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    Cuba criticizes Obama, US media

    Posted on Friday, 02.25.11

    Cuba criticizes Obama, US media
    Associated Press

    HAVANA -- Cuba on Friday denounced U.S. President Barack Obama as a copy
    of his conservative Republican predecessor, and said he gave more
    credence to Cuban-American exiles than his own diplomats.

    An opinion piece in the official Communist Party newspaper Granma
    criticized Obama for supporting dissidents on the island and called for
    Cuba to release all political prisoners. It said the president's
    Wednesday statement shows he is being manipulated by exiles, uninformed
    advisors and a biased U.S. media.

    Obama's call came on the one-year anniversary of the death of Orlando
    Zapata Tamayo, a political prisoner who died after an 83-day hunger strike.

    Obama termed Tamayo's death "selfless and tragic" and said it brought
    the world's attention to the mistreatment of prisoners unjustly held by
    Cuban authorities for standing up for the rights of the Cuban people.
    Tamayo's mother was briefly detained in Cuba over the weekend, an action
    Obama criticized.

    Cuba has said its doctors did all they could to keep Tamayo alive. It
    maintains he and all other dissidents are common criminals, and says his
    jail term was extended because of poor behavior behind bars.

    The Granma piece refers to a secret diplomatic cable sent out in 2009
    over the signature of Jonathan Farrar, America's chief diplomat in
    Havana, which describes Cuban opposition groups as petty, fractured and
    out of touch. The cable was revealed by WikiLeaks late last year.

    The article says Obama's statement made clear he had ignored his chief
    diplomat's council.

    "The White House is giving more attention to pressure from Miami and its
    mafia in the capital then it is to its own diplomats," the article says,
    adding that Obama's emotional statement "emulated his predecessor George
    W. Bush in its abuse of adjectives."

    The article was published next to a series of altered photos showing the
    face of former President George W. Bush gradually turning into that of

    The newspaper also had harsh words for Cuban bloggers and the U.S.
    media, particularly The New York Times - the latest in a series of
    official articles criticizing the American press.

    "In an era where newspapers are filled with more lies than
    advertisements ... it is hard to tell who got the president so worked
    up, the New York Times or an adviser on the National Security Council,"
    it said.

    Granma also carried an article denouncing The Wall Street Journal for an
    editorial that drew parallels between Cuba and Egypt, where a popular
    uprising forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down. Cuba has
    been led by brothers Fidel and Raul Castro since 1959.

    The article said the newspaper's "image of sobriety and power cannot
    hide fanaticism and hate."

    The articles come days after Cuban media lashed out at CNN's
    Spanish-language network for reporting that an opposition demonstration
    was going to take place in Havana. The protest never occurred.

    Cuban state cable providers last month removed CNN's Spanish network
    from a package of channels provided mostly to hotels, foreign companies,
    and diplomats on the island, though no reason was given.

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