The Cuban TV News

Rosa Martinez

El noticiero nacional. Foto: cubanosune.wordpresscom

HAVANA TIMES — Since I was a little girl, I’ve been forced to watch the official National News on Cuban TV. “You have to be informed,” my father used to say; “we should know what is going on in the world so nobody can fool us,” my mother used to add.

And because we only had one TV set at home, I had no other choice but to watch it with them so I could go to bed a little bit later. Over time, this obligation became a habit, and then a necessity.

This is why at 8 p.m., unless something extraordinary is happening, everyone knows exactly where to find me.

My thirst for knowledge was at its all time high when I was a student at university. I didn’t want to miss a single detail about national and international events. I was interested in anything and everything, whether it had to do with sports, culture, politics, science (everything sparked an interest in that young girl who wanted to know a little about everything).

Unfortunately, I’ve become less interested in our news show as time goes by. I guess it has something to do with three basic reasons:, first of all, news reports don’t seem to represent the real Cuba anymore, what you hear in the afternoon news is repeated again in the evening news, and last of all, but most importantly, access to Internet has grown on the island, and with information from other news sources circulating, it’s almost impossible to hide anything.

Cuba is changing…

Maybe not at the speed we would like it to, but our country has changed over the last 10 years. It no longer pains us to talk about dissidence, corruption, fraud, social differences, migration, major leagues… or is it down to the fact that the Internet doesn’t really leave us any other option?

It’s a shame that the only Cuban news program we have still doesn’t reflect the times we live in. Stories from real-life people are missing, as are those of Cubans stranded across the American continent on their way to the United States, or those who are stuck in the middle of rainforests and at the mercy of human traffickers.  Also absent are stories about those who have taken on the mighty sea between Havana and Florida, or of young business-owners who are fed up with high taxes and a dearth in supplies. Our news show also lacks immediacy, guts and courage to tell us what is happening in our country, this and a whole lot more is still missing…

26 thoughts on “The Cuban TV News

  • It is interesting when I watch the various Cuban government news sites. The mantra remains however there are noted changes that even the present dictatorship allows. A recent example is a story in the Cuban Youth blog site regarding YouTube. Now my guess a minority of less than 10% has access to the internet but that will increase as time goes on. I agree with you Carlyle and have expounded on this for years now that the internet is what will wake this country up.

  • I am not concerned in the slightest whether the CIA likes me or not. Unlike Cuba where MININT can and does imprison those who criticize the so-called ‘government’ – the Castro regime and the PCC. General Alejandro Castro Espin makes certain that folks criticizing his father are incarcerated, Cubans don’t have the pleasure of freedom, you (I assume from your prattlings that you are a US citizen free to openly express your view) and I do.

  • You are only manipulated by the media in North America if you choose to be.

  • The People’s republic of China has adopted capitalism – hence its economic progress – you need to get up-to-date. Next time you are in London, you should visit Highgate Cemetery.
    If Raul doesn’t have total power, why is it that everything is decided by him?

  • Communism:
    “a political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.”

    China’s reality can be said to be quite different. It’s actually an oligarchy that has some of the riches people in the world living there. Here’s a list of the many billionaire living in China.

    …Wang Jianlin leads the list at a net worth of 30 billion!! Doesn’t don’t very “communist” to me.

  • As head of the military, First Secretary of the PCC and President of the Council of Ministers, all power rests with Raul Castro. If your argument is a political one and not structural, then it is debatable as to whether the man in which total power is vested has the cajones to exercise that power. When Fidel was at his prime, there was nothing in Cuba that he could not do or say. Raul has been limp-wristed since the beginning and therefore less likely to exercise the power his brother did.

  • Leonov was widely rumored to have been much more than Raul’s KGB contact. Their relationship was very personal and as a result, very secret, considering the absolute taboos that existed during that time period. Nonetheless, from Lenovo above-mentioned biography, a more intimate relationship is implied.

  • Hardly. If that were the case, Cuba would not be in such dire straits with its people hurling themselves in the sea to escape Castro tyranny.

  • The CIA is a very efficient organization, and they have NOT “degenerated” into a bureaucracy, as you suggest. They might not like you for this.

  • For your information, the People’s Republic of China is a communist country. They are a Marxist nation, ruled by the Communist Party of China, a one party state. You need to do some research. You will also find that Marx was a democrat and believed in democracy. By the way, Raul Castro does NOT have total power.

  • No, it is pro-Cuba all the way, all the time.

  • The KGB was a very professional spying service and MI6 with a much longer history is similarly very professional, both having expertise in double-think and miss-information. retention of secrets is key to success. You should note that Granma made no mention of Leonov’s occupation in KGB or for example that at one time he was Putin’s superior. Granma has been sold a wonderful piece of miss-information.
    Without giving names, let me provide an example of double-think. An MI6 operative during the Cold War, living off the land in Yugoslavia when up by the border with Albania found a colony of a type of bird named chuffs. The exact map reference was noted. Later when back on the safe side of the Iron Curtain, he wrote an article using a nom-de-plume in a German ornithological journal describing the discovery of this unknown colony (records of Chuff colonies are oddly maintained by a Professor at the University of Aberdeen) and gave the map reference. The purpose was both to irritate and confuse as clearly someone from the wrong side of the curtain had been on Yugoslav territory.
    The US does not have a similarly efficient organization. Belatedly the CIA was formed in 1947, but rapidly degenerated into a bureaucracy and leaks like a sieve with far too many employees and even sub-contractors. one of whom as the world knows revealed millions of records through Wikileaks.

  • Here’s the difference: in the US, the journalistic biases swing in all directions. From FoxNews to MSNBC to Al Jazeera News. In Cuba, it is pro-Castro all the way, all the time.

  • TeleSurtv accommodates Noam Chomsky on Channel 13.4 of Cuban TV along with Tariq Ali, Danny Glover and other professional left wing bletherers. In Cuba non-socialist/communist views are not permitted and criticism of the Castro family regime is a criminal offence.
    Cuban TV is guilty of deliberate deception, for example, when Arlene Rodriguez who is second stringer to Randy Alonso Falcon on Mesa Redondo (broadcast at 7.00 p.m.) interviewed Nickolai S. Leonov for an hour, she described him as “a writer and author”. She did not mention that he was Raul Castro’s original KGB contact in Moscow in April, 1953 or that when the Castros met up with Che Guevara in Mexico in July, 1956 that Leonov popped up there to advise, or that following the revolution, Leonov appeared in Havana to pull Raul Castro’s strings.
    If you look at pictures of Andropov visiting Cuba, you will see Leonov, and similarly pictures of Fidel Castro with Krushchev in Red Square where Leonov acted as interpreter and is standing in the background directly between the two. At the age of 87 he has just published his biography of Raul Castro.

  • I watch a lot of television and I can only think of one time that I have seen Noam Chomsky on US TV. That was on PBS. on Charlie Rose. That was bold move for Rose, but he seemed quite jumpy about what Chomsky might say.

  • That is so true Ernie. We are deceived if we believe that we are not manipulated by our media in the US and Canada.

  • I am allowed to be there because the Castro regime is dependent upon receiving money from capitalist countries either through tourism – and I qualify as such – or from remittances made mainly by Cubans who have fled the country and now live in free capitalist countries sending financial support to their impoverished relatives in Cuba. The US alone accounts for some $4 billion in remittances per year. All that money does add up, it adds up to the regime surviving.

  • Balderdash!
    There are many of us who have taken part in live programs in North America with no restrictions placed upon expressing our views.

  • The reason tourists are allowed in Cuba is because the Castro regime and the PCC are dependent upon revenue from tourists from the capitalist world.
    You are correct in saying that “Something doesn’t quite add up.” That is I assume a reference to the regime being unable for fifty seven years to sustain itself but being dependent upon others.
    First there was the communist USSR, but it rotted from within, so the poor people of Cuba had Fidel Castro’s “special period impoosed upon them.
    Then Hugo Chavez of Venezuela became a disciple of Fidel and used their oil revenues to prop up the Castro regime. But as you know, Chavez and his selected successor Nicholas Maduro modelled their economy upon Fidel’s and the consequences are empty food stores and Venezuela having the highest rate of inflation in the world.
    All however is not lost, for China has come to the rescue with credit and Cuba has a rapidly mounting debt now well over $25 billion with that country. All those tourist buses used by Transtur, Gaviota and Viazul, three of the fifty seven subsidiaries of GAESA are supplied on credit. China although thriving as a consequence of adopting capitalism is not a donor as its history is one of seeking control and repayment in kind – usually minerals – and Cuba has a few.
    Yes, Cuba is a dictatorship with Raul Castro being the current dictator. Let me remind you of the definition of a dictator.
    “A ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force.”
    Even you would not deny that force was used for the Castro’s to obtain power and even you would not deny that Raul Castro has total power.
    So you see, it all does add up!

  • Every jot and tittle of the new that is read in North America is also read and approved first by those who run the media,and changes are frequently made. You know that, don’t you?

  • If it’s such a dictatorship, why are you still allowed to be there? Something doesn’t quite add up.

  • My wife was a newscaster on the national morning news program. Every jot and title of the news she read was approved first and last by a representative of the propaganda ministry. Her “news room” had satellite feeds from all over the world. Nonetheless, news editors would cut and paste video to fit their propaganda needs. She could write a book about the manipulation of information fed to the Cuban people.

  • Agreed, the genius of Lee-Berners in inventing the Internet makes life increasingly difficult for totalitarian dictators as open information is their foe. No doubt that is why Barack Obama repeated himself when in Havana, by proposing both at that odd press conference where Raul Castro spent his time fiddling with his earphones, and in his speech at the Gran Teatre Alicia Alonso, that the Internet ought to be freely available to the people of Cuba.
    I promised my Cuban wife that when visiting the UK for over three weeks and Canada for months, that we would not be stopped by the Police, unlike the habits of the State Police in Havana. My wife has now spent in total over six months in Canada and has yet to even talk to a policemen. My stepdaughter is a law graduate of Havana and the discussions between she and my wife are enlightening.
    I like Camaguey a lot and envy your access to the trova in the square with the statue of Agramonte. I am sure that the earlier revolutionaries, Cespedes, Agramonte, Marti, Maceo would share your view and hope that Cuba will become the Pearl of the Caribbean, what is required is the end of the Castro Communist dictatorship and the introduction of freedom of information, freedom of expression and freedom of political choice.

  • I have a friend in Camaguey who is a “newscaster.” “Just once I would like to tell the truth, just once, like a real journalist.” I also visit a friend who is an English teacher. I usually end up taking over the class because his students are starved for information, of not only their own country but the rest of the world. Their eyes grow wide when I tell them of the laws of other countries (I am a Canadian who spends a lot of time in Camaguey and have roots in that city). They laugh when I tell them you cannot be arrested for no reason. They are astonished when I inform them that most of the information in the world, on a daily basis, can be had for their viewing in an instant. When internet access is readily available at a reasonable cost to Cubans then, I believe, the country will be on the road to becoming what it should be, The Pearl of the Caribbean.

  • The restrictions imposed by censorship in Cuba have resulted in Cubans remaining ignorant of many world events, ignorant of literature and ignorant of the progress being made in many fields of business and research. For Professors like Roza Martinez the frustrations of being unable to properly and fully inform their students is enormous. In conversation with a very academically well qualified Professor, he expressed to me his frustration that foreigners knew more about political activity in Cuba during the last fifty years, than he did.
    In Cuba, TV has an even more significant role than in the free world, but is inevitably used as a major contributor to propaganda. The 8.00 p.m. news is carried by four channels simultaneously and channel 13.4 is dominated by TeleSurtv broadcasting from Venezuela and carrying the seemingly endless speeches of Nicholas Maduro.
    As an example, some 45% of Cuba’s tourists are from Canada, but weeks, even months can pass with no mention of that country. Another example is the constant criticism of the European countries for not accepting the millions of refugees fleeing from the Asad dictatorship’s Syria. Yet as an ally who joined Syria in invading Israel, Cuba itself has accepted none and apparently neither has Russia. Hypocrisy dominates.
    Many students now have a cell phone and information is being disseminated through them. Open information is anathema to the Castro regime and the PCC. Their current problem however is that eventually truth will out!

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