El discurso de Bush
The truth about Varela
(Editor’s Note: This commentary appeared in El Nuevo Herald columnist Alejandro
Armengol’s blog this past Saturday, November 25, after the unfortunate incident
at The Miami Herald building in Miami where a colleague and freelance
cartoonist, Jose Varela, of the Spanish daily took over the building with
threats of violence during a tense three hours on Friday, November 24. Progreso
Weekly decided to publish the piece because it gives us a better picture about
what is really happening at the beleaguered newspaper. The original note in
Spanish appears in Progreso Semanal.)
More than the sadness over the emotional crisis of my colleague, José Varela, I
am disturbed over the manipulation of the case by certain radio and TV
commentators and journalists in Miami.
They have tried to establish a link between the desperate and irrational action
committed by Varela -- to lock himself up in the office of the El Nuevo Herald
editor for several hours and to demand his [the El Nuevo editor's] resignation
and that of the editor of The Miami Herald -- and the events that occurred in
both papers during the past few months.
The reasons, concerns and even obsessions of Varela go beyond the case of the
journalists of El Nuevo Herald and Radio Marti, a mistaken phrase by the
director of The Miami Herald and the tense relationship between both dailies.
Far beyond the personal emotional factors, it is possible that these events
precipitated or shaped, in some details, the action of the cartoonist. It is
also true that in his exchanges during his lock-up in El Nuevo Herald there was
reference to these events.
That is not the case, however. It leads me to conclude that the action committed
by Varela was a call to limited attention to his awareness of the treatment of
the Cuban subject by the two
journalists and a protest in favor of the points of view of those who consider
that criticisms of a certain sector of the exiles are, in fact, attacks on the
The opposite is the truth. Varela always fought for an increase in criticisms of
the established powers in the Miami exiles, to local and national policies,
against the opinion that terrorists here are considered patriotic and the
organizations that say they are fighting for a change in Cuba when, in truth,
they milk the anti-Castro cow.
I have a long email message Varela sent me on June 26 this year related to my
column. Because of the humor in El Nuevo Herald, where he talks of the facile
criticism to which he never submitted. He lists the subjects he would want to
touch upon frequently and complains of the problems of censorship. As usually
occurs, I agree with him on some points and not on others. This is not important
now. What should be noted, what tormented the cartoonist, was not
criticism of the so-called "historic exile" but the complete opposite.
Varela writes in his message: "But one thing I promise" I'm not going to end up
drawing Fidel with fangs over an island covered by skeletons, nor triumphant
exiles applauding the current president.
Now manipulation is mixed with ignorance from the radio listeners of Radio Marti
to the journalists of The New York Times who want to see it all as a problem of
biased coverage of The Miami Herald against Cuban Americans.
In addition to his talent, Varela is an honest man who is now going through a
very difficult period and deserves our support. His case should not be used in
favor of quarrels and reproach.
CubaNews translation by Ana Portela.
Edited by Walter Lippmann