Good to see the BBC still has a vintage Cold War reporter, alive and well and living in Cuba. Peddling politics, wrapped up as animal stories for the silly season, is as old as the hills. Now the BBC's Michael Voss in Havana is at it, with a story about Havana zoo swapping animals for vet equipment with Venezuela.
Exactly the same story that has been kicking around for a week. Only the BBC chose to put it on the front page of their morning on-line news page - along with a stock PA picture of a cute baby giraffe.
The report can't resist slipping in a few political comments. (The bits not about animals are in italics):
"Havana zoo boasts one of the best collections in the Americas, partly due to Cuba's military roles in Africa. In the 1970s, tens of thousands of troops fought in independence wars on the continent. The zoo has an impressive breeding record, with 700 zebras and 300 lions having been born in their confines and subsequently exported. The animals are due to be sent by air freight to Venezuela next month. The two countries have a close relationship, with Cuba paying for Venezuelan oil imports with doctors and health workers."
What next, monkeys and missile-bases? This style of political spin is as old as Graham Greene.
Maybe the BBC's Man in Havana has been on too many daiquiris.