Hypocrisy in the Cuban Media

Osmel Almaguer 

Photo: Orlando Luis Pardo

Ever since I was little I’ve been witness to the characteristic falsehoods of my country’s media, whose influence we’ve been vulnerable to for more than a half century.

When I came upon a story in the Trabajadores newspaper, an article that highlighted the work of the husband of one of my cousins, I could do no more than burst out laughing because the whole family knew Ramon as a two-timer who went for years cheating on my cousin with another woman (one with whom he ended up having kids).

This pillar of society described by the journalist was only a slight bit short of being a saint.  He was portrayed as a “simple major of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR)” who “through effort and dedication” had converted what in the past had been a bog into “productive property of whose fruits could benefit several military units in the future.”

Months later Ramon was “dishonorably” discharged from FAR after the discovery of “deviations of resources.”  The newspaper didn’t report on this other chapter in Ramon’s life story.

This had been the first incident that caught my attention concerning the suspicious national harmony that’s presented in the media here.

I then began to question the work of Cuban journalists, but when I had the opportunity to become familiar with their methods and their work routines, I understood everything.

The media in the country is “property of the Cuban state,” which is why it reflects the government’s interests.  In other countries there exists “yellow journalism,” but here the whole press apparatus is “pink” – to assign it the most appropriate color.

In Cuba everything is just fine, while around the rest of the world everything is in crisis.  That’s the message our journalists seem to repeat obsessively 24 hours a day.

The unlucky souls who “got” to cover the “news” about Ramon had to “invent” news where there is none, and in doing this they have to speak positively, omitting any negative features they find.

The reporter didn’t know anything about Ramon’s background or his the conduct.  He simply “cayeron de fly” (shot from the hip), as people here say, and the result was a sugar-coated story that had little to do with reality.

A few years ago Antonio Resillez began appearing on national TV making his commentaries.  In these he would praise the career of an individual who we all know, one of those “climbers” who are so plentiful in Cuba today.

One of these subjects’ achievements and sacrifices as a doctor were reported to the Cuban people on the country’s most important news program.

We later found out, from this person’s own mouth, that the story read by Resillez was a letter that he himself had edited and then handed over to his journalist friend.

Resillez has, or had, a slot on the primetime NTV news in which he dealt with national and international socio-economic and political problems.  He would always end up haranguing the people from below as being guilty of all the wrongs of a revolution that apparently — just as its leaders — is perfect.