Recent “Along the Malecon” Musing is Stale, Predictable 6

By Chris Simmons

Tracey Eaton’s Thanksgiving Day post, “Alan Gross, A Soldier Left Behind” falls far short from some of his better pieces of investigative journalism – like his feature of Cuban spy Juan Pablo Roque.

For example, Eaton assigns sinister motives to a US AID program that shuttles Cuba dissidents to speaking events. Really? Havana sends diplomat-spies to speak at US-Cuba Sister City events and Eaton remains silent and yet he slanders a PUBLIC contract fostering open discussions on Cuba?

Eaton then quotes ad nauseam from expelled Cuban spy Josefina Vidal– who continues to serve under shallow cover as head of MINREX’s North America Division. One of her more laughable claims is ““The [US AID] programs…have an interventionist, hostile and destabilizing nature.” Given her own extensive credentials in interventionist, hostile and destabilizing activities, Eaton can fairly cite her as an expert source. However, an honest and objective article would have directly addressed Vidal’s career as a Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officer.

Eaton then extensive cites frequent Cuba traveler Phil Peters, a senior member of the Lexington Institute. Again, he omits some significant information. Most importantly that this organization was discredited years ago for writing flattering news stories on its corporate sponsors. Coverage on their money-for-stories approach can be found here: Analyst’s switch stirs tanker talk, and “Sherritt, Cuba, and the Cubanologist.”

With its extensive use of discredited sources and recycling of tired anti-US tirades, Eaton’s article reads more like regime-written propaganda rather than legitimate journalism. We expect and, quite frankly, deserve better from an award-winning writer like Tracey Eaton.



  1. I appreciate the feedback, Chris. I am working on other journalism projects that will have a greater diversity of opinion, something that I readiily concede the Alan Gross piece lacked. Thanks for reading Along the Malecon.

  2. Alan Gross a “Soldier”? He did not abide by only giving name, rank and serial number when arrested but proceeded to denounce the U.S. government in a futile attempt to receive a light sentence. Gross and his wife then sued the U.S. government for millions of dollars. His actions have all the ear-markings of a mercenary without national loyalty. Gross has dual Israeli citizenship but Israel has not spoken out on his behalf. His pathetic “woe-is-me” whining contrasts the dignity and fortitude of Cuban political prisoners like Mario Chanes who spent 30 years as a plantado. Gross owes the United States an apology for his treasonous behavior. Eaton’s propagandist bias serves as his passport to visit the island, otherwise he would be banned as were Tad Szulc and his daughter. That partisan reporting is what led to Eaton’s downfall from Havana bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News to freelance writer and blogger.

  3. Pingback: Stale and Predictable musings on Cuba from an American journalist | Babalú Blog

  4. Antonio – Your information is not accurate. I left Havana after the Morning News closed the bureau. I remained with the Morning News as a correspondent along the U.S.-Mexico border, then moved by choice to the Houston Chronicle, where I worked as an editor and earned a higher salary. Later I left daily journalism and became a college professor. I don’t consider that a “downfall.” I wanted a change after spending 24 years working for newspapers. These days, writing is something I do in my spare time.

  5. Mr. Eaton: You earned a higher salary after leaving the Havana bureau? On Oct. 21, 2008 you posted on your blog: “I credit Antonio De la Cova for his dedication, although at the moment I don’t have $59.95 for his book, which is why I’m reading pieces of it online.”
    That is an indication of a major economic downfall when an “editor” and “college professor” cannot afford to buy a $59.95 book.

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