Magazine article New Internationalist

Mr Egg-on-the-Face (Journalist's Experience with Brothers to the Rescue Organization in Cuba)

Magazine article New Internationalist

Mr Egg-on-the-Face (Journalist's Experience with Brothers to the Rescue Organization in Cuba)

Article excerpt

MY last night in Havana I heard a story I couldn't believe. I was in the hotel bar, of course. My informant - a well - educated Afro - Cuban artist - told me that a plane from the United States had flown over the capital dropping anti - government leaflets just the weekend before.

Yeah, right,' I said. 'I said. 'As if any country would let hostile aircraft fly over its capital unmolested. Especially Cuba - it's only had 37 years of US - sponsored invasions, assassination plots, germ warfare, bombings, blockades...'

Es verdad - it's true,' she assured me. 'And they did it last summer too.'

Now I was supposed to believe it happened twice! I said I was a journalist specializing in Cuba and Mexico, and I'd heard nothing about it.

She shrugged. 'You don't believe me? Ask someone else. They'll tell you the same thing.'

So I did. Any they did.

Well, this was one unbelievable story I wasn't going to humiliate myself by trying to report. Hell, there's people who'll tell you they've been kidnapped by aliens.

One thing did give me pause as I took my leave. 'You know,' she said with a touch of petulance, 'the Government did tell them that if they ever did it again the Air Force would shoot them down.'

That part's credible, I thought. But... nah.

Now it's common knowledge that the woman's story was true: Cuba did allow hostile aircraft to fly over Havana both in July and January, and it did issue repeated warnings of what would happen the next time.

Now we are all expected to believe a far more incredible tale, in fact one that appears demonstrably false: murderous Cubans shot down 'clearly unarmed' civilian planes.

Leave aside one wag's remark: the only people who are 'clearly unarmed' are naked - and even then, not if they're carrying a lunch box.

Leave aside Cuba's forced existence in a virtual state of war with Washington for so long - the innumerable CIA operations, the US embargo that's not supported by any other country in the world.

The truth is that 'Brothers to the Rescue', the organization responsible for penetrations of Cuban airspace, is about as humanitarian as Pat Buchanan, its aircraft about as civilian as General Schwarzkopf in his retirement business suit. 'Brothers' is a group of Cuban exiles devoted to the overthrow of Cuba's Government. Its leader, Jose Basulto, is distinguished by having participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion and subsequently firing a cannon at an hotel in Havana. …

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