HAVANA TIMES — Despite being the top news item internationally all week regarding Cuba, the widely reported renewed presence of cholera on the island remains off-bounds for local journalists to report.
Cuba watchers are not surprised as it has long been government policy to keep the population in the dark as to unfavorable news items as long as possible.
Normally, after several days of such reports the government will issue a brief communiqué with their version of the situation.
“There is cholera in various places and you can imagine we are having a very busy summer,” an employee of the public health ministry told Reuters Havana reporter Marc Frank.
“Many of us think the government should stop keeping it a secret. Cholera is very unpleasant, but rarely lethal, at least here in Cuba,” said the health worker who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to comment to the media.
While at the recently held Cuban journalist’s congress such secrecy was sharply criticized by some of the country’s top leaders, including the first vice president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, nothing has changed when it comes to editorial decisions on what makes the news.
Decisions on what make it into the Cuban media are still tightly controlled by the “Ideological Department” of the Communist Party, headed by veteran Alfonso Borges.