Who Can We Ask?
Who Can We Ask?
October 13, 2012
People buy newspapers but usually do so only by inertia, because day
after day they won't find anything of interest in them. Photo:Caridad
HAVANA TIMES — For people like me who enjoy writing, we also like it
when others read our work. But this isn't enough. What's written must
reach the receptive ears of those who, in addition to reading it, have
the social responsibility of retransmitting what they've read.
Undoubtedly, these are our mass media, our national press in particular.
In a recent article, "Some Challenges Facing Cuba's Press," I wrote
about how useful it would be if our press felt allied with the many
revolutionary intellectuals in Cuba who write, those who — while
upholding their responsibilities — are also critical when it come to the
multiple issues facing us as a people.
We know it isn't easy for our press — accustomed to writing only about
what they're allowed — to use sources that make critical analyses, such
as those reflected in many articles circulating on the Internet.
They would need more than a little courage to defend such articles
before their censures. Notwithstanding, the revolutionary consciousness
of each of them would remain at peace and intact in doing so. This is
because our journalists are pro-revolution, and in presenting these
critiques they would be fulfilling their duty, which isn't simply
publishing what they're authorized to print.
We're not asking them to be irresponsible or to ignore the management of
whatever newspaper in question; rather, they simply need to be a little
more of themselves. They need to demand that they themselves act as the
press and not the bureaucracy that currently controls them.
As Jorge Gomez Barata expressed so well, "The problem is not the
journalists, but the structure." I would add that there is a lack of a
model for the press, given that the one presently being followed no
longer corresponds to the times in which we live – and much less to the
requirements of the ideological battle being waged today through the
Although the national press refuses to publish our work, which is only
reflected on the Internet, I think we should still send all of the
writings to the national press. I say this because things can change in
our country and we mustn't give anyone the opportunity to say that we
never came up with proposals and alternatives.
Therefore we are declaring the need for an offensive with the national
and provincial press: We need to send them articles. We need to do this
tirelessly, regardless if we don't think they're going to be published.
We need to send those articles until they're overwhelmed, until one day
they become convinced that the journalism they practice can be improved
if they take us into account.
This is because our press is unquestionably losing the battle with
unofficial journalism, which better reflects reality and does so in a
manner that's more attractive, respectful of reality and doesn't make
concessions to dogmatism, apology or bureaucratic control.
Our press is satisfied with putting information on the table for a
people who for more than 50 years have advanced tremendously, acquiring
levels of education and culture that make them distinctly dissatisfied
with what they receive from our current press, radio and television.
What is clearly being seen is the displacement that is increasingly
occurring in the areas of video production, the Internet, and foreign
radio broadcasts, a consequence of our poor television production and
Observing our television programming we are able to perceive the abysmal
imbalance between what is received from external sources (including US
television) and our poor domestic production.
At the same time, we must not stop asking our press why it doesn't
publish articles about certain things. In a direct manner, we need to
grill them about this so that they feel guilty when people are waiting
for and expecting information while those news professionals remain silent.
They need to feel tormented by the fact that people buy newspapers but
usually do so only by inertia, because day after day they won't find
anything of interest in them.
What ever happened to the underwater cable from Venezuela that they
promised would so greatly improve our internet situation? Why are they
taking so long without reporting on the corruption trials?
How is it that our foreign minister gave an interview on the issue of
relations with the Cuban émigrés and our press didn't publish anything?
Why do we have to follow the corruption case surrounding Chilean
entrepreneur Max Marambio in the foreign press?
Why hasn't there been any information about what happened to the deputy
from Las Tunas who was protesting cuts in education?
Why did they publish such a ridiculous article recently reporting that
there was cholera in Cuba?
In fact, when I wrote my first article about corruption ("Corruption:
The True Counterrevolution?," in April 2010), I had an astounding
experience. It allowed me to completely understand that if we want to
continue being revolutionary during this turbulent stage of our country,
"we need to fight our own war, fight our own battles and take the risk
that they will come down on us."
Otherwise we can stay at home every day, or hide under the bed for even
It wasn't easy. There were stupid statements made — and not just any old
stupidities —accusing me of "throwing something into the ring that the
party wanted to keep secret" and said that I had "wrote something that
wasn't consistent with the status of a party member" or that I had
"taken a dump" on the party with what I wrote.
Some people said I was "giving arms to the enemy for them to attack the
revolution." This went on to the point of word spreading that the author
had turned into a dissident. Some even were worried that I could fill
the gap in the lack of leadership to internal dissent.
Fortunately, into this debate stepped the general/president, who was
already talking about those same issues and had previously said that
"corruption is equivalent to counterrevolution." More recently, our
national comptroller said, "Corruption is one of the most dangerous
forms of counterrevolution."
Where are all those not-so-sharp individuals sticking their faces now?
…those who were most interested in not asking for trouble so as to help
save the country from an issue affecting its national security?
Therefore there's nothing to fear. What we need to be convinced of is
whether or not we are contributing to the revolution, and that we are
not alone in those battles.
The problem is that when our media doesn't report on what is happening
domestically, the people remain ignorant as to what's occurring in their
own country. What's more, those supporters of the revolution (whether
intellectuals or not) who want to defend the revolution find themselves
at a disadvantage in the face of those who attack the revolution, as
they're left looking like true "fools" due to their lack of information.
As far as we know, (if it's not pure demagoguery, and I'm confident that
it isn't) the media in Cuba is not anyone's private property.
(*) Visit Esteban Morales's blog (in Spanish).