HAVANA TIMES – Last week the 11th Congress of the Cuban Journalists Association (UPEC) met in Havana, and served to once again confirm that doing journalism in Cuba is one of the most difficult professions.
It was the official organization of pro-government journalists, and it was so sad to hear many of the interventions, in which those who spoke did so to beg for benefits of all kinds, including requesting a snack when doing coverage, with the selfish undertone that this entails, since they are supposed to be carrying out a social mission that goes far beyond their personal interests.
It happens in all sectors of society, but in this one you can see much more, that the dilemma of judging who pays you comes into play, because journalism in essence is that, evaluating everything that happens and analyzing whether everyone did what they had to do at a certain time, for society to function as it should.
In the Cuban case, of course, all important decisions go through the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), the only one recognized, but also the one that allocates budgets for the press media, and therefore uses them to their interests, which is basically to stay in power by any means.
Those interventions in which the propagandists, which is what they really are, practically beg for what is a given for any colleague anywhere else in the world, are really sad.
Not to mention that to beg for better treatment you must start by paying homage to Fidel Castro, his brother Raul and his heir, Miguel Diaz-Canel.
Because ultimately the objective is to make the leaders look good, when the mission should be almost the opposite, to denounce everything done wrong, and in Cuba practically everything comes from the top political leadership. They prefer to turn a blind eye and not address the harsh reality of the ordinary Cuban trying to survive, of those who gave their life to this ideal and live miserably with a pension that is not even enough to ensure adequate nutrition throughout the month.
In the end, Cuban “journalists” make fools of themselves almost daily, because currently it is very easy to contrast the information and know that when an official says that there are no peas for the increasingly dwindling rations because it was very cold in Canada, they are lying, shamelessly.
Almost as blatantly as in a plenary session, the director of the Ideological Department of the Central Committee of the PCC (the office that directly manages the media), Rogelio Polanco, points out that over the years the Revolution (without mentioning anyone specifically) has always recognized when mistakes were made, but “with its head held high.”
You’ve got have a very hard face to utter this phrase without it being followed by a request for the immediate resignation of those responsible. On the contrary, what came next was “there is no instruction manual,” and with that the license to continue improvising regardless of the fact that there are entire generations of dissatisfied Cubans in the middle. This involves a lot of shamelessness and evil, “with their heads held high.”
At this point, after more than 60 years, Polanco proposes a project for the economic transformation of the media where he talks about administrative, financial, and commercial autonomy, when that is the root of any respected press media.
Polanco says without having anything left inside that the population supports the Revolution, but he forgets that half the country is going abroad because it does not trust the project. Cubans cannot express their discontent freely at the polls, but they do so with their legs, moving to another country to seek better horizons.
Only this past week interviews come to light with the female field hockey players who decided to stay in Chile after the Pan American Games, among them the captain, supposedly the most committed to the official discourse. This is a clear sign that they are forced to express themselves in one way, even if they think very differently.
But obviously the spokespersons for the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) and other official media will not divulge the “desertors” words.
Nor did anyone raise their voice when the approval of the Press Law was postponed once again, because according to Polanco, the regulations must be well evaluated. Including the punishments that will be imposed on functionaries who omit or deny information or give it in an incorrect manner. That gave a hint, but we all know that the details they are conjuring up are to legalize how to punish journalists when they make a mistake, or simply when they do not adequately fulfill their role as spokespersons for the regime.
Perhaps I am getting ahead of events, but I doubt that I am wrong. In short, the Communication Law will be to combat freedom of information, regulate the Internet and increase control over the press media and their workers, the rest will be minor concessions.
If we believe this man, the Communist Party supports journalists, but for what? Well, to make them look good. Everyone knows that you cannot criticize a leader until the Party publishes a note informing that they were dismissed from their position.
It is the Cuban leadership that is determined to make Cuba the exception, and of course there is no manual for that, because not even sadomasochists have thought of it.
In no other country is people’s daily bread made by a political party, and that is why, among other things, Cuba is being emptied.