Voices Of Official Journalism Strike Against A Foreign Correspondent /
14ymedio, Mario Penton
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 30 January 2017 — The controversy between
the most radical wing of Cuban officialdom and the correspondent of
Uruguayan origin resident in Cuba, Fernando Ravsberg, is rising in tone.
The latest blasts from the most orthodox defenders of "revolutionary"
journalism call out nine alleged false pieces of news from the
communicator. The list is preceded by a phrase resuscitated from former
leader Fidel Castro, who in 2006 called the then BBC correspondent in
Havana "the greatest liar," for daring to question his energy revolution
in the midst of blackouts.
The animosity toward Ravsberg is not new; he was fired from the BBC and
is now a correspondent for the leftist Spanish publication Publico. Last
August the vice president of the Journalists and Writers Union (UPEC),
Aiza Hevia, launched the first darts against the journalist for his
defense of the ousted official journalist José Ramírez Pantoja, of Radio
Holguin. On that occasion she even floated the idea of expelling him
from the country.
"The pack is coming, hungry for revenge," said Ravsberg through his
blog, Letters from Cuba.
"They shout that I am part of conspiracy of the international
information monopolies against the Cuban Revolution but they omit that I
work on a leftist publication because it doesn't help their defamation
campaigns," he said
The latest controversy arose when Ravsberg published a critical note
about the Cuban economy on his blog, accompanied by a caricature of a
tortoise leaving a trail with the colors of the Cuban flag. This led to
several official journalists feeling especially offended.
Carlos Luque Zayas launched the first stone from a blog. Under the title
"Ravsberg: From Insult to Manipulation," the journalist wrote an article
to "protest" the use of national symbols. Next, from Granma, the
official organ of the Communist Party, Pedro de la Hoz wrote, "You can
agree or disagree with the contents of the controversial note, but the
grotesque manipulation of one of our patriotic symbols cannot be
Ravsberg counterattacks saying that in the Cuban media the image of the
flag is used indiscriminately. He offers as an example the case of the
"thousands of flags" which everyone walks over in every parade organized
by the authorities in the Plaza of the Revolution.
For the Uruguayan journalist, who spent more than 20 years working on
the island as a correspondent for foreign media, "there is a lot more
than offended patriots" behind the attacks on his work.
"There is a campaign organized by the extremists," he says, with the
Cuban government's intention "for years" to expel him from the country.
"They do not support a different voice, nor different optics. For
extremists the only truth is 'their truth' and all other criteria must
disappear or at least remain in a fearful silence while they become the
only voice, "he adds.
In the revolutionary blogosphere, there are those who even questioned
his seriousness as a journalist. Iroel Sánchez, one of the most
sectarian (and official) bloggers on the island and also a staunch
critic of Ravsberg, accuses him of being "promoter of apocryphal
interviews with anonymous subjects."
Ravsberg, who was criticized in the past for his closeness to the
regime, defends himself by saying that "no matter how much the
obscurantist forces do," Cuba advances.
According to the journalist, with regards to the alternative digital
media that has emerged during recent years on the Island, "a way of
doing a journalism has emerged that is already far removed from the
infantile topics of the extremes."
"They call on the government to use force because they know they are
incapable of participating in a battle of ideas, where they would have
to fight with arguments and proposals."
Source: Voices Of Official Journalism Strike Against A Foreign
Correspondent / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -