Recently I have been keeping up on a series of events. Some such occurrences come to light in the press, others never do. Those of us who have spent more than forty years involved in this revolutionary process have been witness in Cuba to the infinite events that have been unleashed over this long period.
We know that domestic groups exist on the island carrying out counter-revolutionary and other actions particularly at critical times like now, with mass government layoffs pending and the restructuring of the country’s work force. It’s obvious that there are those who take advantage of the most minimal conjuncture as well as the Cuban population’s discouragement and discomfort.
What is not logical is that various events are taking place in society but these aren’t reported in the press.
About fifteen days ago I witnessed the fire that originated in the boiler room of the Hermanos Amejeiras Hospital (located in the Centro Havana municipality), which fortunately caused neither substantial material losses nor human deaths.
Exactly when I was passing by there, people were running excitedly trying to get out of the building and away from the hospital grounds. I looked to one side and noticed a huge column of smoke rising above the area. Fortunately, several fire trucks immediately made their appearance and brought the situation under control.
That night, they were already reporting the incident on the eight o’clock TV news. It was pleasing to see the immediacy of the coverage and to know that the information was being presented to the people.
However, I was also present and witnessed another recent event, one that I’m still waiting to see covered in the press.
Unfortunately I wasn’t carrying my camera (I don’t have any batteries for it and the ones I had bought are dead), but apparently life —or perhaps destiny— made it possible for me to be present at both of these places in the recent period.
What occurred at the Dr. Luis Diaz Soto Military Hospital (on the eastern edge of the Cuban capital) has not still been covered. Notwithstanding, thousands of nearby residents noticed the enormous fire that broke out in the warehouse of this facility, where medicine, uniforms and other goods were stored.
Fortunately for the patients and the medical staff, the fire was not in the main building. However, the fact that this happened was highly distressing since supplies and equipment of incalculable value were lost, which will mean tremendous costs to the Cuban government to recover these items. Still, those who will be the most harmed by all of this will be the public that is attended at this institution, which is my situation.
Independently of whether an extensive investigation is carried out into the events by the appropriate authorities, the Cuban people have every right to be informed.
This is precisely what should be done and what is sorely needed. We require the truth in our hands so that another story or explanation won’t be fabricated. With honest reporting, the reality behind the issue could not be distorted – as has occurred and continues to occur.
When we don’t report our own news we are exposed to domestic and foreign manipulation, and it’s then when our press is not credible – to the contrary, it becomes the laughingstock of everyone.
I ask myself: Is this fair? Why should our press be the laughingstock if we have excellent journalists and professional personal capable of reporting to people? Why are our journalists limited in reporting or not reporting the news? Whether you call it “freedom of the press” or not, I think that beyond this debate is the need to keep the public informed.
Why then have we struggled so much to develop a nation of learned people and we still have to hide the truth from them? I think the more transparency we have and the more information is provided, we will help ourselves become more believable and less vulnerable.
To present reality, whatever it may be, is what’s worthwhile. To deny it is to toss our own history to the side. What comes to mind is the phase by Jose Marti: “Our wine may be bitter, but it’s our wine.”