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What's the story with Cuba's 'news' agencies?

By Aleksander Boyd

London 15.02.05 | Google news is my homepage, every time I open my Firefox browser I get to see the news. Lately I have noticed an increase of news related to Venezuela published by Cuban news sources. Since Fidel's spin apparatus is much older than that of his toy boy, I reckon they came to some sort of quid pro quo deal. Not long ago I received an email with the Venezuelan equivalent to the State of the Union speech given by Chavez from the Cuban mission to the UN. Many Cuban diplomatic websites also posted the spiel. Now Google's news section related to Venezuela has been pestered with revolutionary propaganda produced either in Cuba or Venezuela. Imagine for a moment or two the effect that such practices would have should the USA, or any of the European countries, were to distribute political propaganda, favouring another country, via its official websites.

Venezuela has been recently hit by rain storms that have caused the death of many people. Precedent notwithstanding and in spite of a) abundant resources allocated by the chavista regime and b) donations received from the international community, contingency programmes were never set up. A reader sent me a report, which is hosted on the website of Cuba's Astronomy and Geophysics Institute, about the founding of Venezuela's Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, wherein information about sophisticated weather monitoring devices can be found. The oddity is, of course, the source of the document and the content. It cites a nationwide network of 8 Doppler radars that would monitor and transmit in real time information about atmospheric phenomena. It mentions another hydrometeorologic network composed of 651 stations processing and transmitting information via the GOES satellite. The report also touches upon satellite imagery (TIROS-NOA and GOES-13), all in all it seems that the revolutionaries did spend the money in some very fancy equipment that ended piled up and unused in some deposit near Caracas.

No wonder they could not alert the citizenry about the coming storm front. The point remains though, why do Cuban institutes, diplomatic agents and 'news' providers held so much information about our country?



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