By Francisco Acevedo
HAVANA TIMES – I never saw a Con Filo (sharp edge) TV program known for slandering critical voices but I thought I had witnessed a historic event when I heard out of the corner of my eye that it was their last program. The imaginary antennae of the news turned on immediately while my wife was waiting for the soap opera. However, the wings of my heart fell when, not seeing any reason for such an abandonment, became reality: it was a see you soon, not a goodbye.
Its TV presenters will be taking a pause. They say it is to travel to Germany to talk about the media war against Cuba (read the Cuban government), and that they will be improving the program with Russian, Venezuelan, and even Chinese advice. So, maybe what comes back to the island will be a show talking more about the world than about the national reality, like most of the opinion media products that are broadcast on the island.
I don’t think the level of ridiculousness will go down, quite the contrary, perhaps with better packaging with digital techniques, but with the same pretentiously “intelligent” message, but no more than the same propaganda trying to be attractive and reach young people, but without achieving either.
That trolling about the end of the program is nothing more than a small break they will take, and when they return, we will probably hear them talk more about Iran, China, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Russia than about Cuba.
By the way, while we continue to wait for the application of the new colonization of Cuba by Russia, we already see the accelerated process of Russification, with the creation of Russia Days included in university centers, for example.
The “ideal partner”, who is thousands of kilometers away and who by idiosyncrasy has little or nothing to do with Cuban culture, found an outlet for its products, stagnant because nobody wants to buy from them to fatten their wallet and encourage the construction of more missiles, tanks, and planes.
No one knows how long the war against Ukraine will last, but I am almost sure that when it is over Russian businessmen will take stock and realize that shipping their goods to the other side of the world is much more expensive than selling them to their European neighbors. Not to mention that I would bet my house that sooner or later Cuba begins to go into debt because it does not have hard currency to pay for what it needs.
Not to mention that nothing that comes from there will be from a Russian socialist state company, but from private producers who are capitalist to the extreme. I ask, is it better to generate more income and jobs in Russia and enrich the Russian business community than to empower Cuban entrepreneurs?
Along this path we will continue to be purely consumers, dependent on imports and with our industry at zero. I don’t think that this way we will be more sovereign or independent, and the worst thing is that we already experienced it when the socialist camp collapsed, and we were left with one hand in front and the other behind. For this reason, like someone who does not want things, the doors are left open to some US businesspeople who are still interested in doing business with Cuba, but always on a small scale. The famous “we don’t want them, we don’t need them” is still a fallacy, but it can’t be said out loud either.
The bottom line continues to be gaining time in power so that the dictatorship continues doing its thing and not empowering Cuban civil society in order to have a strong and thriving economy that does not depend on being conquered by Russia, Venezuela or anyone else.
Talent continues to leave
The decision of musician Haydee Milanes to leave Cuba might seem like something irrelevant, but it is yet another example of how difficult it is to continue in this country when you think differently. Her positions in recent years, particularly after the 2020 events in the San Isidro neighborhood and 27-N (that protest by artists in front of the Ministry of Culture that ended in nothing, as always), were already too radical.
Her words of encouragement for those who demanded their rights did not sit well with Díaz-Canel, Marrero and company; and without becoming an activist it was enough just to talk about it. The messages urging her to shut up through institutions, officials, friends and even family members were trying the patience of the daughter of Pablo Milanes, a singer-songwriter like her dad, and a good one.
The bad experiences lived by her personal friends led Haydee to question whether it was worth it to continue living on the island, where many doors had also been closed to her, and seeing her country falling apart and with so much lost talent and disappointment everywhere. She didn’t want her daughter to grow up in that environment either. Her decision is nothing more than the reflection of several generations, fed up with waiting for a turnaround and seeing that you are wasting your life without seeing results.
The vast majority of those who take time to choose the path of exile in the end do so precisely for their children, because they have already seen how life passes by for their parents and grandparents without seeing the country they want and thus prefer to leave everything behind to bequeath to their descendants better opportunities.
After the July 11, 2021, protests and especially after the Combat Order issued by Diaz Canel, the mask of the dictatorship fell completely, and although internationally it tries to mask it, nothing will be the same, even for those who enjoy some privileges and apparently have not changed so as not to lose them.
With or without the Con Filo show, with Russia or without Russia, the situation continues to be unsustainable with all the shortages and daily hardships ordinary Cubans face. It is still a matter of time while consciences continue to awaken, because it is increasingly difficult to understand and defend that toxic love.