Even the most powerful systems of propaganda inadvertently allow uncomfortable truths to slip out into the public domain. Consider a recent BBC News interview following the death of Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro. Dr Denise Baden, Associate Professor in Business Ethics at the University of Southampton, who has studied Castro’s leadership and Cuban business models, was asked by BBC News presenter Justine Mawhinney for her views on Cuba and Castro. It’s fair to say that Baden’s responses didn’t follow the standard establishment line echoed and amplified in much of the ‘mainstream’ media.
Mawhinney kicked off the interview with the standard Western propaganda line about Castro:
He ruled with an iron fist, didn’t he?
Baden immediately challenged the cliché:
Well, that’s something that everyone’s fond of saying. But when I talk to the people who live in Cuba, and the Cubans who’ve come to live in the UK, that’s not the story that I get. The feeling that comes through is of Fidel Castro almost as a father figure. So, the older generation tend to see him as a hero of the revolution. They’re aware that many of them wouldn’t even be here if it wouldn’t have been for the health advances and the equalisation of resources that he provided.