HAVANA TIMES — Cuba dice (“Cuba Says”) is a segment of Cuba’s national news broadcast that has been on the air for some time now.
The segment consists of journalistic reports that cover problems or difficulties Cubans face on a daily basis, from the purchase or acquisition of building materials to public transportation and other issues.
These reports cast a critical glance at these realities through interviews with the individuals affected and the government officials responsible for them, who are called on to account for the problems discussed.
It’s true we’ve needed a segment like this on television for a long time, but I think it’s still not enough. It’s not enough to see Thalia Gonzalez (who often hosts the segment) rub salt on the wounds and tell us what we already know too well.
What we need to do is cure the wound once and for all. The only thing these types of programs do is afford us a space for catharsis and give people the semblance of a critical, free and opinionated journalism. It’s also a forum where we hear government representatives give the same answers again and again.
Their answers are always along the lines of: “we acknowledge we have these problems” and “we can assure the public we’re working to find a solution as quickly as we can.”
On the other hand, people’s comments are often rather shy. They’re mere complaints, examples drawn from their personal experiences, an anecdote where we find out they’ve being trying to get their hands on building materials for over five months and the shipments haven’t arrived, or that, once they’ve arrived, it turns out there’s not enough for everyone.
We never see anyone who’s truly angry, as we see in real life. We Cubans aren’t like that. I imagine that, in front of the TV cameras, most people are afraid to be too severe in their criticisms or to call things by their name, without beating around the bush.
Some even act as apologists and say things like “yeah, it’s true, there are delays, there are problems, but the service is good anyways.” In other words, they make excuses. We know that isn’t the case, that we’ve had very serious problems for a long time, and that this is in part because people have become accustomed to them, as though they were normal.
Time passes and few are the things that actually change. However, we’ve got a nice little TV program where we can complain, so that it looks as though Cuba is saying something. The question is: who’s answering and is it enough?