Cubans Hooked on Miami TV

Regina Cano

Caso Cerrado

HAVANA TIMES — For as long as I’ve known my people, trying to find out what’s happening with others, only as spectators, has been one of the most common contaminating characteristics of everyday life here in Cuba (though I don’t think we’re any different from other Latin Americans in that respect).

Greater opportunities for owning a DVD player or a computer have apparently expanded the viewing audience as well as the existence of stores and stands that sell videos for popular entertainment here.

People can buy programs such as “Caso Cerrado,” “Esta Noche tu Night,” “Doce Corazones,” “Don Francisco,” “Casos de familia,” “Nuestra Belleza Latina,” “Decisiones,” “Pellizcame que estoy soñando,” “El Gordo y la Flaca,” “Al Rojo Vivo,” “Paparazzi,” “Esta Noche con Cristina,” “Cotorreando,” etc.

Then too, there are many other dramas, feature films and serials dealing in horror, punching and kicking, drug trafficking and other types of violence. To these are added comedies on top of the usual telenovelas.

These and others make up the list of pastime viewing pleasures that fill Cuban mental space on weekends and other hours for sharing time with one’s family, before going to bed and after work or school.

From what I’ve been told, most of the videos produced outside of Cuba come from the Univision or Telemundo networks.

Televised gossip that entertains as well as any video game is part of what’s now called “entertainment,” which is another way to giving a vacation to Cuban neurons.

This gives people a virtual holiday from having to participate in the more concrete reality of everyday life (summarized as struggling for money, looking at the screen and drinking a few shots – though many younger people might add “going to clubs” to this list).

I know there are still people who read books, attend the cinema to watch quality movies, enjoy the theater, go on excursions and entertain themselves in healthier manners – but not most people.

Entertainment has the quality of eliminating the aspiration to achieve any type of relaxation other than the most mindless, lethargic and listless offered, all of which lends to killing time in a largely unproductive manner rather than using it to develop intellectual and/or spiritual qualities or skills.

Well people! That’s how we Cubans are, more distracted than ever and with our brains “filled with straw.” We sit there lethargic and trapped in our own realities — individual ones — that reduce certain risks.