If there are two things that inspire me it’s a ramped up, over-the-top, scurrilous AP story about democracy promotion and a Broadway musical–especially a Rodgers and Hammerstein production, writes Christopher Sabatini, editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly and senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas:
So, here is my adaptation of the classic Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things,” based on the recent series of articles published by AP on USAID’s democracy program in Cuba. The non-bracketed, italicized parts are sung to the music of “My Favorite Things.”
Calling USAID agents,
when they’re just bureaucrats.
[As in the Zun Zuneo story, where it refers to “agents of the US government, working in deep secrecy..” USAID officers are not agents. They may be poorly dressed, overly earnest bureaucrats. But agents? No one describes them that way--except AP.]….
Referring to Gross,
on a top “secret mission.”
These are a few of my favorite words!
When deadline calls,
when the editor barks,
when I’m feeling down,
I simply pull out,
some of my favorite words,
and then I don’t feel so…bad.
when sent would be better.
[As in the first sentence of the August 4 AP story which says that the U.S. agency “deployed” Latin American youth to “work undercover” when they hadn’t been trained in the dangers of “clandestine operations.” You deploy the military; I’m not sure you deploy activists to an island by sending them there. But wow, that sounds great, doesn’t it? They’ve definitely deployed a great verb. I bet it was those “agent” ideas to do that.]
and “guise” and “recruitment.”
[In the August story, the authors claim that Costa Rican and Venezuelan activists had an “assignment” to “recruit” Cubans for “anti-government activism” under the “guise of civic programs” with “security codes.” Unfortunately, all the quotes above are mine, not APs, indicating that this inflammatory language was not in the actual documents they FOIA’d, leading one to conclude that they must have come from the AP reporters‘ fevered creative writing. Sweet!]
Referring to activists,
by calling them “operatives.”
[…Several times the August 4 article describes the people USAID sent to Cuba who were working for NGOs as “operatives” for no apparent reason--though at one point it says they “posed as tourists” (please see my last blog post on that.)]…..
[In the August 4 report, there are also other sloppily used terms like “bankrolling” (why not funding, except for the fact that bankrolling sounds illicit?), “blowing their mission” or the description that the HIV workshops were “supposed to offer straightforward sex education.” [emphasis mine] or that the workshops were a “recruiting ground” for “ginning up opposition” or “stirring unrest.” Democracy programs the world over work with community groups to help them gain civic tools and experience; that doesn’t make them subversive, just useful.]….