Bad Handwriting in La Joven Cuba (24)

Translator’s note: This post is part of a series of conversations Regina is engaging in with the bloggers at La Joven Cuba.

Why doesn’t the Cuban system collapse?

For Alberto for your question of Friday.

I admire the ingenuity of a journalism student. If you didn’t read the Nuevo Herald or one of those newspapers “waging a media campaign against Cuba,” you would have learned of the dead at Mazorra — Havana’s Psychiatric Hospital — when it was already old news in the world. That the national press doesn’t report demonstrations, arrests, police violence, is simply evidence that they don’t publish it, not that it doesn’t exist.

It’s likely that reading those foreign newspapers leaves the impression of a catastrophe (as you call it), but as a student dedicated to a profession so mutilated in Cuba, to open the national press and is to achievements and victories.

Look at last Friday’s Granma; not only does a fifty-year-old photo occupy two-thirds of the front page, but on the inside pages photos taken on the same date are given a full-page. If austerity forces the newspaper to be so small, at least print the news, not propaganda.

The Cuban government is much more of a dictatorship than the complacent mention. Your argument about moral authority is relevant to validate a government in power for half a century. For me, the economic and social crisis we are submerged in is proof enough to demonstrate that no one should be in power for such a long time.

You should do a better job yourself of documenting Fidel’s resignation and the ouster of Urrutia, because your sources tell it in a way that reflects their own self-interest. Did it never occur to you to think it important that if this project has the support of the majority of the population (as was the case), the need for a leader is overrated?

To speak of a majority who support it and a few who don’t could awaken some surprises for you. If you look back to the extinct USSR and Eastern Europe, you would know why I say this. But if your meter is the elections and the political acts, I understand; as I find a lack of transparency in all this, it prevents me from taking it as true. And I’m not saying that the government — the government, not the Revolution — doesn’t enjoy a majority, but not with the percentage the press tells us, of which you will soon be a part.

As history is not your strong point, I refer you to it. Cuba and Puerto Rico ended the Spanish empire in the Americas in 1898, the rest had done it in 1829. There were more counter-guerrillas fighting for the Crown than there were mambises — independence fighters. In the entire Republican history, those who faced off against the government were a small group, some 20,000 Cubans was a figure cited by Miguel Angel Quevado at a time when they lifted press censorship to galvanize public opinion. The courage of the Cuban at these times has been less heroic: resistance and navigation by oars.

Yes. Cubans talk of horrors and then parade in a march in support of the government. I’m not saying citizens don’t go to these marches convinced that we live in the best of all possible worlds, but if there is something that Cubans have learned it is not to express their thoughts openly. In a country where there is no lack of freedom, to express yourself critically as a citizen with rights, you lose your job, your lose your schooling.

January 20 2012

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