Canadian Press Tells Us What Really Happened in Cartagena – And It Wasn’t About Prostitutes and Secret Service

by on April 25, 2012 · 33 comments

in American Empire, Culture, Media, Popular, World News

International Press Inform that the Main Issues Were Cuba, Legalization of Drugs, and the U.S.’s Isolation from South America

by JEC / Special to the OB Rag / April 25, 2012

Would I sound naïve – perhaps pedantic – to say American media is censored? I just had one those “moments” when information falls in your lap by chance. Like an overheard comment, the authenticity is powerful. As it happened I was in Cartagena, Colombia on Saturday, April 14th, in the midst of the “Summit of the Americas”. I was on the cruise ship “Rotterdam” just after passing through the Panama Canal.

The Summit of the Americas was ever present; helicopters in the air, speed boats cruising the harbor. The streets were nearly lined with police/troops most often holding automatic weapons. Reportedly over 90% of all police and security forces of the entire country where in Cartagena to protect the 33 heads of states. Two small bombs exploded the night before getting everyone in the proper mood.

But what do Americans know?

The Secret Service sex scandal and that’s about it. It was the lead story on the Nightly News Monday night (4/23/12). I’ve heard nothing but the 24/7 drum beat since I returned five days ago – sex, sex, sex – seems to serve as the filler for America media.

Am I surprised? No, disappointed yes because I know it goes beyond Fox News. It’s about how pervasive the censorship is across America’s media, including CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times. And this censorship is damaging us, all of us. We make lousy decisions based on faulty information, thanks to American mainstream media. And when it comes to Cuba, we are nearly psychotic.

Ok, so what happened?

It unfolds this way – on Sunday – April 15th – the passengers were eager to read about what they just saw firsthand. The ship produces ten different condensed papers from a number of countries. Different nations seem to follow their own editorial policies.

The Canadian carried the Summit as its lead story “Emboldened Latin America parts ways with Canada, US on Cuba and drugs”. In direct contrast, The New York Times lead was a dry feature on Nigeria Population growth placing the Secret Service sex scandal on page 3.

By chance I overhead three separate conversations of fellow Americans noting the difference between the Canadian press and the New York Times. They were not happy. The Canadian confirmed what we all heard on the streets while in Cartagena on Saturday. The New York Times, in an effort, apparently, to avoid saying anything favorable about Cuba simply left it out. Or so it seemed. On Monday and Tuesday The Canadian disappeared quickly while the NY Times were left in the rack.

Talking to the locals and getting reports via media from other countries such as Japan and Holland, we sensed important changes were occurring in Latin America. Major industrial expansion, improvements to the infra-structure, plus the expansion of the Panama Canal already 70% complete. China is spending billions in grants spread across the region, making friends by building soccer stadiums, schools, roads, and more; gifts, not loans.

Returning home I decided to search out the actual Sunday edition of the New York Times to see if and how the “Summit” was reported. Yes, the NY Times did run a story – “Americas Meeting Ends with Discord Over Cuba”. But with a different spin:

“…the U.S. and some Latin American nations remained sharply divided over whether to continue excluding Cuba…”;

Really, some, not all Latin American nations? If you read the entire article you’re left with the impression that the Latin American nations are not unified on the question of Cuba. This is far from the truth. Latin America and the Caribbean Islands are in complete agreement as all have asked the U.S. to end the embargo on Cuba.

I emailed reporter Jackie Calmes for comment about the differences between the NY Times story and The Canadian’s and which Latin American nation(s) sided with the U.S. on the Cuba question? I received no response.

At home, we are served daily dishes of sex scandals and similar distractions. The issue of Cuba has become an American psychosis; the U.S. has been appeasing the Cubans of south Florida for so long I think we’ve forgotten why. In the meantime the world is changing under our feet and we Americans are being kept in the dark.

Failure to report a story is disappointing. But I believe the NY Times and the stories reported on CNN are designed to fog the issue and mislead us, to lie to us.  Is it a lie? I have to say yes. Why? Because they are the New York Times, and they know the difference as to twist and fog the facts as they did was certainly intentional. They do know what’s going on. So why would the NY Times sacrifice their credibility and our trust? Why do they do this? For the aging Cubans of South Florida who fled Cuba over 50 years ago?

As to Latin America, the sense was Colombian President Juan Manual Santos delivered a friendly ultimatum – Cuba will be included in the next summit or there will be no summit. As reported in The Canadian, the Latin American nations and Caribbean islands have formed a new network, ‘The Community of Latin America’. It is the Organization of American States (OAS) excluding the U.S. and Canada, the only two supporters of the Cuba policy. By every indication Latin America is ready and now willing break with the U.S. And by many indicators, they are able.

And it’s becoming clear that in the end it will be the U.S. who loses. The Cuba policy clearly estranged America from the rest of the Western Hemisphere. It’s time we come to grips.

The U.S. is becoming yesterday’s news in Latin America. But we’ll get another thousand hours of dribble about soldiers using prostitutes – wow. This is the product of a consolidated media.

So I lost the NY Times; but I’ve discovered the overseas press.

A few random facts concerning Cuba – and the U.S.

  • The U.S. started providing material support to Castro while he and Che were we the mountains in 1957. Eisenhower was playing both sides.
  • Frank Sturges became Castro’s personal body guard in 1957.
  • In January, 1959, because of the support he had received, Castro thought the U.S. would quickly recognize the new regime. The U.S. stood back to let things develop. Three months later Castro seized a number of hotels owned mainly by the Mafia (think Godfather II) and used for prostitution. Castro was a moralist of a kind. Frank Sturges then tried to poison Castro, twice. Second attempt he was discovered and fled Cuba with the assistance of the CIA. Frank Sturges was later arrested as a Watergate burglar and variously identified as CIA and/or Mafia. Some believe that he was also the man on the grassy knoll in Dallas in 1963.
  • Castro, fearing that the U.S. was out to kill him, sought a big brother. He found the Soviet Union who was more than happy to exploit the situation.

The rest is history, as they say.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack April 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thank you ever so much. I was trying to figure out why our President and the Secret Service were in Columbia in the first place (sarcasm). It seemed that once the “scandal” raised its ugly pimple, the entire conference was called off…at least that was what American were led to believe by the media.


JMW April 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Watched “Wag the Dog” earlier. Nice segue.


Molly April 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Yes, wonderful film. I recall watching during the Bush administration and that was certainly eerie.


Bearded OBcean April 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

It seems like this is a really a non-story. Latin America and the US have been on divergent paths for years. I’m not sure what the point is; that the US is still opposed to lifting the trade embargo and travel restrictions to Cuba while Latin America as a whole is much more in favor of the Communist island? The sun rises in the east…


Frank Gormlie April 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Yes, but it also could be relative. If you live in the East – where does the sun rise?


Bearded OBcean April 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Just over that row of houses across the street if i recall from my early days in PA.


JEC April 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

It’s not so much about the details of the US/Latin American relationship. Concerning the question of Cuba, American mainstream media lies about what’s happening; if here, why not elsewhere. It’s about trust. I saw and experienced for myself how even the NY Times intentionally distorts the facts to conceal the truth. They lie. If here, where else? I no longer accept the NY Times as a valid source. Yet Americans have come to simply accept this as if it’s universal. No it’s not. The media is some countries actually respects the citizens and fulfills an important function. Ours is like a con man trying to steal my bank account. If we don’t challenge news outlets when they are caught in a lie, then when?


Frank Gormlie April 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm

This post confirms my suspicion that the whole ‘secret service / prostitute’ scandal is nothing but subterfuge, so that we the people don’t hear about the calls for closer relations with Cuba, for the legalization of drugs, and we don’t hear any criticisms of our self-image as the “citadel of democracy”.

It’s time to end the embargo with “Communist Cuba” – hmm, why? Did you know that “Communist China” is one of our largest trading partners? (sarcasm ala JH).


Brenda April 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm

As a Canadian and an American citizen, my assessment of why American press covers the news differently is because American society loves and respects money above all else.

I don’t think censorship is necessary, we’re censoring ourselves Our news in the States is influenced by whatever sells, which is whatever we want to read about.


Frank Gormlie April 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Which is why I love Canadians! They’re not subjugated to the standard Americana acculturation when they’re young.


Monty Kroopkin April 25, 2012 at 8:39 pm

No Brenda, it is not about some fantasy-land “free market” of ideas and interests. That is not what happens. Instead, the multi-billion-dollar “advertising” and opinion polling indusry, and most of the culture industry, MANUFACTURES demand. It is also known in social science as artificially stimulated consumption. What it amounts to is a vastly monopolized corporate capitalist propaganda machine that tells us what is “news” and what is not. It is not really so hugely different in other capitalist countries, including Canada. What is different about the corporate press priorities in the USA is that this country is the principle military force propping up the global interests of all the trans-national capital.


rak April 25, 2012 at 10:37 pm

And riffing off of “manufactured”, how about “constrained”. When 95% of what’s on the shelves to buy is from China, or 95% of what’s on cable is drek, how “free” of a market is it?


JEC April 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Does not the Cuba embargo make us look irrational? The word ‘communist’ is often invoked. Yet ‘communist’ China is our largest trading partner. How about Vietnam? A vicious war, 58,000 americans killed, and millions of dollars worth of property seized when they rolled into Saigon in April, 1975. Yet Americans go on vacations there and trade is only growing. The U.S. never demanded and the Vietnamese never paid for the property they seized? Written off as the spoils of war. And when did Vietnam lose their ‘communist’ label? The Cuban embargo is worse than stupidity; it harms our credibility and if anything helped keep Castro in power. And the GOP would have us continue it, indifferently.


Bearded OBcean April 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm

A lot of things make the US look irrational. But the fact that Cuba hosted nuclear warheads for the Soviet Union certainly didn’t help matters. Nor the fact that Castro has run an oppressive gulag a mere 90 miles from our shores. But it’s not just the GOP that would have us continue the embargo. A great many of varying stripes favor it. How does it harm our credibility? With nations that are already in opposition to our foreign policy? Who cares what the Venezuela’s of the world think of the US.


JEC April 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

You’re my point. Expecting that you have not been to Cuba, what you know of Cuba comes via the US media. Fidel has not been in power for years – an oppressive gulag, Republican Senators central issue in 2009 were 200 political prisonsers. Clean our own house first, Republican Gov. Ryan commuted the death sentences of 168 because during his term 10% were proven to be innocent. The Europeans go there – there are large resorts, Cuba is a large producer of pharmacuticals and the most literate nation in the Western hemisphere. And who are those of varying stripes that favor continuing a fifty year old failed policy?


Bearded OBcean April 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Why aren’t Cubans permitted in tourist areas? Why is it that there’s only been a Castro at the head of the government for more than 50 years? Why do Cuban baseball players have to risk their life and family when playing in an international tournament when they want to flee?

Unfortunately, our media excuses quite a bit of the horrors that Cubans face from the regime. Their plight is not marked with a shudder, but instead, a thumbs up at the literacy! healthcare! infant mortality rate!

I’d imagine the embargo will be lifted as soon as Cubans are permitted free elections and liberty in general when the yolk of their Communist dictatorship is but a memory. I’d suggest reading a bit of Armando Valladares if you’d like to learn what Cuba is like when you don’t toe the party line.


Adam May 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I just came across your article by way of Red Ice Creation’s RSS feed…I’d like to post the full article on with your permission. We would credit you as the author of course. Just think our audience might enjoy this “other” take on what happened in Cartagena.


Stiobhan C April 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Thank you for your knowledgeable analysis of the actual facts. By the way, the name of the country you just spent so much time in is “Colombia,” not “Columbia.”


JEC April 27, 2012 at 10:12 am

Thank you so much for correcting spelling – I wrote this trying to be timely even though I suffered a bad case of the flu – and spell check didn’t catch. But then…


John April 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

The sun doesn’t rise, we just keep spinning.

Just sayin


Randy April 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Wait a minute, why would news sources like the NYT and CNN lie when it is now so easy to get news from all sorts of foreign sources off the internet? Wouldn’t it be fairly obvious, at least to a fairly large segment of their readers/viewers that they were lying?


sistertongue May 5, 2012 at 8:52 am

Because a lot of people are lazy and do not search, particularly americans who have been trained to think everything should just be served to them – with no effort on their part. Just like zombies in front of the tv who continue to sit there when they could just open the door and walk outside. Just because alternative is there doesn’t mean people are reading it. The NYT caters to people who want to think they are all sophisticated and intellectual and they stop there, feeling all “in the know.” They eat the candy (media) that makes them feel good. They, like most americans, avoid any discomfort.

And, these media/propaganda outlets are owned by corporations that are desperately trying to keep up the lie so they can continue their behaviors.


Merkan Numbnutz May 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

yes, american’ts are incredibly lazy and stupid morons who truly buy 100 percent of the Faux Noize Chunnel Propaganda crap that Rupturde MerdeCocque cranks out of his Rothschilds inbred zioturd anus.

unfortunately there is no cure for ‘terminally stupid’ as Amerdeka has become.

it’s in it’s tertiary phase and when Fukushima Unit 4 collapses soon, it’ll be all over but the hair falling out…… ;(


el May 5, 2012 at 7:43 am

@ Randy.-

Its called “going for broke”.

What you are witnessing is the death throws of Corporate Media Control.

This is probably the best time for the Internet. It was good while it lasted.


Big Question May 5, 2012 at 11:16 am

If the us and Cuba are on the outs……..why in the WORLD do they let us have a naval base there?…i.e. Guantanamo


Alan May 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Because Cuba honours their treaty/lease obligations, much like the Chinese did over Hong Kong and Macao.


Paul Rigby May 6, 2012 at 12:01 am

The New York World-Telegram & Sun, Monday, 14 October 1963, p.21

Viet Nam Another Cuba?

Richard Starnes

The Central Intelligence Agency’s role in Viet Nam has been assailed as bureaucratic ineptitude seasoned with arrogance of a high order, and it has been just as warmly defended as selfless patriotism of the utmost puissance.

An insight as to which version is true may be gained by reference to the fully documented – and unchallenged – story of the part played by the CIA in Cuba just before Fidel Castro rose to power. The parallels to today’s gathering disaster in Saigon are remarkable, and so is the cloudy, controversial part essayed by the CIA.

Six years ago the same sort of drama was being played out in Havana. Fulgencio Batista, a dictator much hated by the Cuban people, was being harried – and inexorably destroyed – by a tiny guerrilla force of almost comic-opera weakness. Batista’s large, well-equipped army was intact. His secret police were savagely efficient. But knowledgeable Americans on the scene felt a growing disquiet. Batista had everything going for him except the support of the people.

These circumstances, of course, are dramatically duplicated in Viet Nam today. And the sharpest parallel may be found in the curious role of the CIA – then as now.

The United States ambassador to Cuba during the twilight of Batista’s brutal role was Earl E. T. Smith, a financier and former Army officer. Here is what he has had to say about his relations with the CIA during the period that bears such remarkable resemblance to the present dismal involvement in Saigon:

“In September, 1957, I asked the chief of the CIA section attached to the embassy to review their figures on Communist party strength in Cuba – both as to card-bearing Communists and Communist sympathizers.

“I questioned our estimates because nine years earlier, when the Communists for the last time in Cuba voted as a party under the Communist label, they polled over 120,000 votes…Nevertheless, the embassy CIA estimates on Communist party strength in Cuba in 1957 indicated only 10,000 card-bearing Communists and approximately 20,000 Communist sympathizers.

“It is interesting to note that the CIA officer had a closed mind and demonstrated a resentment to my references to Fidel…as the ‘outlaw’ and the ‘bandit leader’ in the hills.

“These feelings of resentment were shown by a remark he made when he walked out of my office. After I had asked him to review the figures, I heard him say. ‘We don’t care what you think.”

That CIA official was subsequently transferred (another parallel to Saigon, where the chief of the CIA mission has lately been removed) but there is room to doubt whether the transfer of one individual could check the CIA’s wilful ways.

“In September, 1957, Smith testified before the Senate internal security subcommittee, “the (Cuban) navy had an uprising at Cienfuegos. We in the American embassy were familiar that a revolt of some sort would take place. That information came to us through the CIA or some other source in the embassy.”

The revolt failed. And at the trial of the officers who had attempted it, “it was brought out (again quoting Ambassador Smith) “that the No. 2 (CIA) man had said that if the revolution were successful the United States would recognize the revolutionaries.”

As soon as the ambassador learned of this attempt by the CIA to fabricate foreign policy, he “laid down the law that neither the ambassador nor anyone else could give any statement as to whom the United States would recognize; that there were only two people in the United States who had that authority; one was the Secretary of State and the other was the President.”

Just how poorly informed the CIA remained as to the true nature of Castroism may be gleaned from the testimony before the internal security subcommittee, given nearly a year after Castro came to power by Gen. C.P. Cabell, then deputy director of the CIA. “We believe,” Gen. Cabell testified, “that Castro is not a member of the Communist party and does not consider himself to be a Communist.”


Polar Bare May 6, 2012 at 6:21 am

The American BS regarding Cuba becomes overwhelming for me.I have visited Cuba twenty five times in the last twenty years and I love the country and its people.My son in law is Cuban and he is an exemplary human being(taught by communists).My family in Cuba is non judgemental and generous beyond their means.I have been to many Central and South American countries and nowhere do I feel as safe as in Cuba.I witnessed a profound difference when I visited Nicaragua-also a Socialist country-in the material goods available to the Nicaraguans.There is little or no embargo on Nicaragua,however the embargo on Cuba costs this Island 6.5 billion(usd).per year(Johns -Hopkins).Go figure.


mediawatcher May 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

Iraq, NYTIMES, Judith Miller, credibility…say no more about the Lamestreet US press realease division of the corporate military/industrial/political conglomerate. Still want to believe those who cost us $1 trllion dollars, thousands of soldiers their lives, tens of thousands more injuries, millions of Iraqis their lives, left a nuclear wasteland of DU dust? If so Charlie Brown, go give that football a big kick, I’m sure this time Lucy will hold it still. If not, you can contemplate what Kim and Linsey may wear to next years WU correspondents dinner.


Polarbare May 6, 2012 at 9:35 am

Hey Bearded.Free elections in your country?Have a look at the last three.Obviously you have never visited Cuba.I travel everywhere in Cuba and I have never encountered segregation of tourists/nationals.I have been to Cuba 25 times in 20 years and I find the majority support the Government.Freedom of speech? How many have been arrested in the” good ol’ US in the last two years?(the answer is thousands),yet in Cuba the” damas de blanca”are allowed to spew U.S. bull-unimpeded.Who cares what Venezuela thinks?What about the rest of the world?They know you for what you are.Your form of democracy means dead babies,raped and pillaged resources and zero morality.


Debet May 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm

I’ve been mystified by this prostitution scandal. The Secret Service is certainly able to smother a scandal if need be, so why is this all over the media? Obviously there was more to it then meets the eye. Thanks for explaining.


John Smith July 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I am Canadian. We vacation in the USA in the summer. On the beach one day I got into a conversation with an american border patrol agent. This was a very enlightening conversation. i explained i was from montreal, he said they stop about 15 al-queda a week trying to cross into the USA from here. I said I found that hard to believe and that the Mexican border would be more of an issue. We discussed Mexico and i said that we used to vacation there but not anymore because it is getting too dangerous, we go to to the beaches of Cuba instead now. His face dropped and without saying a word, turned his back and walked away. Very enlightening indeed the level of American paranoia abd isolation.


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