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Veronica Fernandez: I was born in the town of Regla, on the other side of Havana Bay. Over the years, many people from Regla have gone to live in Cojimar, fleeing the contamination from the petroleum refinery in Regla. That's what my family did when I was just four years old. Since I was a little girl I have been drawn to the arts and letters. Poetry and narrative writing are my favorites. I had the good fortune to study philology, a branch of the human sciences dealing with language and literature, at the University of Havana with top notch professors. As a Capricorn, I adore organization, people who are mature, the romantic things in life and the lack of self-interest that is the backbone of these times. I enjoy our typical Cuban food, (white rice, black beans, pork and yucca with garlic sauce) and also Italian food. I also like chocolate and drinking a mojito (rum cocktail) in the historic center of my city.

What Kind of Democracy Are We Talking About?

November 4, 2011 | Print Print |

Veronica Fernandez

Photo: Graham Sowa

Recently I participated in the National Conference of Communicators that takes place every year under the sponsorship of Cuba’s Ministry of Culture. This activity is much needed, which is why the conference attracts the participation of all of my colleagues from institutions, businesses, organizations and related offices across the country.

This is a chance for us to become updated on various issues related to this field of work.  It’s a program of contributions, debate and reflection with respect to communications strategies and policies.

Unfortunately, though, this work runs counter to the archaic and conservative concepts of many authorities who are still unable to value the work of people in this field.

Many approaches that were discussed were mere repeats of what had been presented on previous occasions and dealt with issues that I thought had been resolved.  Unfortunately, these problems are still in the way because the work of communicators is not taken into account and remains undervalued by many heads of national institutions.

In addition, there are bosses who pressure us because they think that television is the only medium through which activities can be effectively communicated.  They don’t care about other media such as the radio and print – and much less online communications.

Likewise, they require the realization of television spots to promote any type of activity regardless of the implications that this entails in terms of unnecessary expenses or the fact that sometimes these are directed at an audience that cannot participate in the activity – either because it’s a local event or because of certain restrictions on participation.

It’s obvious that in these events, in addition to controversy, there are also lessons.  They continue foot dragging on situations to which no response has been given and continue allowing immediate supervisors to hinder the professional development of communicators in institutions.

There’s no judicious selection of what is wanted for promotion nor is there careful identification of the target audience.  The worst thing is that they continue to allow these issues to crop up, despite how much they analyze them.

On multiple occasions, Raul Castro has urged us to change our mentality, our way of thinking and acting, because we can no longer afford to continue making mistakes.

Now I wonder: If it’s so difficult to change the mind of a manager to promote cultural activities through the mass media, then how is it going to be possible to change their thinking regarding major economic issues related to health care, education, food supply and other sectors that directly affect the development of our society?

It’s completely misguided to make changes or at even hope for glimpses of change while situations like this occur, with stubborn and narrow-minded bosses who believe that what matters is their power over others with experience and proven records of accomplishment.

What kind democracy are we talking about if when we voice alternative solutions to these problems we end up being put on the blacklist of those considered “unsuitable” and therefore subject to be laid off?

 


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