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Prison Diary LIV: The Uselessness of Cuban Journalism / Angel Santiesteban
Posted on September 6, 2013

The actor Roberto Albellar playing José Martí at the Congress of the
Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC)

On national television, with great fanfare and bombast, they present the
approaches of the IX Congress of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC),
the most useless group in the country, among the many unproductive
institutions on the Island, which, for more than half a century, has
bowed before the designs of the Castro dictatorship.

It’s not new that the news items are selected by the Ideological
Department of the Council of State, then are passed on to the newspapers
which publish them in their own way, according to the journalists that
write them. It is also known that for any spot to appear on TV, it has
to pass the censorship filter of the Commission that analyzes it,
sending it on the Ideological Department, and waiting for the response.

Each radio program in the country, has a consultant who is responsible
for reviewing the scripts and deciding what is acceptable to air and
what is not.

With regards to the publishers it’s the same, in fact, for my books
they’ve published they had to be award winners, they never accepted a
book from me that hadn’t won a prize, as for my rebellious literature…
but that’s another story.

I remember that with the writer and career journalist, Amir Valle, Tubal
Paez Hernandez, President of UPEC, rejected his membership for being
rebellious, and his testimonial book Havana-Babylon was snatched the
Casa de las Americas Prize for its content of social reporting, which is
supposed to be the main reason for being a journalist.

In the small spaces of “debate” in the IX UPEC Congress that have been
televised, it was a shame to see journalists as if they were recent
graduates, inexperienced yet feeling their way — and yet already with
gray hair — saying with apparent naiveté, “that the revolution needs a
more effective journalism, persuasive, aggressive.”

With these words, years ago, they were thrown out of their jobs without
recourse, for not being politically reliable, stopped in their
professional development, their social status deteriorating, along with
their ability to travel, their salary, etc, in short, the Cuban
“journalist” was crushed, humiliated, intimidated, made timid.

And now, to cover up these hard times, in this Congress they have been
allowed to say ridiculous things, like that the computers are archaic,
the Internet connection is inadequate, as if they were asking for
Christmas presents. They still don’t understand that they shouldn’t give
us anything, that our intellect should acquire what’s needed, that our
labor should be enough to earn us what belongs to us. But that will be
for a tenth Congress, that — with any luck — we will hold in freedom,
without a dictatorship, where we can, like journalists, writers,
bloggers, chroniclers, correspondents, say what our conscious demands.

Ángel Santiesteban
Prison 1580
July 2013 / Published in this blog on 6 September 2013

Source: “Prison Diary LIV: The Uselessness of Cuban Journalism / Angel
Santiesteban | Translating Cuba” –
http://translatingcuba.com/prison-diary-liv-the-uselessness-of-cuban-journalism-angel-santiesteban/

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