An internal memo circulated at CNN regarding the resignation of Fidel Castro as Cuba’s president reads in part as if it were written by the Cuban propaganda ministry.
The memo obtained by Newsmax was sent out to staffers on Feb. 19, the day Cuba announced Castro’s retirement.
It states: “Please say in our reporting that Castro stepped down in a letter he wrote to Granma (the communist party daily), as opposed to in a letter attributed to Fidel Castro. We have no reason to doubt he wrote his resignation letter. He has penned numerous articles over the past year and a half.”
The statement is evidently meant to counter widely held suspicions that Castro, 81 years old and ailing, is not actually writing his own material for Granma.
The memo also tells staffers: “Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba — namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration, in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.”
Assertions praising Cuba’s health care system have been widely challenged. And the Cuban government has been accused of numerous human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extra-judicial executions. Groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued reports on Cuban prisoners of conscience, and opponents claim the Cuban government represses free expression by limiting access to the Internet.
The CNN memo points out that Castro is “seen as a revolutionary hero, especially with leftist (sic) in Latin America, for standing up to the United States.”
The memo does, however, note that while the Cuban government blames many of Cuba’s economic woes on the U.S. trade embargo, “the bulk of Cuba’s economic problems are due to Cuba’s failed policies.”
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