The Lying Cuban Press / Cubanet, Victor Manuel Dominguez
Posted on April 3, 2015
Montonous, grey, controlled, censored, demagogic, jingoistic, for more
than half a century as spokesperson for phantom successes
Cubanet.org, Victor Manuel Dominguez, Havana, 31 March 2015 (Cuba
Sindical) – The “Revolutionary” Cuban press, characterized as demagogic,
monotonous, manipulative, with a grey design, poor quality paper,
without stylistic and conceptual diversity, born of the mortal remains
of a free press that was censored and later banned from the inception of
Always under state control, the role of spokesperson of governmental
policy and ideology, the lack of objectivity is required, and the
omission or disguising of what really is happening in the country. Faced
with its pathetic role, several Cubans talked about censorship, rumors
and secrecy in the national press.
“Still, we are lucky that we are not sentenced to jail for wiping our
backsides with the image of Marx, Mao, Stalin, or the victorious face of
a leader of the country on a first page, like the followers of Kim Il
Sung used to be in Pyongyang,” Ernesto Penalver said ironically.
The former graphics worker for the newspaper Avance, the first media
outlet closed by the revolution (1-19-1960), Penalver, at 75 years of
age, resells newspapers in order to live. “Occupational hazard, sir. I
cannot help but make the rounds. Although now I do it clandestinely and
through the back door,” he said.
According to the septuagenarian typesetter, since the imposition by the
Cuban authorities of “The Tagline” (12-27-59), a kind of opinion by the
graphics workers who refuted, under each article, the supposed attacks
against the Revolution, the end of press freedom that was seen coming.
“We did not write anything. The old communist agitators dictated and
imposed it. After Avance, El Pais, El Mundo and the radio and television
states CMQ were grouped together on March 31, 1960, into the Independent
Front of Free Broadcasters (FIEL).
The unfortunate FIEL was the beginning of the end. Later would fall
Diario de la Marina and the magazines Bohemia, Carteles and Vanidades,
all with quality, without ideological restrictions, with diverse
information, added Penalver. “In that year there was not a monkey with a
brain in the press who would oppose Fidel. It was over.”
After getting up between five and six in the morning, Penalver says, he
takes a swallow of coffee (if there is any), a bowl of Cerelac, if there
is any left, and washes with stored water and unscented soap. Then he
joins dozens of old people who stand in lines in order to buy and resell
today’s national press.
“In Cuba we have good journalists, said a young woman who said she is
named Isel. The only thing is that they are tied hand and foot, and
above all, they are castrated of their opinion. Whoever steps out of the
official line will never write a line in Cuba. At least in the national
press. And examples abound to illustrate this point.
According to the young woman, the role of journalist hero and villain
from the daily Granma in Santiago de Cuba, Jose Antonio Torres, first
praised by Raul Castro in the newspaper itself and then accused as a spy
and sentenced to 14 years in prison, is more than sufficient to
discourage any kind of objectivity that questions the interests of the
Communist Party and the revolution.
A worker from Water and Sewer Works who is tearing up Escobar Street
from San Rafael to Malecon, asked if he likes the Cuban press, said, “I
read between the lines. The truth is the opposite of what is said here.
But, friend, what will I carry bread in or what are the kids at home
going to use for whatever?”
Likewise, a lady who was buying the Cartelera supplement, with
information about the month’s artistic events, said: “This is among the
little that can be believed. Although sometimes you get to an exhibit or
a theater, and the program is completely different. But at least it can
Later, regarding a question about the objectivity of the national press,
she added, “Can print, television or radio press be believable when it
talks about over fulfillments, advances, achievements, when the reality
is inversely proportional to the report they give, as happens every day
in this country?”
Also, she added, that hidden, almost non-existent, are the data about
rates of violence in the country, the levels of drug use and
prostitution, the alcoholism, thefts, some diseases, government
corruption, other reports that could serve as a warning about the
Another lady, who came from a battle royal to buy some potatoes at a
Belascoain farmers market, said, “They don’t even blush when they talk
about the victorious deployment of the potato harvest, knowing that
people and they themselves have to fight and it’s not enough or to buy
it from outside, from the scalpers, at two dollars a kilo. They are
In accord with many of those who spoke about the topic, the most read
parts of the national press are the daily Juventud Rebelde’s complaints
and suggestions section, Acuse de Recibo, and Granma’s letters to the
editor, for being a kind of wall of lamentations where the people
complain although nothing is resolved.
In these sections – a typical reservoir of calamities – are read
complaints about mistreatment, dumps, collapses, blockages, withholding
of wages, evictions, unfair penalties, illegal expulsion, lack of
medicine, rallies, negligence, lack of control, corruption and fraud,
among thousands of other acts that afflict the country’s citizens and
are endemic within the Revolution.
Beyond publishing these bouts of complaint, only without solving them
although the respective entities should respond to the people’s demands,
Cuban journalists devote themselves to praising the phantom successes of
the Revolution, and to pointing out the speck in the foreign eye of
other nations at an international level, all the better if they are not
members of ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America),
CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) or CARICOM
Thus the press in Cuba, according to popular opinion, only serves for
wrapping trash, plugging holes, stuffing mattresses, and, above all, as
toilet paper in hospitals, recreation centers, work places, sports
centers, schools, bus stations and homes. And maybe someone can read it
from time to time.
About the Author
Victor Manuel Dominguez. Independent journalist. He resides in Havana,
Translated by MLK
Source: The Lying Cuban Press / Cubanet, Victor Manuel Dominguez |
Translating Cuba –
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