Reporting in Cuba: Tomatoes Yes, Cars No

By Circles Robinson

Tomatoes in Granma newspaper.
Tomatoes in Granma newspaper.

HAVANA TIMES — While the reaction to the price list for new and used car sales in Cuba is raging in the alternative online and foreign press, the local print media, which is what the 95% Internet-less population has access to, has skirted the issue completely.

Instead they are informing today on the progress of a caravan recalling Fidel Castro’s triumphant revolution 55 years ago and that the tomato harvest in some place called the Valley of Caujeri has begun.

During the last weeks it was big news that Raul Castro had decided to open the new and used car market with profits from the dealerships going to improve the highly deficient public transportation.

On Friday when the price list was made public and received across the board astonishment from those who saw it, the official Granma daily, which all the other newspapers take their cues from, is air tight.

See this related post: New Cars in Cuba: The Joke’s on You


12 thoughts on “Reporting in Cuba: Tomatoes Yes, Cars No

  • January 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I tap all my reasonably comprehensive media bookmarks every day, and I can assure you there is no raging attention being given to Cuban car prices. But, not quite airtight, I guess, Granma did verify the opening of the Havana car lot for me a few days ago. It even has had car ads. The last time I was in Cuba, in 2007, internet access was there for anyone who could afford it and most of the internet rooms I used were being used mostly by Cubans. I have cited riding a Havana bus and watching tourists live it up as among the only certain human rights abuses in Cuba (nothing close to Nicaragua I’m sure you must remember), but, again in 2007, I easily saw actually a nearly spectacular increase and improvement happening in public transportation – everywhere even including Havana. Maybe it all ended as soon as I left. In 1989, I was amazed to find the elsewhere maligned Cuba looking just fine. As soon as I left, though, according to all I read in the embedded western media for the next 10 years, it fell straight into the toilet. Amazingly again, when I returned in 2000, I found Cuba looking just fine. Keeping closer tabs for the next 8 years, in 7 visits, I saw Cuba gradually improving and always looking fine enough any time I was there. But every time I went away it immediately reverted to miserable, according to the capitalist press elsewhere. But each time I went back, it looked fine again. Really, on foot, alone and seriously getting into every level of society in 16 Latin American countries, going from actual site to actual site, I’ve found Cuba to be the most civilized country south of the Rio Bravo – up to 2007. But I’ve been surfing the Havana Times for the last 5 hours this morning and most of what I’ve read and, including most of the lumpen-level international blogs you’re attracting and which all your international readers read, are making it clear, at least to your American audience that, ever since I last flew away (maybe I should stay there) Cuba has sunk to a level that should make it easy for the CIA to instigate an uprising and justify a NATO invasion. Is that what you want? -Glen Roberts –

  • January 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question .
    This does clear up my perceptions of your thinking and will be of great help in future debates.
    Of course I disagree with your description of the deeply capitalist social democracies as either democratic ( capitalism is never democratic) or socialist since you can no more be a little capitalist than you can be a little pregnant .
    Secondly , the Stalinists who ran those many countries and Communist Parties were never recognized by the Trotskyists nor the anarchists nor by academia as being socialist because no matter any prevailing thinking as to the nature of these Stalinist regimes, they were not bottom-up democratic as socialism and communism are.
    Again, regardless of the great numbers of people who wouldn’t know the history and origins of the two philosophies in a capitalist society whose primary educational systems, media and government have a deep seated interest in disinforming the great majority as to the true democratic nature of these systems, the definitions of socialism and communism as systems with necessarily a base in a democratic functioning icannot be overridden by popular thought .
    Two good analogies that relate would be the overwhelming support of the US population for the Iraq invasion that later turned to non-support when the truth came out about the fictitious WMDs.
    and the again overwhelming initial support for the Vietnam invasion which turned to widespread protest and opposition when the truth was revealed.
    The diseducation of the general population is both necessary and easy thing for the capitalist governments to do since they need to suppress popular demand for democracy and own some 95% of the media which enables them to do the necessary disinforming.
    Lastly, all the bullshit aside, it boils down to whether or not you believe in democracy or not and support the institutions and systems that work toward that ideal..

  • January 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

    I assume you are referring to Fidel & Raul, respectively. But what about their beasts? Don Quixote rode a broken down old nag while Sancho mounted an ass.

    Ok, I guess the metaphor still works…

  • January 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Dear John,

    There are many flavours of socialism out there for you to gaze at through the plate-glass window of your poli-sci courses. There’s the moderate social democracy of western political parties such as the British Labour Party, or Canada’s NDP. There are old-school Marxist-Leninist socialists, or their Trotskyist and Maoist dopplegangers. There is even a so-called bottom-up democratic socialism which you have been going on about.

    The form of bottom-up democratic socialism you describe, and which you say, incorrectly, is the only one supported by “academia”, by which I assume you mean academia in liberal democratic Western countries, has only recently become the preferred flavour of Western Leftists. I’m old enough to remember academics lecturing on the advantages, successes and wonders of old-school Marxist-Leninist socialism. The USSR, Cuba, East Germany, Vietnam, China and North Korea were all held up as model societies while their failures, crimes and genocides were excused or lied denied.

    Then as today, their gullible students lapped up that sweet Marxist milk as they chanted their slogans of indoctrination.

    It was only after the Soviet Union collapsed, the East Bloc dictatorships were swept away, and Maoism was quietly ushered out of Beijing that Western Leftist academics changed their tune. They should have been fired from their academic sinecures for their colossal intellectual fraud. But because they had climbed to the top of the academic heap and controlled the Departments of Whatever Studies and the guild-like faculty associations they live on to delude yet another generation of idealistic youngsters.

    Now they sing of “bottom-up, democratic socialism” or “socialism for the 2ist Century”, or “anti-authoritarian socialism”. Today their heroes are Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega and Evo Morales. Typically, their model societies don’t look anything like the utopian systems they proclaim, but then again, reality has never been academia’s strong point. The crimes of a few old heroes like Mao and Che are still denied and excused, while Joseph Stalin, in the role of the approved villain, is trotted out as evidence of their intellectual evolution. This same Uncle Joe whose boots they licked only yesterday.

    It’s the same old utopian tune, they just changed some of the lyrics. The fundamental intellectual and moral errors remain. The Great Lie of Socialism is that all of human suffering is caused by economic inequality and that all we need to do is give up all of our rights and freedoms to an all powerful State which will provide the people with all they need. That is the most inhuman idea ever conceived by Man and it has resulted only in mass misery.

    It is impossible to build a perfect socialist utopia, however you define it. Human nature will defeat it. Every time. Che’s New Man turned out to be Frankenstein’s Marxist Monster, a hideous creature with identical copies of Fidel’s head bolted onto the bodies of every Cuban man, woman and child. The head is held in place with the twin totalitarian bolts of fear and propaganda.

    Greed, narcissism, lust for power, fanaticism and cruelty will always be with us. If given absolute power, humans will always commit the same old crimes that they have always done. When people raise the flag of Utopia however defined the motivation for and expediency of mass murder soon follows in its wake.

    That is why I dispute (almost) everything you write. Your ideology flows from a proven intellectual and moral failure which has inflicted unequalled suffering on the human race. Smash the monster’s head and drive a steak into its heart, I say.

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