Wednesday October 21, 2015
Fox News (10/14/15) reported last week that Cuba has sent Gen. Leopoldo Cintra Frias and hundreds of troops to Syria to assist the Russian and Assad governments in “operating Russian tanks.” This explosive claim was soon echoed by James Bloodworth in the Daily Beast (10/16/15) and subsequently spread widely on social media.
A Cuban troop presence in Syria would be a blockbuster story indeed—undermining the easing of tensions between Cuba and the United States while serving as a huge embarrassment for the Obama administration, which has spent much political capital restoring relations with the socialist island nation. There’s only one problem: The story is looking increasingly bunk.
Of course, it’s impossible to ever prove a negative: One cannot prove there are no Cuban soldiers in Syria, any more than one can prove there are not any members of the San Antonio Police Department or Nepalese Army there. Thus far, though, we have about as much evidence of those two scenarios as we do that Cuban military are helping out the Assad government with tanks.
Two days after the initial Fox News report, putative socialist James Bloodworth, who’s made something of a career of browbeating enemies of American and British foreign policy under the guise of Real Socialism™, jumped at the chance to do what both he and the Daily Beast do best: hyping America and Britain’s war effort in Syria by bashing its opposition in tabloid tones.