HAVANA TIMES — An article published by Cuba’s major official newspaper on February 11, authored by Ronald Suarez Rivas, reports on condom shortages in the province of Pinar del Rio. The journalist quotes an expert from the Center for the Prevention of Infectious and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, concurring with her view that the matter is, at the very least, “disconcerting.”
The expert goes as far as suggesting people make love without having intercourse, in an effort to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
The journalist formulates a series of questions that go unanswered, including the obvious one: how is it possible that no one at any pharmacy can clearly explain to the population the reason behind these shortages?
Ronald Suarez approached the municipal storage manager, who said she has been ordering the product but that supplies have not come in.
In this way, State employees, the apparatus, the State monopoly, the bureaucrat responsible for supplies, purchases abroad, etc., disappear from the vocabulary used by the warehouse manager and journalist as if by magic.
The article includes a description of the government’s prevention campaign encouraging condom use and points out the contradiction between this campaign and the shortage of prophylactics at pharmacies.
In short, the journalist addressed the problem, but he merely yanks the chain, gives it a few turns and leaves the monkey alone, attacking the weakest link in the chain, pharmacy employees who “are incapable of explaining the reasons behind the shortage to the population” – reasons, to be sure, which are never mentioned.
Never going to the root of the problem is typical of the Communist Party’s Granma newspaper, its bureaucracy and propaganda apparatuses.
They can’t because it isn’t in their best interests to do so, as they would then have to clearly state that the sole culprit is the economic and political system that centralizes everything and is founded on wage State labor, the system maintained by the Party’s bureaucratic apparatus, the State and government, the one they have sought to impose on us in the name of socialism and whose deficiencies always end up being blamed on the workers, those below, when it can’t blame the United States.
It isn’t the journalist’s shortcomings. Everyone knows that the editorial staff of the newspaper, the official journal of the Communist Party, is the one that establishes the editorial policy and decides what is to be censored. Those who work in this newspaper and others, all of them under the control of the ideological apparatus of the Party (which no one elected), do what they can – what they are allowed to – when called on to criticize a problem.
No one can publish what they want to in Granma except for Fidel Castro (for even Raul Castro was censored after his “liter of milk” speech).
This article, like many others published by this newspaper, can help explain why the Cuban government does not allow for freedom of expression and association, why no press other than that run by the government and Party is authorized and why there is so much resistance to free and easily accessible Internet.
I have sent many of my articles to Granma. They have never published a single one. Close friends of mine told me they were going to look into that possibility. I am still waiting, but not with my arms crossed. In the meantime, I will continue to publish my articles through the alternative media that wishes to divulge my writings.
Granma can continue to hide and distort the truth, it can continue to blame those below, it can continue advancing campaigns so that the US blockade-embargo is stretched out over time and negotiations with the United States become protracted, so that the average Cuban continues to be denied access to the Internet – but Granma won’t be able to cheat anyone anymore, because people have been reading between the lines for far too long and they have learned to draw their own conclusions, as Cuban TV journalist Taladrid has taught them to do.
Granma can continue to play with the chain. However most people know where and who the monkey is.