Wikileaks: Own Goal in Switzerland and Silence in Havana
Michael Parmly, interviewed by “Le Temps”
Nyon is a small town in Switzerland, north of Geneva. Although Nyon has quite an ancient history—it is said to have been founded by the Romans—its contemporary fame is linked to the fact that the town hosts the Union of European Football Associations, the famed UEFA, which organizes the European Football Cup. Talking in football-related terms, the Swiss locality with barely 17 000 inhabitants has been the field for the own goal of US diplomacy.
It happens that Nyon has been the place chosen to live in by one of the authors of the documents exposed by Wikileaks, Mr.Michael Parmly, ex-chief of the US Interest Section in Cuba. A biographic profile, published by the US administration does not link Parmly to football, though it does contain other interesting information that places him, in key moments, at places where very interesting developments for the United States have occurred. For instance, from February through May 2003, Mr. Parmly worked as the representative of the US Department of State in Kandahar, Afghanistan; and from 1987 through 1989, he was political counselor in Rumania.
Needless to say that both countries were experiencing, during Parmly stay, what the United States call a “change of regime,” precisely what the neighbor to the North (USA) proclaimed as its official policy towards Cuba during the times that the current resident of Nyon lived in Havana. The retired diplomat is now being described as professor of National Security studies at the National War College, specialized in “post-conflict” situations, what may explain his obsession about the future of Cuba as expressed in the cables he sent from Havana and which he revealed in an interview with the Miami Herald newspaper, upon his arrival in Havana on December 25, 2005, when he affirmed: “My interest is the future.”
We do not know if it was due to his conceit, arrogance or because he says that he believes in “nitpicking” that Michael Parmly came out on the field of Nyon to add an own goal to the already battered goalkeeper at the Department of State. The fact is that during an interview with Switzerland’s Le Temps daily Mr. Parmly said that he “would get very upset if the numerous conversations he has had with blogger Yoani Sanchez were published.” Again, we have to look at the biography of the former diplomat to find out that he concluded his work in Cuba in July 2008, just the beginning of the overwhelming collection of prizes by Ms. Sanchez; however, the top US representative in Cuba found enough time to have “numerous conversations” with the blogger. This is also about secret meetings because neither Parmly nor his interlocutor—who allegedly defends transparent information and independent journalism, the reason for having been granted fifteen international prizes—want these contacts to be exposed.
Some days after this revelation occurred, Yoani Sanchez has kept silence and, as it has also happened about her meeting with Under-secretary of State Bisa Williams described in a cable also published by Wikileaks – none of the foreign media accredited in Cuba, which many times have worked as amplifiers of commas and semicolons written by the celebrated blogger, has reported this issue. I wonder if this happens because, like the former chief of the US Interest Section in Havana, they have also held “numerous conversations” with the famed personality that has left them behind in terms of number of prizes, money and even access to US officials, including President Obama.
Surely, after having reading all this and bearing in mind Parmly´s CV, some will recall that the Swiss town in the heart of Europe, its controversial neutrality policy, its financial institutions and its condition of being the host to some UN agencies have favored its use in the movies and literature as scenario for detective stories. By mere chance, it was Switzerland the country where Yoani Sanchez lived after she migrated from Cuba for economic reasons, according to her own statements on her blog´s profile. However, I would like to link this unfinished event to William Tell, the legend taken to the stage by Friedrich Schiller, in which a Swiss patriot saves the life of his son by throwing an arrow through an apple placed on the head of the boy. Actually, by residing in Switzerland has not favored Mr. Parmly´s shot, whose “nitpicking” has driven him to score own goals in the place guarded with increasing effort by its former chiefs and stick the arrow in the heart of the credibility of this puppet, whose “interest in the future” tried to raise in Havana.
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La verdad será conocida.