July 18 is the first anniversary of the broadcast of Dan Rather's show on CBS, The Last Revolutionary. As its title indicates, it was a romantic view of the aging, last tyrant of the Americas. In 1996, to celebrate Rather's miss-accomplishment, I wrote an article titled Rather a Tribute to His Pal. My article was well received by those offended by Rather's fawning-for-Castro and was published in Accuracy in Media's AIM Report. Many people told me they sent copies of it to Dan Rather at CBS and sent it surfing the world through the Internet.

I sent a letter to Mr. Rather with a copy of the article. To date, I have not received a reply from the CBS icon. However, a few months after my article was published, a TV producer friend told me that he had met Rather and a few others from CBS News at a convention. He told me that when he mentioned Rather's Castro show, he and the others became nervous and defensive about it. They told him that they were planning to show the "other side of the story." But, a year has passed. Where's the beef?

I gather, Rather, career opportunist extraordinaire, isn't going to put at risk a future interview with his pal and yet another much needed ratings coup.

But there is the slight problem of that nasty thing, all to commonly known as blackmail: "If you report anything unflattering about him and his regime, you won't be given permission to 'report' from Cuba again." And the US media, for some strange reason, while they wouldn't tolerate those demands from other tyrants, willingly comply with Castro's extortion. While CBS took hidden cameras to Saudi Arabia in 1997 to show the reality, no hidden cameras are taken to Cuba. This is a clear example of the double standard that has permeated coverage of Cuba for decades. Is this fair for Castro's victims? In the end, they are the ones who suffer the most due to the US media's self serving insensitivity.

Cubans in the US have grown so accustomed to this arrangement that we expect only the usual from the US media. I remember that prior to Rather's show, Cubans, with their typical wit told me, "If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure or an ulcer, don't watch Dan Rather's Castro show." In fact they were right, it was damaging for the health of Cubans not only abroad but (especially) on the island.

Since the very first Cuban raised his voice in January of 1959 and denounced Castro as another tyrant in disguise walking the road toward communist totalitarianism, history has proved him right beyond any reasonable doubt. But now it isn't just one, but millions. If a jury trial was held, the Cubans who want freedom and democracy would win. And the US media would have to put bags on their heads, because the US media still doesn't get the picture of how damaging Castro's regime has been for that unfortunate island.

As usual, Rather portrayed Cuba's past as it wasn't (repeating the tired propaganda for Ignorants - only) to justify Castro's doings, including the bringing forth of the deceiving myths of education and health care as Castro's accomplishments. The show had many inaccuracies already mentioned in my previous article and I'm not going to repeat them here, except to remark once again about the unforgivable Rather looks, smiles and obvious displays of admiration for the old tyrant which made Cubans sick to their stomachs.

But when everything is over and done and the horrors of Castro are exposed for the world to see, Rather will have the bag removed from his head to appear in the Hall of Shame of the museum dedicated to the victims of The Last Tyrant. It isn't good to cover the sun with a finger because in the end you will burn.


Agustin Blazquez,
Producer/Director of documentary COVERING CUBA

ABIP 1997

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