The Translators / Regina Coyula

Regina Coyula, 11 December 2015 — There are moments when not even knowing grammar saves you when the time comes  to decode information. News arrives of change in Latin America and on discussing it with people better educated and informed than average — people I know, who are convinced of the need for change in this country and want it as much as I — it turns out I see them repeating like a catechism the same views from a lady who commented on television, someone not characterized by the acuity of her arguments, or those of the announcers and guests on the Telesur channel, which though it is a paradigm of media manipulation from the left (?), at least has the decency to cover events “in real time,” and when I put this information together with what I got from other means, I can judge for myself.

These commentators on the news have the habit of translating for the Cuban public the intentions, personality and projects of government opponents (in the interests of the government, if it relates to the Cuban government), but never, for variety, do they let me hear it from the mouths of the protagonists themselves.

Thus, Macri, the brand new Argentine president is almost always “the ultra-rightwing millionaire,” and “the neo-liberal,” a terrible man who systematically and out of pure envy will dismantle all the achievements of the “Gained Decade,” as the Kirchner era is referred to [as the previous ten years are referred to as the “Lost Decade.”]

Yesterday, this terrible gentleman surprised me with a temporizing and patriotic speech. Without raising his tone or relying on boastful histrionics, he seemed an individual of sufficient intelligence to not reject the positive left by his predecessors. Despite the lugubrious tones in which I have painted him, he is aware that he will govern with the approval of half the voters and, therefore, was very attuned to building bridges to understanding.

To talk about the fight against corruption, the independent character of the judiciary, and adherence to the law sounds pretty good for a Latin American where both issues are scourges that corrode citizen wellbeing.

With the Venezuelan opposition that just took over the parliament, I’m left with the desire to know what it thinks, because my information only endorses what the losers will do: I see Capriles on the screen, but for those who don’t know who he is, it was a face in the background for a few seconds while in a voice over one of those translators, the preachers of Armageddon, didn’t stop predicting catastrophes.

And there must be great nervousness given the spoils of Chavismo achieved by Maduro, because the prerogatives of a two-thirds parliamentarian majority like that achieved by the opposition, range from reassigning crucial positions (such as that of Tibisay Lucena herself, president of the National Electoral Council), to promoting referendums and changes in the Constitution.

But we don’t hear this; we Cubans see on the screen agitated Venezuelans asserting that they won’t let the Revolution end. Seeing such venting before the cameras, I would tell them: “You keep on with your revolution while the rest of Venezuelans are busy rebuilding a country.”

I won’t talk about the treatment of events in Syria, Russia, Brazil, Spain, China or the United States, because I would have to surrender to fatigue. Meanwhile, the translators with broadband who can look at any newspaper, webpage, interview or analysis published, prepare a corrected and degraded version of reality for the masses.