The Press That Disinforms / Ivan Garcia
Posted on March 18, 2014
For Castroist ideologues, the activists in Kiev and the Venezuelan
students are fascists, Kim Jong-un doesn’t traffic in weapons with
Havana, and Beyoncé never visited the Island.
There is an abysmal gap between everyday reality and the information
provided by a clueless official press.
News of the Castro regime’s blatant arms smuggling with North Korea, in
violation of the UN embargo against the Pyongyang dynasty, was never
reported in Granma, Juventud Rebelde, Workers, or any of the 15
provincial press organs.
To date, the boring and disoriented national media—print, radio and
television—have not reported on the space opened for dialogue with the
Catholic Church. Or about local news that has had national
repercussions, such as the protest in Havana by self-employed workers,
or the unusual walk of a nude woman in the city of Camagüey.
They also overlook less controversial topics, such as the visit to Cuba
of major leaguers Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin, or celebrities such
as Beyoncé and her rapper husband Jay Z.
Nor are they interested in letting their readers or viewers know that
Cuban artists and musicians living abroad are visiting the island and
performing, such as Isaac Delgado, Descemer Bueno, and Tanya, among others.
Thye are not willing to publish a single article analyzing the insane
prices of auto sales or internet services.
On international matters, the old trick is to tell only part of the
story. For those who only read the official media and do not have access
to other sources, the protesters in Ukraine, Venezuela, and Turkey are
terrorists and fascists.
The official Cuban media have never reported that the dictator Kim
Jong-un summarily executed his uncle. They have also remained silent
about the atrocities taking place in the concentration camps in North
Korea. And about the degrading treatment of women in Iran.
Newspaper space is usually filled by low-key commentaries on culture and
sports, television program notes, upbeat news about national
agricultural production, or the smooth progress of the economic reforms
dictated by Raul Castro and his advisers.
Apparently it is considered inappropriate to inform Cubans of the talks
between the Cuban-American sugar millionaire Alfonso Fanjul and Foreign
Minister Bruno Rodriguez. Nor is it believed desirable for ordinary
people to know that Antonio Castro, son of Fidel Castro, is playing in
Or that businessmen with bulging wallets recently paid $234,000 for a
handcrafted humidor filled with Montecristo cigars at the XVI Festival
del Habano, where the most famous guest was British singer Tom Jones.
Local information is governed by inflexible ideologues who presume that
behind the vaunted freedom of the press hides a “military operation of
the U.S. secret services.”
And they take this seriously. As if it were a matter of national
security. So the official journalists are soldiers of information.
For the Talibans of the Communist Party, the internet and social
networks are modern means of promoting capitalism from a distance. The
new times have caught them without many arguments. They claim to have
the truth, but they are afraid to let their citizens see for themselves.
The readings of certain information should be presented by the
magnanimous State. They think, and believe, that their naive compatriots
are not prepared for, nor sufficiently inoculated against, the
propagandistic poison of the world’s media.
Not even Raul Castro has managed to break the stubborn censorship and
habitual sluggishness of the official press. For years, Castro talked
about turning the press into something credible, entertaining, and
appealing. But nothing has changed.
For external consumption—by outsiders interested in Cuba and, above all,
two million exiles scattered around the world—they have opened official
websites and blogs, trying with their own voice to promote the illusion
of an opening.
For internal consumption, the soldiers of the word remain.
Translated by Tomás A.
From Diario de Cuba, 17 March 2014
Source: The Press That Disinforms / Ivan Garcia | Translating Cuba –