Farewell to Cuba’s Journalists Congress

Alfredo Fernández

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]

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

2 thoughts on “Farewell to Cuba’s Journalists Congress

  • In the U.S. and almost everywhere, the main-stream embedded media act as faithful spokespeople for the government, the church (more and more these days), and, at bottom, the rich insiders who actually own most countries, including the U.S. The word “totalitarian” is a nonsense word. The word “regime” is the really vague term used by the U.S. State Department and therefore all U.S. embedded media (your mentors?) to describe any officially demonized country, including Cuba. There is on my site, posted several years ago, in English and in my somewhat flawed Spanish, an honest critique of press freedom in Cuba, accompanied by a carefully thought out suggested plan for a better Cuban press, which I explained needed to be implemented soon before the rise of the internet gave inevitable and unfortunately unstoppable birth to something much worse. I didn’t know when I posted that critique that I was talking about the Havana Times, which is fast becoming the faithful spokes-journal for irresponsible and incoherent dissidence, the kind of internal force the CIA undoubtedly plans to use to instigate a Latin American “spring,” including purposeless crowds kept in the streets until they draw fire, which will then justify a NATO invasion. Is that what you want?
    -Glen Roberts – iammyownreporter.com

  • In the aftermath of the Cuban journalists convention, there have been several posts highly critical of Cuban journalists and their lack of ‘cojones[ in practicing their profession. As my wife is a former national newscaster for the morning news magazine show “Buenos Dias”, I am moved to offer a few words in defense of this pitiful lot. My wife says that the news team would watch cable feeds from CNN, Al Jazeera, TVE, BBC, Globovision and many others every morning and then go on air and at the very least report the same stories but leaving out key facts or even sometimes flat out changing the facts! All the while using the pirated videos taken from these other news sources but, of course, deleting the audio. I asked her if she knew how cowardly these actions seemed and how against the nature of honest journalism they were. At least I used to ask her. In order to stay married, I learned quickly that this is still very painful to her and at no time was she unaware of how she was being manipulated by higher-ups to present information that was highly biased if not altogether false. 99% of these journalists have no say in what is printed or televised. The 1% who do have a say realize that the status quo which serves them is eroding despite their efforts to control information. They are more, not less, resolute to hang on as long as they can. Cuban journalists, like everyone else in Cuba, are victims of the Castro regime. To resist, God forbid rebel, is to risk sanction, job loss and possibly imprisonment.

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