Yenisel Rodriguez Perez
Cuban television is being taken over by a middle class in alliance with political leaders. Their image is one of pretty young white women with good diction who meticulously spin the news while including a touch of critical and revolutionary discourse.
Nevertheless, their much preferred presence projects a certain distance from the aesthetics of urban and rural workers.
With microphone in hand, these newscasters roam through the city looking for arguments to convince the citizenry that the problems of Cuban society lie with isolated individuals or groups – never with the system.
Many of us display anger and irritation in this, recognizing that this image establishes a certain patriotic profile, though it embodies oppression, lies and a double standard.
Many of us recognize this uneasiness. One of them is my friend, “Andie the poet,” who a few days ago told me this anecdote:
Going through the neighborhood looking for food, I ran into a young female friend of mine. She’s twenty at the most, and was wearing a lot of necklaces, a short skirt and pierced earrings, but with a somewhat disheveled look… We greeted each other:
“What’s up?” I asked her,
“Here, just spinning my wheels,” she said with a sarcastic tone.
“You’re not working?” I asked again,
“Nah; I’m an anti-social bum,” she responded, again with sarcasm, and I laughed.
I could sense her pain, her lack of interest and her dissatisfaction in the face of this nonsensical situation in which most Cuban youth live.
“You’re the expression of the true Cuban; you are a beautiful mutilated flower,” I emphasized, protesting empathetically, and soon after I added:
“The ‘anti-social’ ones are all those fake Cubans who step in front of the television cameras every day with their CNN-style cadences and their faces of “everything is fine here.” They prostitute their voices, images and souls for a better salary and additional perks. These are the spokespeople of the power elite, who order them to present a version of the situation in Cuba that has little or nothing to do with real life. They are in fact the ‘anti-social’ elements, feeling proud but knowing that someday this will change.”
We both laughed, said goodbye. We parted with a certain hesitation, like when you leave without saying some things you want to but can’t due to the lack of time. My son was at home waiting for me hungry.
Cuba breaks down into communities of interests. From images, confrontations are expressed. But we should distinguish critical confrontation from political prejudice in order to avoid banal hatred of what is not rural or working class.
I have reached the conclusion that to change the system, we must avoid letting anger blind us. All authoritarianism possesses high levels of prejudice — something that must not be forgotten by those who fight for democratic changes.