Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES – Over 2,400 years ago, Greek philosopher and playwright Aeschylus said that truth is the first casualty in war. Of course he was referring to unjust, immoral, unethical wars that lack any humanity. Wars that defend a just cause, national sovereignty under attack, have no reason to hide the truth because, like Jose Marti himself said: “One just principle from the depths of a cave is more powerful than an army.”
However, the absence of truth, and going one step further, repeating lies so as to change attitudes of the masses, isn’t only used in warfare. Lies are also used in politics (I’m referring to Capitalism’s dirty politics) as a powerful weapon to morally discredit the adversary and to reap the resulting political returns.
Smear campaigns have become the most efficient way to achieve political results in recent times, both here in Cuba and internationally.
However, it isn’t just a question of telling lies so that recipients believe them, they are now also taking advantage of scientific advances in the media fabricating fake news, using details which might make anyone who hasn’t been informed properly of what’s going on end up confused and believe what they watch on TV, as if they had been there themselves.
The history of lies and fabricated stories goes way back, with unprincipled governments, but I will only mention the most recent.
Everybody knows the story about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which never turned up. However, the country was invaded, thousands of lives were lost and a government was overturned, which was this war’s main objective.
More recently, chemical attacks were fabricated in Syria to blame the government, as part of the dirty war that has been waged against Bashar al Assad’s government for over seven years, aiming to overturn this government and bring in an undemocratic regime.
In Latin America, wars of lies are becoming more and more shameless. Nearly every Leftist or progressive leader has been accused of corruption, without any evidence and the collusion of these countries’ respective judiciaries, turning it into a real witchhunt or a modern take on Operation Condor, to take out anyone with a single trace of the Left or progressivism.
Dilma Rousseff, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Cristina Fernandez and Rafael Correa, including some of their closest collaborators, have fallen victim to this plan orchestrated by the international Right and Imperialism.
In the recent political campaign in the run-up to Brazil’s general elections, Jair Bolsonaro, who didn’t present a serious plan for government, dedicated himself to fabricating lies about the Workers’ Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, to discredit him and as we know, a great number of voters were deceived by his lies and didn’t go to the polls or voted against Haddad.
Fabricated videos have been circulating against the leaders of Venezuela and Nicaragua, accusing both of these governments of taking violent action against a peaceful people, when nothing could be further from the truth: armed groups receiving funding from abroad and colluding with national oligarchies are the ones responsible for these violent events.
A video has been circulating in Venezuela which shows alleged militarymen in revolt inside a home, which is surrounded by other militarymen and when those in the house come out with a white flag and surrender, they are massacred, including a pregnant woman, and this was all filmed and published on socia media. Then, President Nicolas Maduro appears on TV giving military decorations to those who carried out this atrocious act. It’s the clumsiest lie you could watch. This has clearly been made and filmed to trick the gullible and politically ignorant, but they don’t stand up under the slightest intelligent analysis.
In Nicaragua, another fabricated video has been published where the military appear entering a university and shooting students. The president and military leaders would have to be really stupid to do such a thing, and this has also been filmed to be published.
Fake news about a wide range of topics are constantly being spread about Cuba, about its political prisoners, repression, human rights violations, to name a few, which try to discredit the island’s revolutionary government. This is because lies have become a powerful political weapon.