|News media estimates of Cubans bidding farewell to Fidel Castro range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, including these mourners wending their way to the Plaza of the Revolution in Havana on Monday (AP photo).|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
The death of revolutionary Fidel Castro prompted Cuban-American Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and many others to express the hope the island is "a step closer to freedom," as an editorial in The Record put it.
Just which rights would be appropriate in Cuba beyond freedom of speech, of the press and other basic freedoms?
You wouldn't be free to call for the overthrow of the socialist government, which provides universal health care and education to 11 million island residents despite the crushing U.S. trade embargo dating to 1962.
And, god forbid, Cubans would be given the right to bear arms, and imitate Americans' propensity for gun violence, school shootings and other mass killings.
Cubans also don't deserve a two-party system poisoned by money (Menendez himself is facing trial on corruption charges), suppression of minority voters and white police officers shooting a large number of blacks.
Americans on the first flights from New York, Newark and Miami to Havana in more than 50 years will be vacationing in the safest major tourist destination in the Caribbean.
They'll enjoy Havana's unique paladares, restaurants of no more than 12 seats set up in private homes; great Afro-Cuban music, eco-tourism and much more on the 777-mile-long island.
They'll even be able to rent a car and drive to a cafe on a hill where they can use binoculars to look at the U.S. prison in the Guantanamo Bay naval base.
Readers of The Record today and Monday have plenty of time to speculate about Cuba's future in view of all of the "soft" news and ho-hum local news assembled by Gannett editors.
Today's front page has only one hard news story -- the attack on the campus of Ohio State University.
Monday's Page 1 had no hard news, just a couple of feature stories that would have been more appropriate on the Local front.
Plus, 1A carried another boring political column from so-called Washington Correspondent Herb Jackson, whose updated thumbnail photo still has him propping up his head.
Check out some of the headlines in the local-news section today and Monday:
to sum up
"Missing Florida dog
is found in Paterson"
"Englewood church rebounding after fire"
"2 towns consider sharing complex"
"Hasbrouck Heights set to license cats"
"North Bergen's Police Dept.
welcomes body armor grants"
Many of the local-news stories in The Record now are being written by reporters from the weekly papers owned by Gannett's North Jersey Media Group.
Generally, they are younger and have less experience than reporters for the Woodland Park daily, and the stories show that.