The Most Boring Program on Cuban Television

Yoani Sanchez – Award-winning Cuban

The Most Boring Program on Cuban Television

Posted: 09/21/2012 3:37 pm

Few TV shows have been the object of as many jokes and parodies as the

Roundtable. Emerging from the heat of the so-called Battle of Ideas,

this program shows the highest level of political proselytizing to be

found in our national media. Its fundamental principal is to overwhelm

the television audience with official opinion, without allowing access

for contrary or critical views. To denigrate the nonconformists, with no

right to respond, is among the most repeated tactics at the microphones

of this incredibly boring broadcast. Everything is based on the premise

that we live in "paradise" while the rest of the world is falling apart

all around us.

As of September 10, the Roundtable has reduced its "on air" time by half

an hour. It has also modernized its set and even seems to have added a

brand new iPad for the exclusive use of the moderator. The camera angles

are bolder and some of its chubby participants have been put on diets.

They hope, with these tweaks, to add something of modernity to what was

covered with the thick dust of the anachronistic. However, the main

precepts governing the program remain intact. The most obvious is the

absence of plurality and the resulting monotony that results when

everyone thinks alike. And, a great contradiction, this kind of rubbish

pays its journalists the highest salaries known in the Cuban Institute

of Radio and Television (ICRT).

My words on this program, however, may be too influenced by the work I

also do in the information field. I will illustrate the opinion many

Cubans have with a recent anecdote. A little while ago, a friend was

outside a station demanding the release of an activist who had

been arbitrarily detained. Her cellphone rang and it was her father

calling. He was afraid because his neighbor had told him that his

daughter was mixed up with "dissidents." In the heat of the situation,

my friend only managed to answer, "Papi, I already told you, don't watch

the Roundtable any more!" This simple phrase accentuates the gulf

between our national reality and the script of this televised soapbox.

She was telling her father that he continued to believe in a Cuba that

doesn't exist, a country where no arrests happen outside the law, there

are no police threats, no repudiation rallies. An apocryphal nation that

only exists from Monday through Friday, for one hour… on our small screen.

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