HAVANA TIMES — Following the conclusion of the 9th Congress of the Cuban Journalists Association (UPEC), all Cuban alternative media unanimously agree on one thing: the island’s official journalists will continue to act as faithful spokespeople of the regime.
The four defining characteristics of totalitarian regimes developed by French philosopher Jean Francois Revel seem to fit the Cuban press like a glove:
– A willing disregard for the facts.
– The ability to act in ways that contradict one’s own principles.
– A refusal to acknowledge and analyze one’s own failures.
– A resistance to progress.
For over fifty years, Cuban journalism has almost religiously abided by these postulates, which are very favorable to the censorship it practices.
Vice-President Miguel Diaz Canel’s admission of guilt, to the effect that “the blame for the secretive practices of the Cuban press must be laid squarely on the Party”, while true, is not entirely exact.
On June 30, 1961, following the last address in a series of speeches delivered by Fidel Castro at Cuba’s Jose Marti National Library (what has come to be known as the “Address to Cuban Intellectuals”), Cuba’s literati allowed its freedom of expression to be taken away from it.
After this freedom had been gotten hold of by Fidel Castro, who had become the nation’s political and spiritual leader, any possibility of dissent was smothered within the revolutionary project, once and for all.
By abjuring their chief asset, freedom of thought, Cuban intellectuals were thus also postponing any possibility of unrestricted expression until the very disappearance of the system within which they had opted to remain silent.
Cuban journalism will only be possible in a democratic society, plain and simple. Let no one be deluded enough to believe Cuban reporters will reflect reality in the news they write while the country’s journalism continues under the skirts of the Party.
The one good thing about UPEC’s 9th Congress is the fact that it’s over. Now, our hopes for something resembling change are set on Raul Castro’s July 26th address.
Farewell UPEC Congress, all the best to you.
Alfredo Fernandez: [email protected]