Yoani Sánchez, Cuba, Obama and WikiLeaks


In 2009 the Cuban blogger made headlines worldwide when president Obama allegedly answered her questions. WikiLeaks tells it different

On 19 November 2009 Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez wrote proudly in the Huffington Post (to which she had been regularly contributing) an article titled “President Obama’s answers to my questions”.
Indeed the news that the president of the USA had decided to respond to the questions of a “normal blogger”, made quickly headlines around the world. Of course Yoani was not a “normal blogger”. She lives in Cuba and “dares” to speak openly against Castro and the revolution, so the story goes.
Those who, from the beginning, smelt something bad around this blogger, were quickly labelled as “communists” and “pro Castro supporters”.
So Yoani made headlines with her interview with the President of the USA.
The “Committee to Protect Journalists” ran the story: Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez was astounded this week by President Barack Obama’s decision to respond a written questionnaire she submitted to the White House. Still recovering from bruises left by a recent vicious attack by state security agents, she told CPJ from her home in Havana: “This is the best way to get better.”
WikiLeaks abruptly interrupted Yoani Sánchez days of glory. And abruptly revealed the truth about the “normal blogger”. Or shall we call her “provocateur” ? and yes, we take the “communist” label which goes with that. With pride.
So here is the real story as told by WikiLeaks about the interview with President Obama.

A cable sent to Washington by the US Interest Section in Havana (USIS) shows that the much-trumpeted interview allegedly responded by US President Barack Obama to the blogger has been apocryphal. USINT itself issued both the questionnaire and the responses, which months later were published under Obama’s signature in the blog of Sánchez Cordero.

When the “interview” finally appeared in the Huffington Post and other outlets, Obama’s answers bore little difference from the ones created by USIS.

Question #1. For years Cuba has been a U.S. foreign policy issue as well as a domestic one, in particular because of the large Cuban American community. From your perspective in which of the two categories should the Cuban issue fit?

USIS Draft Response: All foreign policy issues involve domestic components to one degree or another, especially issues concerning countries like Cuba from which the United States has a large immigrant population…

POTUS (president) Final Response: All foreign policy issues involve domestic components, especially issues concerning neighbours like Cuba from which the United States has a large immigrant population and with which we have a long history of relations…

The mainstream media tired out with all ceremony at that time, while placing the “event” in highlighted headlines, with special job from PRISA Group. 

Spanish newspaper El Pais, as chief mouthpiece of the said media conglomerate, headlined the report sent from the Cuban capital by its correspondent Mauricio Vicent, who reproduced the seven responses almost completely.

“Sánchez tried to ask President Obama the questions through several channels and throughout several months and had quite difficulties, until she finally managed to do it via her blog”, then commented Vicent, as a result of his inquires, evidently misguided, or very well directed to match up the farce, which was finally discovered.

However, now, when the evidence is irrefutable, more than reliable, those same sources make an accomplice silence trying to protect Yoani, the champion of “suit generis capitalism” for Cuba.

But the latest cables leaked by WikiLeaks, without omitting names this time, reveal what the media intends to ignore, hiding it from the public opinion by omission. Indeed Yoani has just been contracted by the National Spanish Radio. So liars do get promoted in the mainstream media.

To date, the Huffington Post, which features regular contributions from Sánchez and published the “interview” as “President Obama’s Answers to My Questions“ has not issued a correction.

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