The Latest Notorious Case of Censorship in the Cuban Media

The Facundo case: a poorly called “out”

By Aurelio Pedroso (Progreso Semanal)

Andy Vazquez as Facundo.

HAVANA TIMES – What happened to actor Andy Vazquez, and the characters Facundo Correcto, Bienvenido or Aguaje, on the hit TV show “Vivir del Cuento”, has surpassed that old sentence (which has been far too Cubanized) that you can “yank the chain, but don’t touch the monkey.” To the point that it seems that they shook an ape’s cage, whose portrait was reflected on Cuban TV, every Monday.

In my profession, like nearly everywhere else in the world, writing our opinions is another one of our duties. I will defend that it must be respected, accepted and not at all silenced, right up until my dying breath. And, I’ll go one step further. It doesn’t only exist in journalism, but in everyday civic life, and is a democratic exercise that many people took up, especially in the heated popular debates about the Constitution.

We don’t know all of the details yet because this information quite simply hasn’t been made public, except for recent statements from Cubavision director, Rafael Perez, which appeared on Facebook. Those who should have come forward from the very beginning and cleared up what had really happened, have kept a deadly silence. In short, Perez told a practically unknown news platform that the actor hadn’t been fired by the Cuban Radio and Television Institute (ICRT).

However, what has been said on social media has been a whole ‘nother story, which has amounted to an unparalleled reaction from the public (like few other times when it’s been an interesting piece of news). Remember that there are almost four million cellphones being used on the island.

Beyond what the charismatic actor said or didn’t say about civil and business unrest during the inauguration of the new Cuatro Caminos market in Havana, the underlying problem is minimal or zero transparency about events that greatly affect the Cuban people. It isn’t actor Andy Vazquez’s responsibility to tell us, but those who control the country’s information policy from the highest circles of government to a representative from a certain government body or ministry which has been thinking two or three weeks to give an answer, if they finally decide to give an answer that is.

I never imagined that things would go this far. If it’s a matter of imagination, I would like to know one day who made such a ridiculous decision, if it was a joint decision or not, and who voted for and against it. Everything, because they’ll need to be put down on a list of the most fearsome.

Years ago, in the mid-’80s or so, I had a one-off meeting with an important leader of these information and ideological matters. That extraordinarily lucid man confessed that they had to take extreme care with information because a poorly called “out” in the Latinoamericano stadium could turn the capital upside down.”

I believe this is what has happened now. That’s why people are extremely upset with this latest episode of censorship, which still continues in chiaroscuro tones.

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2 thoughts on “The Latest Notorious Case of Censorship in the Cuban Media

  • Do not be manipulative and liars. I saw the last show of that artist, and it left a lot to talk about. On television he was great, but his live performances not so much, the mockery towards people from the public, misogyny, homophobia, etc. Come on, cheap humor, and not at all consistent with attempts to build a better society. But you know that, and that’s why you defend him, as well as defend the most vulgar reggaeton, that deforms a society and especially young people. And that is essential to achieve a transition in Cuba, right?!

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