrilousness

By on 8.18.06 | 12:06AM

Who is Ricardo Alarcón Quesada? He is the "President of Cuba's National Assembly" in "Havana, Cuba" who's been given the lead position in the select letters section of the New Yorker in its August 21 issue. He wrote to defend the so-called "Five Heroes" mentioned in a July 31 piece who are in jail in the U.S. for having, in his words, "penetrated--without force or harm to any individuals--South Florida's terrorist groups, in order to monitor their activities." He claims "the U.S. did not contest that the Cubans' 'crime' was to operate against violent groups tolerated by the Administration." Indeed, "the Bush administration succeeded in protecting its own terrorists" three months after 9/11, "in the heat of the 'war on terror,'" when it had these five men convicted.

Now it's not common practice in Mike Wallace's "so-called free world" to give space to a Goebbels-like stooge without including some sort of editorial response, particularly since Quesada's letter is a slander against all south Florida Cuban-Americans (not to mention the Administration itself and all post-9/11 American sensitivies).

Now normally, if no reply from the editor or from the author of the piece in question is forthcoming, a publication might run a second letter that takes a sharply opposing view from such a scurrilous first letter. But not at the New Yorker. It declined any of these three options. Indeed, as if to second Quesada's concerns, it has instead run a companion letter from an Ada Bello of Philadelphia, who condemns "the Bush Administration's Committee for the Assistance to a Free Cuba." The very existence of such "an entity" Bello finds "ominous," given that the "U.S. ought to realize that Cubans are prepared to manage the post-Castro transition, and that any change imposed from the outside will never be seen as legitimate." The dinero quote: "Without the pressures and intrusions of U.S. policy, Cuba, while preserving the social gains of the revolution, could evolve into a tolerant society, with a mixed economy and a good standard of living..." You know the rest: no more "U.S. imperialist adventures."

It must hearten the likes of Raul Castro, Ricardo Quesada, and Hugo Chavez to know that in the United States there are many who will continue to make common cause with them once Fidel is sleeping with the worms.

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