“Cuba Says” But No One Answers

Typical Havana scene. Photo: Juan Suarez
Typical Havana scene. Photo: Juan Suarez

Janis Hernandez

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?

8 thoughts on ““Cuba Says” But No One Answers

  • A cursory glance at Cuban history would suggest otherwise. What about the Mambises or the Black uprising in 1912 suppressed by the US. Also the student and trade union movements in later periods.

  • Really? Cuba was among the last of the Latin American Spanish colonies to achieve independence and arguably only after US help. Resistance against prior dictators was largely fueled by the efforts of even worse tyrants. The truth is that the Cuban people have not history of grass-roots uprisings like we have witnessed elsewhere in Latin America.

  • On your final point, I can agree. It is very possible that those people who might have otherwise taken to the streets in protest simply decide to take the path of less resistance and leave. Given the declining and aging population, that implies a residual population of Cubans who have remained as either supportive of the failed regime or, while frustrated, unable to migrate.

  • From what I have seen of his posts UI is the lowest of the low, a parlor Bolshevik. UI takes his leisure while those who live in the broken socialist incubator that is Cuba (Castrista rather) wallow in its failure.

    Unfortunately those who would revolt simply leave. just another reason to get rid of the Cuban Adjustment act.

  • Cuba has a long history of resistance, struggle and protest – from one of the longest wars against the Spanish, to the struggles against Machado, Batista and the mafia. They are no cowards.

  • Racist? I am a Black American married to a Cuban woman with Afro-Cuban children. Hardly racist. My opinions are a mere reflection of the opinions shared by nearly all the Cubans in my family and that I talk to. Just ask Roberto Carcasses. Contrary to your comment, the opinion of support of the regime that you imply that Cubans possess reflects your ‘blindness’ to the reality on the street. It is the Castro regime that prevents the open dissent of the Cuban people. I have searched for a workable socialist system yet finding none. It is not the anti-socialist propaganda that you believe has been spoon-fed to me that colors my views, but rather the indisputable fact that socialism has never worked in the real world on a national level. Finally, it is wrong to presume that my anti-Castro views implies a desire to return Cuba to US dominance. On the contrary, I hope my children can one day visit or live in a Cuba free of dictatorships AND foreign dominance.

  • This racist denigration of the Cuban people as cowards reflects only on its perpetrator … and the publication.

    It’s not that the Cubans are too “cowardly … to express their grievances” but that the don’t choose to express Moses’s grievances against their government. Cubans aren’t really short of courage.

    It’s telling that Moses can’t imagine that the Cubans might fail to share his hatred of their government and social system, as his anti-Cuban slur presupposes they must.

    Nor is his blindness to the possibility of independent Cuban opinion accidental: as a dyed-in-the-wool US chauvinist bigot, Moses is incapable of allowing to lesser peoples of the empire’s former colonies the right to dissent from the conformist right-wing orthodoxy he has been spoon-fed by the anti-socialist propaganda machine of the US regime he worships.

    He can’t see that Cubans might not favour the return to the imperial domination of their country by the wealthy US capitalist class that passes for freedom in what passes for his mind.

  • Has there ever been in the recorded history of humankind a more cowardly bunch of people? I just saw on the news how Palestinian youth armed with rocks and slingshots were protesting against modern Israeli tanks. Remember the Chinese in Tiananmen Square? Schoolteachers in Oaxaca, Mexico armed with protest signs. Working professionals in Egypt on their lunch break in the streets protesting against the military government coup What is it about Cubans that makes them so wimpy to express their grievances?

Comments are closed.