Official Journalism in Cuba: Empty Nutshells
February 14, 2017
By Vicente Morin Aguado
HAVANA TIMES — On February 7th, the Cuban Communist Party's (PCC) press
published several articles about the reporting behavior of young people
belonging to the government's journalism sector. Before that, on January
20th, a comment made by Yeilen Delgado Calvo in Juventud Rebelde under
the heading "I declare myself a dissident" caught a lot of attention.
It's clear why the aged leadership is concerned with the behavior of
their inevitable successors.
Basically, the cited journalist is referring to a friend, annoyed
because after criticizing problems which were never specified in a
direct and clear manner, he was called a dissident. His response, always
using the same lingo and characteristic allegories of the Cuban
"communist" press, can be summarized as the following:
"I know he is a dissident of many things: of wrong-doings, sloppiness,
conformity, people who talk a lot about the Homeland but don't hold this
within their hearts."
"The question isn't about being a dissident, but in what being a
"We have let ourselves get carried away with the word "dissident" by
those who know very little about principles and patriotism. A dissident
is somebody who dissents, to dissent is to separate yourself from the
mainstream doctrine, belief or behavior."
"I am a dissident of stagnation, of demagogy, of complacent people, as
well as of hypocrites, of those who hide information, of empty speeches,
of a lack of effort, of scarce commitment, of inertia…"
What do you make of that sentence? It's hard not to be in favor of this
in theory, but as Marx and Lenin hammered home hard, the issue has to be
resolved in practice, the criterion of truth.
That's why Jesus Arencibia Lorenzo's review about an intervention made
before February 7th, where renowned reporters from Latin America's
left-wing press attended, Stella Calloni and Alberto Salcedo Ramos, was
surprising. The former was an Argentinian, too closely linked to the
Cuban government to say anything interesting. That wasn't the case with
the Colombian though who ended up moving away from what Yeilen labeled
"common doctrine, belief or behavior", talking about his and our country."
Among other things, repeated by Arencibia Lorenzo in Juventud Rebelde on
February 7th, Salcedo said:
"I'm a journalist because I like to listen and tell stories. Because I
like to know what is going on beyond my nose. Because it's extremely
hard for me to keep quiet. Because I like to leave memories behind, a
testimony which can help us understand what we're like, where we come
from, why we are the way we are."
"I believe that this profession has been wasting a lot of time trying to
make affirmations. It's always seemed very suspicious to me that
philosophers doubt and journalists affirm."
"I like journalists who go out looking for the truth, but I don't trust
those who believe they have found it."
"It's about writing stories, chronicles, articles, to place the news
within a context, within a reason of why it's happening, that goes
beyond the basic facts."
Dealing with the country's current reality, it can be concluded: no
philosophical truths which have been placed in doubt for some time now,
zero phrasing and a lot of concrete, raw reality, just like we are
The Colombian journalist, used to risking his life in an extreme
country, ended by saying: "And I believe that no tricks, from any
ideology, are good."
It seems that there is a call for dissidence within the PCC press, but
those who really practice this aren't rubbing their hands together just
yet because in Cuba, from time to time, a lot of noise is made but
that's all it is, noise.
It is simply needed to cool the pressure cooker because real dissidents
within the world of Cuban information are increasing everyday, including
irreverent young people who are working for government media, some of
whom are made an example of and punished for their daring behavior.
For now, signing off this present article, I will also take what was
written in Juventud Rebelde as my own: I also declare myself a dissident.
Vicente Morin Aguado: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Official Journalism in Cuba: Empty Nutshells - Havana Times.org