Saturday, February 23, 2013

Note to readers

Bloggers around the world write more than 4 million posts a day, almost 50 per second.
My post on Friday, floating in all that digital noise, caught the attention of Mauricio Claver-Carone, creator of the Capitol Hill Cubans blog.
Mauricio Claver-Carone
He noticed that my post, "Doctor now flying under the radar," was linked to the weekly "news blast" of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, or CDA, which seeks alternatives to U.S. restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba.
CDA staffers wrote on Feb. 8 - and again on Friday - that I am working with the non-profit organization. And Claver-Carone said I should point out that fact to readers of Along the Malecón.
He's absolutely right.
I had cited my new association with the CDA in an updated bio earlier this month, but it deserves a few words here, too.
I am writing a series of articles and sharing them with the CDA as part of a six-month experimental collaborative project with the group.

CDA staffers and I share some common ground. I have questions about U.S. policy toward Cuba. I believe that if we can have normal relations with China and Vietnam, then we can normalize relations with Cuba. I think the CDA would probably agree with me on that.
We disagree on some points, too, but we choose to focus on our common ground.
The debate over the fate of Cuba is passionate and polarized. I have never set out to be on one side or the other. I value tolerance and understanding over name-calling and personal attacks. I tried to get across that idea in 2008 when I started this blog with these words:
The Malecón is the famed avenue stretching for more than four miles along Havana's seawall. People go there every day: Blacks, whites and mulattoes - people of every hue. Young and old, they all go, die-hard revolutionaries and those who are fed up with the revolution. They take in the ocean air, dance and look for romance. They sip rum and stare at the water.
This blog - not right, not left, but wedged somewhere in between - is dedicated to the Malecón and the people who go there to escape and to dream, if only for a few hours.
Since then, I've written about a range of topics, from the legal troubles of Luis Posada Carriles to Cuban government abuse of dissidents and bloggers.
Lately, I have been focusing on U.S. government-financed Cuba programs and the democracy movement in Cuba.
Las Damas de Blanco
My goal is to produce stories based on facts, documents, interviews and expert analysis.
I care about accuracy and reporting the truth. I am committed to correcting factual errors in blog posts and stories and make any fixes when mistakes crop up.
I reach out and listen to people of all political persuasions on both sides of the Florida Straits.
José Daniel Ferrer
I report on the plight of democracy activists who are struggling to bring change to Cuba, including José Daniel Ferrer, right, and others I quoted in this January 2013 article published in USA Today.
Just because I have some criticisms of U.S. policy toward Cuba doesn't mean I endorse the socialist government.
That said, I try to keep my opinions in check if they ever interfere with my ability to produce an even-handed story. Author and editor Robert Niles said:
Advocacy is not the antonym of objectivity. Objectivity is the goal of accounting for your own biases when observing of an external reality, so that your report accurately reflects that reality.
Not all readers may keep these distinctions in mind, but they are vital to the way I go about my work.

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