Christmas Holidays, a Victory for Cuban Students

A couple of decades ago, it would have been unthinkable in Cuba for students to take a two-week break for the Christmas holidays. (14ymedio)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, 14 December 2019 — There are triumphs that are celebrated loudly, with gestures of pride for the victory achieved and expressions of popular jubilation. Others, however, are experienced more discreetly to prevent them from being revoked or taken away. To this last group belongs the recovery, without fanfare or celebrations, of the Christmas holidays which Cuban students have achieved in recent years.

This coming Friday will be a special day in the classrooms of this Island because in very few of them will classes be taught. The Teacher’s Day will be celebrated in advance, scheduled for December 22 but this year the date falls on a Sunday. Along with gifts for the teachers and organized parties with resources donated by the parents, students will also be saying goodbye to their colleagues until the new year.

A couple of decades ago, it would have been unthinkable in Cuba for students to take a two-week break for the Christmas holidays. Those of us who went to school in the 70s, 80s and much of the 90s, could never enjoy a real rest period on these dates. If anything, we managed not to avoid the classroom after presenting a medical “note” for some sickness (often fictitious) or after showing an unpostponable ticket to travel to another province.

Only in December 1997, a few days before Pope John Paul II visited the Island, did Fidel Castro declare December 25 a holiday for the first time in decades. After that, little by little, as conquerors who quietly take over a territory, running a few centimeters from the fence every night, Cubans were pushing the narrow boundaries of rest. To the point that in schools a tacit agreement has already been reached that the students do not go to classes from the penultimate Friday of December until the first Monday of January, should that day not be a holiday.

What particular group starred in the recovery of this Christmas break? None. Was it announced in any official media that a two week teaching break had been decreed for all school levels in the country? No. Has anyone gone out to celebrate in the streets that now they will not have to go to classes and can they enjoy this time of taking stock and celebrations with their family? No.

Like those victories that nobody is awarded and that are enjoyed quietly, Christmas holidays have returned to Cuban schools. And in this way, there are other triumphs that we have also accumulated without uproar but irreversibly.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Civil Society in Cuba is Diverse, Beyond the Control of the Government

If we understand that all peaceful tendencies have the right to exist … then we will have succeeded in taking the first step. (Social Sciences Blog)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 8 December 2019 — A few days ago, I took part in an exchange of ideas on the social network Facebook after a Cuban journalist asked about the opposition’s proposals and programs. I responded with some basic clarifications to understand what is happening on this Island outside government and state control. Here I share these opinions, with a certain didactic tone tailored just for those who are looking at the subject for the first time.

Many times, due to ignorance, stereotypes or lack of public information on the subject, multiple phenomena that are worth differentiating are grouped under the heading “opposition.” I believe that in today’s Cuba there is an opposition movement of a political, outlawed and structured nature based on platforms that mix ideological tendencies, economic programs and diverse positions on such varied topics as foreign investment, diplomatic alliances with other countries or the scale of the presence of the State in the functioning of the economy.

Those parties, groups or partnerships aspire, as in all parts of the world, to come to power, to lead the nation and to be at the political helms of the country. Among them I can mention some, and I apologize in advance if I forget others, for example: el Unión Patriótica de Cuba (Patriotic Union of Cuba), el Foro Antitotalitario Unido (United Antitotalitarian Forum), Somos+ (We Are More), Cuba Decide (Cuba Decides), Todos Marchamos (We All March), and el Mesa de Unidad de Acción Democrática (Democratic Unity Roundtable).

A second phenomenon, which I believe should not be subsumed under the word “opposition” is that of social activism. The majority are groups and organizations, also outlawed, that have a social agenda that can be directed to an infinite number of groups, problems or demands.

In that kaleidoscope of associations there are those that defend the rights of the LGBTI community, others that demand an Animal Protection Law, those that are demanding feminine grievances be addressed, those that ensure human rights such as the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), those that incline more to the union defense of workers, against racial discrimination and a long etcetera that can include many other tendencies and “struggles” from civil society.

In a third space, also erroneously called “opposition,” I would place independent journalism, which although it has spent decades reporting what is happening in the country, has had an important boost in recent years with the emergence of new technologies and the emergence of a varied ecosystem of press media not controlled by the State, the Communist Party or the Cuban institutions.

Among them are newspapers, to monthly magazines, cultural weeklies, environmental blogs and reporting podcasts. To think of these three universes as a block is a mistake, because many of their components are very different, pursue parallel objectives and work differently.

Let’s start by analyzing the first group. There are prejudices that are repeated again and again when the Cuban opposition speaks. Most people who repeat what they say and claim to be convinced by them, have never really sat down to talk with an opponent, have never read a program from one of those political parties, and only have a “passive bibliography” on the issue based on what the official Cuban press says, a press that in more than half a century has not allowed these opponents to explain themselves in the first person, or published their proposals or allowed them to participate in debates with official voices.

One of the stereotypes that is most repeated when talking about the Cuban opposition is made up of individuals with low ethical and moral appearance. As in every human conglomerate, there is everything. In the National Ballet of Cuba and the University of Havana, wonderful and dedicated people work, but also the mediocre and unscrupulous. I remember that in the Faculty of Arts and Letters, where I studied, I had professors with a touching altruism and exquisite wisdom, while others had come to the classrooms not because of their pedagogical quality but because of their partisan militancy. I even met some cases that plagiarized their students’ course work and presented it in their own names to gain a rise to a certain academic level.

The Cuban opposition has lights and shadows like every human group, but for more than half a century it has had over it, watching and denigrating it, one of the most implacable intelligence apparatuses that has existed. Hence, the official media, street conversations and even the rumors that are spread in a low voice on this Island, have been plagued all these years by the negative opinions that State Security has launched against that opposition.

This most resembles racial and xenophobic prejudices: the idea that a certain ethnic or racial group is “lazy, a thief and a liar” is spread or the foreigner is blamed for coming to “steal the job, violate women and ruin the national culture.” In the end there is an animosity towards a human group based on prejudice and fear. The approach necessary to destroy those clichés or false topics will only be undertaken by a few daring ones, because the rest fears being “attacked” by “unknown others” or blamed by their own group for getting too close to the “other.” colleague

The day that the opponents have a microphone on national television, a few minutes to express themselves on the radio or a few lines on the pages of the newspapers, these prejudices will begin to break.

As for the other prejudice that there is little of formal qualifications in the opposition ranks, I must clarify that I have never believed that a university degree is a guarantee of good leadership, however, I warn that I know many graduates, academics, doctors, jurists and excellent professionals who are active in these games.

I add that in the high party leadership that controls Cuba, we have evidence that there are people who are not there because of their qualifications to direct the economy, public health or the investment process (these are only examples) but for their ideological fidelity. Some of these senior leaders cannot even articulate a complete sentence without making mistakes and have said some memorable barbarities in front of the national television cameras.

The Cuban opposition has a long history of initiatives, as does the activism that carried out on this Island, ranging from the document La Patria es de Todos (The Homeland Belongs to Everyone) and the Varela Project to the Carta de Derechos y Deberes de los Cubanos (Bill of Rights and Duties of Cubans) and many others. In all cases, the Cuban government responded to these proposals with more vigilance, arbitrary arrests, the destruction of the reputations of members and reprisals.

Parallel to these programs and platforms, spaces of thought and reflection have been created that range from the political, the pedagogical and the economic, to reach all the social aspects that urgently need solutions in our country. Cuba Posible (Cuba Possible) was one of them and the Centro de Estudios Convivencia

(Center for Coexistence Studies) has, for years, also been contributing ideas, assessments and initiatives from the academic scene. The reaction of the Cuban authorities to them has followed the same script: harass, denigrate, slander and push their members into exile.

If we move on to activism, its achievements and proposals would take very long to explain because of the number of initiatives and programs involved. I will only recall the historic march of May 11 for the rights of the LGBTI community, the most recent protest against Zoonosis [“the dogcatcher”] and the demand for an Animal Protection Law, in addition to the human rights activism that has managed to denounce and shed light on many cases of arbitrary arrests and violations of legislation.

In the case of independent journalism and the media not controlled by the Communist Party, the achievements are impossible to cover. Sites such as El Estornudo, Yucabyte, Tremenda Nota, 14ymedio, Periodismo de Barrio, El Toque, Inventario, Alas Tensas and many more that were born from within Cuba and their reporters, in most cases, graduated from Cuban universities, some of them from journalism programs and others in the humanities.

In my opinion, it is the ecosystems of activism and independent media where a more dynamic and interesting process of social pressure is taking place to bring about changes in Cuba, although I recognize that the political opposition has faced the worst in terms of a repressive and exhausting response due to retaliation and stigmatization.

To end this very long text and, looking at the situation as it is now, to eliminate the prejudices, confusions and misgivings that have become entrenched in Cuban society against the opposition, social activism and the independent press, I believe that the criminalization of disagreement should be eliminated and these people should have the right to access public media (which we all pay out of our pockets) to break down these stereotypes, to let people know their proposals and to stop being narrated “in the third person” as bad, ethically deplorable, mercenaries or enemies of the homeland.

Unblocking censored digital sites on Cuban servers and legalizing independent media would also be a very positive step for these plural voices to be heard and to be able explain their initiatives.

Mechanisms should also be created so that the citizens from their own pockets, and even – why not? – the state budget would support these parties and groups of activists, in addition to allowing them clear legal right to obtain resources, so that their income comes from national, business, and citizen sources.

Continuing to deny the opposition the right to collect and have legal income, on the Island, to carry out their work, is to condemn them to financial secrecy and is the cause of many of the problems we see today in the operations of many of them, such as lack of transparency

It is also necessary to remove the ideological indoctrination of a single party from the classroom, so that Cuban children and young people grow up feeling it is something very normal and healthy to have several parties, the presence of an independent civil society and access to multiple media with different approaches and opinions.

As long as education is in the hands of a single ideological group that uses it for political proselytism, there will be people who are educated to think that the “different” must be silenced, crushed and prosecuted for not behaving like them.

The current situation of censorship, discrimination and criminalization of political and ideological plurality is based on the same mechanism of racial, cultural and nationalist prejudices. If we understand that all peaceful tendencies have the right to exist, express themselves, be legal and have a space… then we will have managed to take the first step.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Press or Propaganda?

Several generations of Cubans have become accustomed to finding only one version of reality in the national media. (Wikipedia)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 5 December 2019 — For decades, we Cubans have lived under a strict information monopoly that has turned the public media into sounding boards of the Communist Party. Instead of journalism, what is published every day in national newspapers and broadcast on television and radio is closer to ideological propaganda.

In this way, several generations have become accustomed to finding in the national media only a version of reality, a limited part of the everyday stories and a single voice to try to narrate a polyphonic and diverse country. In a premeditated manner, the Plaza of the Revolution has excluded a diversity of information and has condemned the entire population to a discourse without nuances.

But, is this really a press or is it a political publicity that has taken over the microphones and pages of the national news? Without a doubt, it cannot be called “journalism.” Because any news work must include and shed light on a diversity of sources, opinions and judgments that go beyond what a single individual, a single human group or a single Party thinks or experiences.

We Cubans have lived so long under this “pseudo press” that a process of collective dismantling of these journalistic vices is necessary to be able to demand and encourage plural, inclusive and truthful media. Accommodating multiple opinions, presenting readers with several views on the same event and putting data ahead of adjectives, these are the first steps to achieve it.

But also, as readers, listeners and viewers we have to learn to respect the variety of approaches that a situation, a proposal or a public figure can generate. A diversity of opinions never detracts, rather it gives the audience the ability to form more complete, mature and serene judgments about any event.

The press cannot be propaganda at the service of a few, nor can it behave like a ventriloquist’s doll managed by a single group and forced to repeat its slogans to the letter. Journalism, when it is good, can be painful, uncomfortable or annoying. Trying to turn it into something docile and malleable only takes away what distinguishes it from the pamphlet.

If we are going to demand a free, democratic press with professional standards, let us prepare ourselves for the fact that many times it will publish issues that annoy us, opinions that we do not agree with and will also give space to signatures that oppose our positions. There will be days when we smile when reading the newspaper and others when it will leave a bitter taste, which will make us want to respond and complain. That is what we have to expect from good journalism: that it mobilizes us, shakes us, makes us rethink our opinions and evaluate those of others. To remove those thorns from the press is to reduce it to simple propaganda.

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

Cuban State Media’s Hemiplegic Plot

José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba. (Matias J. Ocner for 14ymedio)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 20 November 2019 — Help me understand this: Granma, a Cuban newspaper of national scope, financed by the state coffers and with its journalists based within Cuban territory, publishes an article against a citizen, resident on the Island and held in a prison, which describes him as a criminal and accuses him of criminal acts.

However, to prepare the text, the reporters of the official organ of the Communist Party have not contacted José Daniel Ferrer, his relatives or his activist colleagues to offer their testimony and opinion on the events that took place on October 1, that ended up sending the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba to prison.

Do Granma journalists have resources to make a phone call to Aguadores prison? Why did the newspaper’s management not send its correspondent in Santiago de Cuba to Ferrer’s house to obtain the version of the facts that his wife wields, facts that contradict those published this Wednesday in the official newspaper? Did the reporters request a meeting with the prisoner from the Directorate of Corrections?

Sadly, the shortcomings of the article in Granma are not due to economic problems of the newsroom of the main Cuban newspaper, nor to the absence of permits to access the prison. The argumental hemiplegia of this note is evidence of the abuse of power of an entire apparatus that believes it has the right to crush an individual’s reputation, demonize and defame him without his being able to defend himself in national media. This is the old strategy of reputation execution, but using the state structures themselves, the official voice and the institutional speaker.

That is not journalism, nor press, much less information. We are facing a typical act of propaganda and slander… and of shameful complicity by some who call themselves journalists and editors.

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COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Masks of Havana

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia Ortiz (couple to the right) with Lis Cuesta and Miguel Díaz-Canel at the dinner held at the headquarters of Cuba’s State Council.

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 17 November 2019 — Havana was a city of carnivals and masks. Although the times of revelry passed long ago, this city is covered – whenever necessary – with convenient layers of makeup. Years ago, when a pope visited the island, the authorities painted the facades and cleaned the streets through which the caravan of His Holiness would travel from the airport to the historic center, a partial restoration that did not escape popular humor, which renamed the route la vía Sacra, the Sacred Way.

Another example of the capacity for masking are all those thousands, millions of photos made by tourists in which the only things that appear are an old Chevrolet of the last century, restored buildings, and mojitos with a lot of rum and little memory. To know the city that beats underneath you have to remove layers like peeling an onion, or use the corrosive makeup remover of objectivity. Unfortunately, only a few visitors are willing to work in facial and cultural archeology. At the end of the day they come for a short time, for a time that is only a sigh.

This November, the rouge has again been smeared over a city with more than two million inhabitants which has arrived at 500th year since its founding. “Facial” touch-ups have included the collection and mass slaughter of stray dogs, the inauguration of some architectural works that had been under repair for years, and a ban on dissidents and activists to going outside on the eve and the day of celebration of the celebration of the half-millennium of the Villa of San Cristóbal de La Habana.

But even if they had only applied a thin layer of lipstick, the Spanish royals Felipe VI and Letizia Ortiz would have been unable to discover very much on their two-day state visit to the Island. With an agenda planned millimetrically, their majesties could barely get away from the scheduled streets, prepared scenes and filtered guests. Even in their meeting with representatives of civil society, missing were human rights activists, opposition leaders and even independent journalists from the media most stigmatized by the ruling party.

However, like with the best makeup, sometimes a brief tear spoils everything. Cosmetics turned out to be too little cover reality and on the day when the Spanish royals strolled through Old Havana a street dog managed to cross in front of the royal couple and sneak into a photo of this visit, a nod perhaps to all those others who had died to “clean” the image of a city where an Animal Protection Law remains a painful chimera.

The national cleaning for the visit and the celebrations also included the arrest of uncomfortable citizens, those in the style of the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. Weeks before, and as part of the daily lack of rights, the independent journalist Roberto Quiñones and the opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer had been locked up and continue to be held, so far without the intermediation of international organizations nor a hypothetical request for clemency from the Spanish Crown.

Havana, like all Cuba, is a sequence of makeup and masks. On the epidermis, very high, are the bright colors of the ruling party; but below – with just the slightest scraping – emerges the hard gray of reality, the dark shadow of a country dominated by an authoritarianism without shades.

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Note: This article was  initially published in Deutsche Welle in Spanish and is reproduced in this blog.

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.

The Berlin Wall Never Existed

Germans attack the Berlin Wall, 1989 (CC)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 9 November 2019 — For the official Cuban press the Berlin Wall has not fallen, it still stands or it never existed. A brief search on the digital sites and the printed versions of the country’s main newspaper is enough confirm that mentions of this scar which, for years, divided Germany, Europe and the world, barely appear because it is still a topic that is denied and hidden by the ideologues of the “journalism” that is cooked up in the newsrooms controlled by the Communist Party.

This Saturday, the 9th of November, marks 30 years since Berliners began to tear down that absurd barrier and that the Socialist camp in eastern Europe began to fall apart like a house of cards. It is also an anniversary of that 1989 in Cuba, when a generation looked with hope on the changes that shook our “fellow travelers” and the Plaza of the Revolution tightened the screws of its political control to avoid reformists or ‘perestroikans‘ from gaining ground.

This November, as they did three decades ago, Cuban officials again hide from us the fall of the Berlin Wall… but we have already learned of, already seen, the images of those hammers and chisels tearing down that wall. On our retina, despite the censorship, there is a young man, a child, a family, a village… that knocks down that strict limit once imposed on them.

Journalism Today: Between Ethics and Technology

In the end, we are storytellers. Our field is not fiction, as in the case of novelists or playwrights, because we tell real stories. (Rafael Alejandro García)

14ymedio, Yoani Sanchez, Generation Y, Havana, 3 November 2019 – [This text was delivered at the graduation ceremony for the Master of Journalism of the Spanish newspaper El País.] More than a decade ago I crossed a thin red line and took a path that – even if I had wanted it to – has no turning back: I went from being a citizen who consumed the little information that came to her hands, to becoming a blogger, reporter and a news source in a country like Cuba, with 11 million inhabitants thirsty to know what is happening inside and outside its territory.

I did not decide, I did not take a minute to reflect, I did not even weigh what would come after taking this step, simply journalism knocked on my door and there was no way not to open up, to not let it pass or to prevent myself from turning my life upside down. There was so much to tell that it would have been an act of civic apathy and reprehensible indifference not to have assumed the responsibility of narrating my country.

Those were the years when the Arab Springs were forged and when the emergence of smartphones and social networks made one think that a screen, a keyboard and a brief message on Twitter were enough to awaken consciences and change realities. But it was also the beginning of a period of deep crisis for journalism.

Thus, years arrived when the media seemed to have lost its way. A single person, with a cell phone in hand, could achieve the most important coverage of an event and many times the teams of reporters, photographers and editors arrived late for what was already a story broadcast to exhaustion in forums, chats and Facebook walls.

The so-called “native digital” media emerged, while others became hybrid creatures, almost information chimeras that still, today, try to enhance their digital versions while attempting to keep the paper copies alive, which in most cases have been relegated to a second place less dynamic and important.

Also, a decade ago, many were betting that the new journalism that was going to emerge from all these changes would have to be ever faster and immediate, with greater integration of audiovisual elements, more interactive, more democratic and – of course – flooding social networks and the new content dissemination channels. Most of the time in that equation the central point of any reporting work was underestimated, beyond ornaments or technological tools: the story.

In the end, we are storytellers. Our field is not fiction, as in the case of novelists or playwrights, because we tell real stories, what happened a few minutes or several decades ago, our strength based on truthfulness, where we convey certainty. A well told story, with beautiful language, with a variety of sources consulted and backed by research, remains the core of our work.

And to tell a story it is not enough to have the luck or the patience to find an event worthy of our readers. It is not enough to use gerunds well and master a vocabulary that makes the reporting, the chronicle or the simplest informative note a pleasure for the eyes and the intellect. No, it is not enough. Nor is it enough that we publish stories characterized by novelty and revelation. Language and ethics make up the main cement that must unite all the elements of good journalism.

First, the mastery of the language (in our case of the beautiful Castilian language) is one of those subjects in which no one ever graduates completely, but in which good grades can be achieved through reading, linguistic curiosity to inquire about the meaning and origin of words, an unspoken acceptance of imported words and the boldness to combine terms and break with the idea that journalism should be written in a dry, direct language and one that never soars.

But ethics, this is more difficult to achieve because it is born from personal commitment to objectivity and truth. It also comes from understanding the human measure of a journalist in a society and accepting the responsibility we assume with each disseminated reportage.

The ethics in the press begins by being honest in the handling of the reporting raw material, conscientious in the verification of data and consistent with the reality of what we are reporting.

In the case of authoritarian societies, where information is still seen as treason and the press has only two possible positions: applaud the power or be condemned to exist in illegality and harassment. Information ethics also does not give way to pressures or self-censorship. In those regimes, allergic to information freedom, the reporter becomes an activist for truth.

Although new technologies have partially pierced the information monopoly walls erected by dictatorships, these years have also served for us to understand that political and social changes need much more than touch screens and calls on the networks. On the other hand, the same devices that are used for a liberating and democratizing purpose are also used by the political police to monitor activists, control the independent press and distort information.

Let’s not fool ourselves. There is no more effective ‘fake news’ and post-truth factory than populism, nor a laboratory from which the most finished and even “convincing” hoaxes come than within an authoritarian regime. Hence, exercising ethical and quality journalism in these circumstances is of vital importance in these times.

The most worrying thing is that these predatory attitudes of information freedom are not exclusive to authoritarian systems, but also extend to democracies. The exercise of journalism is now in the spotlight of too many powers.

In countries like Mexico and Honduras, a piece of reporting can cost an author their life; while in nations like Cuba, the ruling party boasts that journalists are not killed on the Island, although the truth is that they have killed journalism by force of threats, arbitrary arrests, confiscations of the tools of the trade and pressures to go into exile.

On the other hand, in societies where citizens see violations of their rights every day, and where there is no separation of powers and the courts are fiefdoms of a group that administers justice at will, the independent press (here it is worth using the qualifier “independent” given that these regimes are given to creating their own pseudo press or propaganda soundboard) it assumes new responsibilities. It becomes a loudspeaker for a gagged citizenship, with a share of heroism but also of the commitment that this role brings.

And how do young journalists fit into this complex scenario? What words of encouragement can I offer you for the path you have just started out on? Few and many. You have come to the press at a tipping point and time of doubts. You will disembark in newsrooms tormented by debts and obsession with ‘hits’; probably many of you will practice in societies where you will be playing with your lives, prison and prestige when publishing on certain topics. It is very likely that in certain circumstances you will avoid even confessing to others that you are journalists so as not to listen to the old epithets of “pencil pushers,” “news vultures,” “yellow journalists” or “fifth columnists.”

Your nights will become intense hours, you will never be able to look at a television screen, the front page of a newspaper or a digital site with that touch of healthy naiveté you once had; you will also learn that this is not a profession for making friends and that as you develop better skills animosity and criticism will grow around you. But also, you will enjoy the thrilling moment of following a story, the adrenaline rush that seizes you when you are only a few seconds or a click away from publishing a report on which you have worked for a long time.

You will enjoy that moment in which the publication of a story helps to improve reality, or correct an injustice or give voice to those who have long been silenced. They are brief moments, but they are strongly rewarding.

You will hate and love your editors, you will have to respond to the anger of some readers and also take responsibility for the reprisals suffered by your sources. You will drink more coffee than you can even imagine now and you will understand that in the face of any topic that you discuss in your articles there will always be someone who knows more than you about that matter and who will be there, carefully reading every line you publish, ready to find an error.

And when you believe that the day is over, because the text you have pampered like a child has already been delivered, edited and seen the light… and then you will have to start over at the beginning because a new day will come, with other stories to tell and an insatiable audience that awaits you. So I can only promise you: a lot of responsibility, little rest and even less boredom.

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The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by now becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.