Cuba, through rose-colored lenses
Cuba, through rose-colored lenses
Official media fail to show the reality of today’s Cuba
No dissenting voices or complaints allowed
Not worthy of calling itself ‘the press’
BY YOANI SÁNCHEZ
Sometimes I wish I lived in the country they show on television. This
hopeful nation of rose-colored dreams presented by the official press. A
place of props and slogans, where factory production exceeds goals and
employees are declared “workplace heroes.” In this Cuba, bouncing off
the antennas to reach our small screens, there is no room for sickness,
pain, frustration or impatience.
The official Cuban press has tried to approach the country’s reality in
recent years. Several young faces appear on TV programs to report on
administrative negligence, poor services or consumer complaints about
bureaucratic paperwork. But even still, state journalism continues to be
a long way from objectivity and respect for the truth.
Television, radio and newspapers are maintained under strict monopoly of
the Communist Party, and not only because they are ideologically
subordinated, but also because they are financed from the state coffers
— money that belongs to all Cubans — money that they use to sustain a
biased editorial line that does not reflect the national complexity.
The topics covered by the journalists of this partisan press represent
the interests of an ideology and a group in power, not of the entire
country. They never dare, for example, in their reporting, to question
the authorities, nor the current political system, nor the organs of
State Security nor the activities of the police, among other taboo subjects.
However, where the official press most betrays the precepts of balance
and impartial information is in the testimonies they broadcast, in the
voices they give space to and the opinions they express. By the grace of
journalistic censorship, access to the microphone is granted only to
those who agree with the government and applaud the actions of its leaders.
They never interview someone with a different opinion, or someone who
believes the country should take other political or economic paths.
Unanimity continues to fill the front pages and the news broadcasts,
although for a long time now loud dissent has been heard on buses, in
stores, in the hallways of institutions and even in classrooms.
At the beginning of this year an avalanche of reports filled the
television broadcasts. The protagonists were young people who claimed to
live “in the best of all possible worlds,” smiling with confidence in
their future and not even dreaming of emigration. Not included among the
opinions were those from anyone in the process of leaving Cuba, or
feeling frustrated by their professional prospects, or submerging
themselves in illegalities to survive.
In the almost 70,000 hours of annual television broadcasts not a single
self-employed person complains about their high taxes. Parents who fear
the growing violence in Cuban streets are never encountered in the Cuban
media, and women beaten by their husbands don’t appear demanding legal
measures to protect them from the abuse.
The teachers whose pay doesn’t allow them to live a decent life find no
echo of their demands in the media, nor do dissidents appear to demand
respect for their opinions. An inmate denouncing bad prison conditions
has no chance to appear before the cameras, nor do the patients who have
been victims of medical ethics violations or bad treatment in the Public
This entire area of Cuba, the widest area, remains outside the
authorized media. Because the official Cuban press doesn’t exercise
journalism, rather it proselytizes.
Although it is made up of many professionals with university and
post-graduate degrees, they do not have the freedom to engage in the
work of reporting. Instead of looking for the truth, they try to impose
an opinion. What they do cannot even call itself “the press.”
Yoani Sánchez is a prominent blogger and independent journalist in Cuba.
Source: Cuba, through rose-colored lenses | Miami Herald –
Leave a Reply