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March 2012
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    Press Transparency Castro Style / Miriam Celaya

    Press Transparency Castro Style / Miriam Celaya
    Miriam Celaya, Translator: Unstated

    When, during the First Conference of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC)
    held in January, the General declared that the Revolutionary press
    should be transparent, there were those who believed him. Even some
    professionals of the official press (which is a very particular
    specialty) bowed their little heads sadly, eyes tearing up, when the
    Second Ancient One of the dynastic order, with admonitory finger raised
    to show his disgust, gave them on that occasion a small but severe
    reprimand. They had to banish secrecy from the Revolutionary press.
    Clearly, the employees of disinformation didn't manage to offer, in the
    newspapers, the necessary turn it would take to really make it seem that
    the General was renewing things.

    Since then the hacks began to develop a crypto-critical style, which
    consists of criticizing some painful details of the Cuban reality, but
    in a way so cryptic that the blame and responsibility for the evils
    falls on the corrupt and quasi-anonymous bureaucrats and functionaries,
    never on the system, the "Revolution" or — much less! — against the
    figures of the old men who call themselves "the historics."

    Just in case, and to avoid creating a chaotic opinion that would benefit
    the schemes of their enemies, this style carefully doses such critiques
    with praise for the extraordinary social end economic advances, such as
    the hand crafting of building blocks in the municipality of Sierpe, or
    the production of potatoes in Sagua de Tánamo. That is what is truly
    momentous and what the General and his Greek Chorus of the Ink call
    transparent journalism.

    But other voices have decided to do journalism and to report in a
    transparent manner, so the official press is having a little difficulty
    maintaining the tone. Citizen journalism is where there are no reporters
    from the official newspaper, Granma, and the other government media.
    Because of this we have been made aware of events that are not published
    officially on the Island, but that are happening, such as, for example,
    the hunger strike of Dr. Jeovany Jimenez Vega in Guanajay, to demand
    that he be reinstated in his job, that has already gone on for 18 days.

    Or the recent incident that occurred at Vento and 100th, in this
    capital, where it's said that a car from the Venezuelan embassy was
    attacked and hit (by bullets, say some; by stones, say others), but the
    truth is that it happened and numerous contradictory rumors about it are
    circulating without the official press bothering to offer its own version.

    As if so much murkiness weren't sufficient, the official maneuver has
    been "to inform" the nuclei of the PCC in workplaces that two
    anti-socials stoned an embassy car "from our sister Bolivarian Republic
    of Venezuela," which creates major confusion, as the most naive wonder
    what reasons anyone would have to injure representatives of our
    benefactor of the moment.

    Moreover, this procedure implies that only the Party militants, barely a
    small fraction of the Cuban population, not only have the right to a
    kind of information that doesn't reach the rest of Cubans, but also the
    responsibility to "counter the distortions of the enemy which is trying
    to confuse the people." Some militants, however, suggest that it would
    be much easier for the official press itself to clarify the many doubts
    and to eliminate those risks.

    But I am a citizen journalist in good faith. Perhaps now the press will
    come out with an explanation about the subversive posters that appeared
    yesterday, March 22, on 33rd Street in the Playa municipality, in this
    capital. And I also hope to know what else was there, in addition to
    posters, that justified the enormous number of police and other members
    of the Interior Ministry (MINIT) who swarmed within a wide perimeter of
    the area. For now, the only thing that is transparent in the General's
    press is the total lack of transparency.

    March 23 2012

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