Although It’s Got a New Look… It’s Still the Roundtable

mesa_redondaFew TV shows have been the object of as many jokes and parodies as the Roundtable. Emerging from the heat of the so-called Battle of Ideas, this program shows the highest level of political proselytizing to be found in our national media. Its fundamental principal is to overwhelm the television audience with official opinion, without allowing access for contrary or critical views. To denigrate the nonconformists, with no right to respond, is among the most repeated tactics at the microphones of this incredibly boring broadcast. Everything is based on the premise that we live in “paradise” while the rest of the world is falling apart all around us.

As of September 10, the Roundtable has reduced its “on air” time by half an hour. It has also modernized its set and even seems to have added a brand new iPad for the exclusive use of the moderator. The camera angles are bolder and some of its chubby participants have been put on diets. They hope, with these tweaks, to add something of modernity to what was covered with the thick dust of the anachronistic. However, the main precepts governing the program remain intact. The most obvious is the absence of plurality and the resulting monotony that results when everyone thinks alike.  And, a great contradiction, this kind of rubbish pays its journalists the highest salaries known in the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT).

My words on this program, however, may be too influenced by the work I also do in the information field. I will illustrate the opinion many Cubans have with a recent anecdote. A little while ago, a friend was outside a police station demanding the release of an activist who had been arbitrarily detained. Her cellphone rang and it was her father calling. He was afraid because his neighbor had told him that his daughter was mixed up with “dissidents.” In the heat of the situation, my friend only managed to answer, “Papi, I already told you, don’t watch the Roundtable any more!” This simple phrase accentuates the gulf between our national reality and the script of this televised soapbox. She was telling her father that he continued to believe in a Cuba that doesn’t exist, a country where no arrests happen outside the law, there are no police threats, no repudiation rallies. An apocryphal nation that only exists from Monday through Friday, for one hour… on our small screen.

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28 thoughts on “Although It’s Got a New Look… It’s Still the Roundtable

  1. Se, I just need a little to make all you losers turn your coats inside out and show your true faces, just like the “friendly” translator.

    Hypocrites.

    When you were calling for assasination of Castros, no one was complaining. Go look at your own posts from between a year back to three years ago. Calls for murdering Castros were the order of the day.

    Basta ya says the “friendly” transator who doesn’t even speak Spanish!!!

    Give me a break, will you?

    Bunch of nazist servants, liars, traitors and terrorists complain about “death threats”…!!!

    Little di*k**ss scum.

  2. Help — You make a good point. I’ll take it under consideration!

    On the other hand… this would be a much better forum if people stuck to attacking (or supporting, or just commenting on) ideas, events, Yoani’s words, the regime’s words and actions, etc. rather than attacking each other as individuals. (Not to mention suggesting killing each other.)

    There’s really no value in that and I suspect it greatly limits the number of people who want to join the discussion here… If it’s just a place for screaming, it’s not very interesting.

    YFET

  3. Isn’t Damir just a big, bad mofo behind his computer screen. Probably compensating for lack of….something else.

    Priceless, a band of ragtag “defenders” of Cuba. And “yet to be trained” at that. Some people must really have no lives whatsoever.

  4. I think Damir’s posts should be left up.

    At least the ones with death threats and death wishes and psychotic hatred.

    Let the world see what drives Marxism and anti-Americanism.

  5. Dummy Damir:

    F*CK only has one *.

    An “international brigade” to fight against invaders of Cuba?

    Hahaaaaaaaaaa!!! I’m sure this “international” brigade could get themselves all down there before Cuba was invaded LOL. Anyway, who, in the year 2012, would bother to invade Cuba?

    Damir said:

    “If it were for me, I’d use the “laws” of your beloved “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” and execute you on the spot.”

    Why, Damir, how very Che Guevara of you!!!

  6. FOX NEWS LATINO: Cuba’s Ladies in White say celebration blocked

    The dissident Ladies in White group denounced repressive action by the Cuban government to keep its members from taking part in activities they organized to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mercy, patroness of prisoners.

    “The purpose of the repression is to keep us from taking part in the four days of activities honoring former political prisoners” that began Friday with a Mass in remembrance of deceased Cuban dissidents like Laura Pollan, Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero,” Ladies in White spokeswoman Berta Soler told Efe.

    More than 40 Ladies in White from different provinces, according to the dissident, were stopped from traveling to Havana and were sent back home.

    “We don’t know where some of them are,” Soler said Sunday.

    The homes of some 12 members who live in Havana “were under siege by state security forces, and when they came outside they were arrested, while others were detained (Sunday) before reaching Santa Rita Church, Soler said.

    The street where the group has its headquarters at the home of its late leader Laura Pollan in the Centro Habana neighborhood, is blocked to traffic and police are allowing no pedestrians to enter unless they live in that avenue, Soler said.

    Soler made her statement upon leaving Mass in the Havana parish of Santa Rita, where the group goes every Sunday after making a peaceful march on behalf of human rights and freedom for political prisoners.

    Some 30 women attended the religious service on Sunday and then marched down Fifth Avenue in the Cuban capital.

    The group was to hold a vigil to Our Lady of Mercy later and on Monday planned to go to the church of the same name to plead for freedom for political prisoners and human rights, Soler said.

    The Ladies in White movement was founded to demand the release of opposition members of the so-called “Group of 75,” who were sentenced to prison for up to 28 years during the government crackdown known as the “Black Spring” of 2003, accused of conspiring with the United States.

    The last 52 dissidents of that group of prisoners were freed between mid-2010 and early 2011 following a negotiation of the island’s government with the Catholic Church.

    latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/09/24/cuba-ladies-in-white-say-celebration-blocked/

  7. 291 RCR !! IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO TO RESPOND TO ME BABY?? I WAS EXPECTING SOMETHING MORE COHERENT AND INTELLIGENT! GUESS I EXPECT TO MUCH FROM YOU CASTRO AGENTS/APOLOGISTS!

  8. # 11 Humberto lets start a list:
    - fall and roll over in it
    = throw it into the air and see it fall to the ground
    - put it under a mattress
    - donate to Obamas campain
    - they put it in off shore banks so they don’t have to pay income taxes
    - change it into pennys and throw them against the wall
    - put it into the system to pay for the “free” eduction and medicare
    - provide food care
    - support international students to study in Cuba
    Humberto those remittance sounds to me like a hella of a good deal. I think you should promote it so it grows at least 20% each year.

  9. Griffin,

    You raise an interesting point, one that has been discussed on this forum in the past, but not for quite some time.

    How, in a post-Castro Cuba, do you propose that we deal with all of that expropriated, stolen property in Cuba? Who will retain it and how will those who lost it be compensated? Who will do the compensating? Who will assess value and make those decisions?

    Much of the stolen property includes houses where people live today. Other stolen property includes factories and places of business. Memory is long. People don’t forget what was taken from them. I certainly don’t. One thing I’ve heard is that we should follow the South African model of reconciliation after apartheid ended, but is that realistic or even applicable to this crazy situation? I’d like to know what others think on this topic.

  10. Cuba Liar,

    The embargo was actually started by Fidel. He ordered the first actions of the embargo when he withdrew Cuba from international financial organizations like the IMF. He then announced Cuba would boycott US corporations. Then he ordered the expropriation of property in Cuba owned by American citizens or corporations. Kennedy finally reacted by announcing a US embargo of Cuba. The condition was made that for the embargo to end, Cuba would have to hold democratic elections and compensate
    US citizens and corporations for their stolen property. After stealing all US property in Cuba, Castro moved on to confiscate all Cuban owned corporations, farms and private businesses. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans were driven into exile. As a consequence of this action by Castro, the embargo conditions were expanded to include compensation for stolen Cuban private property. Meanwhile, Castro imposed an internal embargo on the Cuban people, blocking their access to free travel, free speech, and all the other freedoms and rights people enjoy in liberal democratic societies. Castro made Cuba a prison.

    To this date, Castro and his bootlickers like Cuba Liar, insist the US embargo be lifted without Cuba meeting any of the conditions required, nor requiring Cuba to lift the internal embargo that Castro imposed. We are supposed to reward the jailers who continue to imprison the Cuban people. Is that justice?

  11. Poor, poor cuba liar. Is that what you really want, free trade between the U.S. and Cuba, really? You’re a product of the Canadian educational system, so think it through, one baby step at a time. How would that affect your big plan to illegally buy a house in Cuba close to the beach for next to nothing? Do you really want market forces to invade your secret getaway? Just trying to help. I’m rooting for you, but you keep sabotaging the plan.

  12. Humberto is right, there is no embargo against Cuba, and no matter how long the Nazi trolls repeat it, there won’t be an embargo. The trade restrictions are against US businesses, so how the heck can that affect Cuba which trades freely with every other country in the world?

    Even some big US business are allowed to trade legally with Cuba, and to top it off, Americans are allowed to send unlimited food, medicine, and any other aid they want to Cuba. This has been allowed since 1959! The whole Cuban economy depends on the welfare that Americans send them!

    Castro and his goons just use the old Nazi tactic, tell the same lie again and again until they believe it. Bark at the hand that feeds them, but imagine how much they’d cry if the US government really put up an embargo.

    Oh, by the way, the US never fought at the Bay of Pigs. They pulled out all support at the last minute, and the Cuban freedom fighters were vastly outnumbered and outgunned by Castro’s Soviet led army.

    Keep up with the propaganda, don’t let facts get in your way.

  13. “And the pride on behalf of the Cuban government by letting all Cubans pay the price for its stubborness to prove they can manage without the US.”

    Why, Cuba Libre, what price have Cubans paid? According to you, Cuba is an island paradise!!!

  14. Cuba Libre! CAN YOU PROVIDE SPECIFIC DATA WITH A LINK, ON HOW THIS CALLED “EMBARGO” IS PUNISHING DIRECTLY THE CUBAN PEOPLE? WHILE I PROVIDE HARD DATA WITH LINKS ALL WE GET FROM YOU ARE GENERALITIES THROWN AROUND! SHOW ME THE NUMBERS AND ANALYSIS DUDE!

    Lift the Cuba Embargo ? WHAT EMBARGO! By Humberto (Bert) Corzo*

    In this article I analyze the arguments of lifting the Cuba embargo, which are more rhetorical than real, answering each one of the specific considerations of those that support the end of it.

    EFFECT OF THE EMBARGO

    The United States Government has always exempted from the embargo medicine and humanitarian supplies to the Cuban people, as long as such aid is distributed by independent non-governmental organizations (NGO) such as the Catholic Church and international organizations such as Pastors for Peace.

    Since 1992, the U.S. has approved 36 of 38 license requests for commercial sales of medicines and medical equipment to Cuba. During the period from 1993 to 1996, the U.S. has licensed over $150 million in humanitarian assistance, more than the total worldwide foreign aid received by Cuba in those years. This total does not include the millions of dollars in medicine and food sent to Cuba in the form of “care packages” from relatives living in the U.S. [1]

    In the year 2000 the Department of Commerce approved the export to Cuba of approximately $550 million in medicines, medical equipment, cash remittances, gift parcels and food (cash remittances and gift parcels account for about 75% of the total amount). The United States government’s embargo has had little effect on the Cuban economy, since it only represents 5 % of Cuba’s commerce with the rest of the world. The embargo only affects the American companies and their subsidiaries. The rest of the countries, 180 since the last count in 2007, are free to conduct business with Cuba and are doing so, as confirmed by imports surpassing $13.78 billions during 2007 [2]. In reality there is not such embargo since in the year 2000 the United States Congress lifted the prohibition of the sale of agricultural products and medicines to Cuba, thereby allowing Castro’s regime to buy everything it needs by paying in cash.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ACADEMIC PAPER WITH FOOTNOTES & EVERYTHING!

    http://www.cubanet.org/CNews/y09/abril09/09_O_3.html

  15. what does the US government have to gain by maintaining it embargo on Cuba anyways??? Do they fear that by allowing American businesses to do business in Cuba it will thrive and prove that their system works?? Why won`t the US allow free trade with Cuba like it does with all other North American countries??? Again fear that this will prove that the original blockade and embargo against Cuba.
    The original blockade was put in place by JFK to show his difference of opinion with Mr. Fidel Castro. Both Cubans and Americans have suffered because of this situation. Now over 50 years later, neither of the 2 men responsible for the blockade are in power anymore. JFK was killed, and Mr. Castro is hanging on to dear life. Why is the embargo still in effect??
    The answer is selfish pride. Pride on behalf of both governments. The pride of the great US of A not wanting to admit that Cuba has managed to survive without their help. The Americans were sure that Cuba would not last more than a couple of months without its help, boy were they wrong. And the pride on behalf of the Cuban government by letting all Cubans pay the price for its stubborness to prove they can manage without the US.
    Its about time both countries moved on to better things.

  16. WHERE DOES THE ALMOST $3 BILLION DOLLARS SENT TO CUBA BY THE GUSANOS FROM THE BAD OLD U.S.A. GO TO? WHO GETS MOST OF THIS MONEY? THE CASTROFASCISTS, WHO OWN THE DOLLAR STORES, THE TELEPHONE COMPANY E.T.E.S.C.A. AND ALL THE OTHER PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT YOU CAN ONLY GET THRU THEM! LETS JUST PUT IT THIS WAY, MOST OF THE AMERICAN MONEY SENT BY THE GUSANOS IS SPENT IN THE CASTROFASCISTS’ BUSINESSES, THUS IS TRADE, THUS NO REAL “EMBARGO”! IS JUST A NAME, EXCUSE TO JUSTIFY THE FAILURE OF THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY!

    THE HAVANA CONSULSTING GROUP: Opening up on both shorelines helps increase remittances sent to Cuba in 2011 by about 20% – By Emilio Morales & Joseph L. Scarpaci (THCG).– While Cubans debate the future of their economic model, measures taken by Raúl Castro since the Sixth Cuban Communist Party Congress held last April, are correlated with nearly exponential growth in remittances reaching the island. Nearly $2.3 billion USD entered the island through this venue last year, up about 19.5% over 2010.

    http://www.thehavanaconsultinggroup.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=324%3Aopening-up-on-both-shorelines-helps-increase-remittances-sent-to-cuba-in-2011-by-about-20-&catid=48%3Aremittances&lang=en

  17. OR THIS DATA C.L. FROM CUBA’S OWN WEB SITE?? PLEASE SPLAIN THE RELATIONSHIP OF THIS DATA TO THE “EMBARGO”? ARE THE CASTROFASCISTS LYING?

    SECTOR EXTERNO / EXTERNAL SECTOR – 8.4 – Intercambio comercial de mercancías por países seleccionados y áreas geográficas (Conclusión) Trade in goods in selected countries and geographical areas (Conclusion)
    Estados Unidos de América (USA)
    2004 = $443,900,000
    2005 = $476,311,000
    2006 = $483,591,000
    2007 = $581,657,000
    2008 = $962,767,000
    2009 = $675,420,000
    http://www.one.cu/aec2009/esp/08_tabla_cuadro.htm

  18. Cuba Libre!CAN YOU ESPLAIN THESE STATISTICS AS THEY RELATE TO THIS “EMBARGO”??

    U.S.-CUBA TRADE AND ECONOMIC COUNCIL, INC.
    ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA- February 2012 – Report For Calendar Year 2011
    2011-2001 U.S. EXPORT STATISTICS FOR CUBA

    The following is the data for exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba relating to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000, which re-authorized the direct commercial (on a cash basis) export of food products (including branded food products) and agricultural products (commodities) from the United States to the Republic of Cuba, irrespective of purpose. The TSRA does not include healthcare products, which remain authorized by the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992.

    The data represents the U.S. Dollar value of product exported from the United States to the Republic of Cuba under the auspice of TSRA. The data does not include transportation charges, bank charges, or other costs associated with exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. The government of the Republic of Cuba reports data that, according to the government of the Republic of Cuba, includes transportation charges, bank charges, and other costs. However, the government of the Republic of Cuba has not provided verifiable data. The use of trade data reported by the government of the Republic of Cuba is suspect. The government of the Republic of Cuba has been asked to provide verifiable data, but has not.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.cubatrade.org/CubaExportStats.pdf

  19. Wow, the Cubans can shoot B-26 bombers out of the air, which they did at the Bay of Pigs invasion, with just a few rifles and some slingshots? Amazing.

  20. So the socialist “island paradise” cannot prosper without the United States? Guess Fidel isn’t so smart after all.

  21. When will USAnians remove their embargo on Cuba and allow the island paradise to prosper as it deserves. Or is it that they are to proud of a people and refuse to admit reality that a small and defenseless country like Cuba stood its ground and defeated the greatest and most powerful nation in the world at the battle of the Bay of Pigs. Yes a defenseless nation with only sling shots and a few rifles wooped the rear end of the biggest super power of the world. Everyone knows this is the only reason why 50 odd years later the embargo still stands.
    Put your pride aside Uncle Sam and open the flood gates to Cuba. I am sure both countries will greatly benefit from it.

  22. Simba Sez: 291 RCR Do you in some manner think the world would be a better place if Yoani were to stop writing her blog? Can you explain to the readers that do not believe that, what it is that you fear from one individual? Can a single female from Havana be so mighty that would wish her not to exist? Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

  23. Humberto peace be with you……sometimes I believe if you were to take a one month hike this whole facade “Yoani” would die a natural death

  24. YOANI SANCHEZ TWITTER ‏@yoanisanchez

    +I came home and my son, worried, meets me at the door “It’s fine Teo, everything is fine, it’s just the official TV just a few see”
    + And again my face on official TV !!! How can I thank so much deference? Thanks, coleagues… you have no idea of what are you doing!
    +& they talk about me once & again in official TV, every said insult turns into embraces on the streets! Is it they don’t relize that?
    +This storm of defamation, this public stoning, this media placement, only achieves the opposite effect. What a gratification!!
    +Thanks to my opponents of the boring “Roundtable”, now I am known for more people in Cuba and also the Damas de Blanco Thanks!!! :-)
    +I get the impression that the Roundtable has turned into opposition & now wants to spread critical voices, but does it surreptitiously
    +To the pseudo-journalists of the RoundTable I say: Don’t worry! When you desert like Mairelys Cuevas, I will understand it!!!! :-)

    + Llego a casa y mi hijo sale preocupado a la puerta “Todo esta bien Teo, todo esta bien, solo ha sido sido la TV oficial que pocos ven” – 5 hours ago
    +Y mi rostro otra vez en la TV oficial!!! Como agradecer tanta deferencia. Gracias colegas… no tienen la menor idea de lo que hacen! – 5 hours ago
    +Y hablan una y otra vez de mi en la TV oficial, cada insulto que lanzan se convierte en abrazos en la calle! Es que no se dan cuentan? – 5 hours ago
    +Este vendaval de difamacion, esta lapidacion publica, este paredon mediatico solo logra el efecto contrario. Que gratificacion!!!! – 5 hours ago
    +Gracias a mis contrincantes de la aburrida “Mesa Redonda” hoy me conocen mas personas en #Cuba y tambien las @DamasdBlanco Gracias!!! :-) 5 hours ago
    + Me da la impresion que la Mesa Redonda ha pasado a la oposicion y ahora quiere difundir voces criticas aunque lo haga solapadamente – 5 hours ago
    +Les digo a los seudo periodistas de la Mesa Redonda: no se preocupen! Cuando ustedes deserten como Mairelys Cuevas lo entendere!!! :-) 5 hours ago

    https://twitter.com/yoanisanchez

  25. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: RESTRICTIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN CUBA- Amnesty International Publications 2010
    STATE MONOPOLY OF THE MEDIA: The media is a key arena in which the right to freedom of expression is exercised. It plays a critical role in any society, for example raising awareness of human rights and exposing human rights violations. The media has the potential to help shape public opinion and to monitor and assess the performance of those holding public office at all levels; it is an important tool for scrutinizing government practices in all societies no matter their political ideology. The absence of an independent media is a serious obstacle to the enjoyment of freedom of expression and the adequate review of corrupt and abusive official practices. Restrictions on the Cuban media are stringent and pervasive and clearly stop those in the country from enjoying their right to freedom of opinion and expression, including freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.8 The state maintains a total monopoly on television, radio, the press, internet service providers, and other electronic means of communication.9 According to official figures, there are currently 723 publications (406 print and 317 digital), 88 radio stations, four national TV channels (two devoted to educational programming), 16 regional TV stations and an international TV channel. All are financed and controlled by the government.10 Three newspapers provide national coverage: Granma, which is the organ of the Cuban Communist Party, Juventud Rebelde and Trabajadores.

    CONTROL OF INTERNET ACCESS
    In Cuba, access to the internet remains under state control. It is regulated by the Law of Security of Information, which prohibits access to internet services from private homes. Therefore, the internet in Cuba has a social vocation and remains accessible at education centres, work-places and other public institutions. Internet can also be accessed in hotels but at a high cost. In October 2009, the government adopted a new law allowing the Cuban Postal Services to establish cyber-cafés in its premises and offer internet access to the public. However, home connections are not yet allowed for the vast majority of Cubans and only those favoured by the government are able to access the internet from their own homes.
    However, many blogs are not accessible from within Cuba because the Cuban authorities have put in place filters restricting access. The blogs affected are mainly those that openly criticize the Cuban government and its restrictions on freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and movement. For example, Generation Y is one of the dozens of blogs that are filtered or intermittently blocked by the government and are not accessible inside Cuba.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/005/2010/en/62b9caf8-8407-4a08-90bb-b5e8339634fe/amr250052010en.pdf

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