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Jimmy Roque Martinez: I was born in Havana in 1979, and it seems that work has been my sign. Custodian, fish farmer, lens carver, welder, glass maker, optometrist, have been some of my trades. But none consumes as much of my time as caring for my family. For many years I’ve faced the least pretty face of this society, and I try to be happy while I transform it. I am too shy. I like silence, sleep, theater and movies. I hate injustice and arrogance, and I can hardly contain my anger when it happens in front of me.

The Cuban Media Is Simply a Disgrace

September 16, 2016 | Print Print |

Jimmy Roque Martinez

cuban-media

Foto: radionuevitas.icrt.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Last July, the controversial speech given by the assistant director of the official Granma newspaper during a meeting of the Cuban Journalists Association circulated around the internet and was passed around on USB sticks on the island.

As we already know, Holguin reporter Jose Ramirez Pantoja published the contents of this speech in full on his personal blog. However, this act of journalistic and human integrity was “rewarded” with the journalist’s immediate firing from the Cuban government radio station where he worked.

Day after day, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the Cuban government’s madness and stupidity know no bounds.

A few years ago, Cuba’s vice-president, Miguel Diaz Canel, defended the role Cuban journalism plays and its duty to report the truth.

However, as well as the government’s traditional censorship of right-wing media, a few months ago, they also began to shut down various blogs on their own Cubava platform, such as Observatorio Critico, Proyecto Arcoiris,  Bubusopia, amongst others.

Then young government journalists who also contribute to independent media were threatened.

Now, they’ve fired a professional for informing his readers, for having published an opinion that the vast majority of Cuban journalists working in all kinds of media agree with.

Furthermore, the journalist Fernando Ravsberg and his website Cartas desde Cuba, are being pressured by the government.

We know that Internet on the island is expensive, but a percentage of the people have access to it and they look up the news. There is also the “weekly package”, which is self-censored so that it can continue to survive, but it always has one or another piece of politically interesting news or tongue-in-cheek criticism.

A new initiative has also been set up which offers an alternative package, “el paquetito”, where the content is exclusively political and includes articles and videos, which are mostly produced by Cuba’s right-wing opposition.

Likewise, many Cubans receive news from a lot of blogs that send out their bulletins by email. Miami TV channels are also watched in many Havana neighborhoods, illegally.

This is why it doesn’t make any sense to continue on with this absurd censorship. The truth can’t be hidden for much longer. It’s time for the government to face the facts and accept that they are losing control over the information that many Cuban people are taking in.

Cuban government media is discredited in the eyes of the Cuban people; very few believe it anymore. Printed newspapers are only bought to substitute toilet paper at home, because the latter is so expensive.

The Cuban population is aging and young people are emigrating, so if the government censors and tramples on the dignity of those who are talented and want to work, they won’t have many other choices.

Many of them will leave the country, others will join the opposition, several will give in to their censors and continue to write for alternative media channels using pen names, while some will become mediocre and accept the censorship.

In any case, the government will not be able to recover its yesteryear status as the country’s “only informer”.

The situation today is a disgrace, but I don’t believe that trivialities, silliness, birthday celebrations that nobody is interested in, hiding the truth and the manipulation of Cuba’s government media, will last for much longer.

It’s unsustainable out of a question of respect, but more than anything, because alternative media outlets are becoming more and more accessible.


What's your opinion?

  • Ken Hiebert

    I am linking to another article on this topic. It may be grounds for more optimism.

    http://cubasocialistrenewal.blogspot.ca/2016/09/struggle-over-cuban-press-intensifies.html

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    Cuba does not have any true media. The press, radio and television are all 100% controlled and operated by the Castro dictatorship with the able assistance of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of Cuba. Jose Ramirez Panjota was fired for giving out uncensored information.
    It is illegal to import a TV dish, shortwave radio is blocked and there is imposed censorship upon literature.
    Jimmy Roque Martinez is correct in observing that “the Cuban government’s madness and stupidity know no bounds.” That’s an excellent summation of Castro socialismo.

  • Griffin

    Thank you for that off-topic rant. The US has press freedom, and as sometimes happens, a huckster like Trump will make a fool of reporters. If you’ve followed how the media has enabled Trump for months, providing him with free advertising, then you know that the US media is full of willing fools.

    You should also know, neither Carlyle, nor Moses nor myself are Trump supporters. So we’re happy to continue your criticism of the Castro dictatorship in Cuba.

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      Thank you Griffin! Sally Gayle says that “You are all fully aware how press freedom is trampled on by the Cuban government.” Her statement implies that there is or was during the last fifty seven years, some degree of press freedom when in reality there has been none.
      One of the difficulties when responding to the communist totalitarian regime supporters who contribute to these pages, is that few if any of them fully comprehend the depth of difficulties faced by the people of Cuba in existing day by day.
      Many of those Castro regime supporters are US citizens, who because they have insufficient knowledge of the reality in Cuba, necessarily have to resort to describing their own frustrations with their own government which they and their fellow US citizens have chosen to elect. Those comments are immaterial to discussion about Cuba.
      Donald Trump is a candidate for the Presidency of the US because Americans selected him from a substantial slate of candidates. One can only conclude that their is a mass admiration for the narcissistic in the US.

      • Charlie

        Carlyle, there are U.S. marines who are “Black” there are also pedestrians who seek to learn through the process of dialectics. The problem is that Cuban music costs a fortune and its language even more so. As a Scott you were entitled to land in the U.S. under the colonial designation of being “White”, you recall that you were the manifestation of the Aztecs saviour. Personally I have a hard time believing anything you say. That’s for free singleton. The truth is your so worried by the toilet paper, sorry media, that you worry what would happen if tourists started download. As a good pusher, I’m sure you’re going to start charging for your comments eventually, but I always thought the Peace Corps was for volunteers. What amazes me is that crack was invented at all. Genius.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          It is obvious that crack works effectively for you Charlie. Good luck!

  • Artemisa

    Hay Carinos que Matan !!! Quiero tanto a Nuestra Revolucion, que no quisiera oir hablar de ella jamas, en Cuba, la unijca verdad que existe, es que todo es una Mentira y una Manipulacion !!!