Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ex-diplomat: Bloggers threaten socialist regime

James Cason took charge of the U.S. mission in Havana in 2002 and in his first public appearance he blasted the Cuban government, calling it “an international deadbeat" - a “Freddie the freeloader” with a “Jurassic Park economy.”
Fidel Castro fired right back at Cason, calling him "a bully with diplomatic immunity." And anti-Cason banners were soon hanging within sight of the U.S. Interests Section.
I interviewed James Cason the other day for a story that appears in this month's edition of CubaNews. He told me Cuban bloggers threaten the Cuban government's grip on information. He said:
Bloggers are dangerous. The whole idea of a dictatorship is that you have to control the flow of information. But bloggers are finding ways to communicate. The Cuban government is extremely afraid of them.
A senior Cuban official denied that the Castro regime worries about information from abroad. He said:
We’re already vaccinated against that.
Millions of foreign tourists — including hundreds of thousands of Americans — have visited Cuba in the past decade, and the government hasn’t fallen, the official said on condition of anonymity.

I was interested in talking to James Cason because he has a new job. He is now president of the Center for a Free Cuba. My full interview with him is below, or here in a PDF.

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