The silent press

Surrounded by commemorations and dates to celebrate, we didn’t pay much attention to Cuban Press Day, which was March 14.  The news featured long reports about the selfless efforts of journalists and their loyalty to the Revolution.  Some reporters received certificates for their outstanding work and impeccable ideological posture, while the newspaper Granma devoted a ton of space to the self-congratulation.

In the same days as these parties, the North American president, Barack Obama, eased the limitations on travel to the Island for Cuban Americans.  The restrictions he abolished had prevented these immigrants from visiting their families more than once every three years.  There had also been a strict limit on sending remittances to relatives on the Island.  For the precarious domestic economy, the money sent from the United States is indispensable oxygen for survival.  In a country where so many citizens live on the other shore, the notice of this relaxation should have been front page news in all the papers.  It’s what one learns in the journalism schools as the obligatory lead of an entire week.

The Cuban press, however, barely mentioned this positive step taken by the occupant of the White House.  An official silence was the only response to this long-awaited and welcome measure.  In the street no one talked about anything else, and mothers prepared to welcome their children living in the North, but the official media treated it warily.  The journalists have been caught up in other issues: the potato harvest, the World Baseball Classic, the Bolivarian Revolution and, of course, the celebrations for Cuban Press Day.

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29 thoughts on “The silent press

  1. Like Ashley (first comment) I had a hard time finding any mainstream news coverage about Obama’s lifting of some travel restrictions to Cuba here in the US – I found out through the feminist blog Feministing because one of the bloggers is Cuban-American and follows these issues closely.

    I’ve never commented on this blog before but I just wanted to say that I so glad that Generacion Y is here – I’m learning so much. I only wish I was better at reading/writing Spanish, but I’m working on it!

  2. Congratulations Yoani! I usually read your blog in Spanish and this is my first time in English.Like many Cubans,I would like to see my native country free and with democracy as well.
    Your blog is an excellent testimony about all the horror we have in our beautiful Cuba in the hands of a communist dictatorship.
    Regards from Los Angeles,California.

  3. I couldn’t tell you how I found this blog, but I’m so glad I did. I read it everyday and find Yoani to be an incredible and amazing person. She is quite an inspiration. I intend to let the chair person of the Latin American Studies program at the university I attend know about this site. It is a must for people studying Latin American politics and culture. I hope I can learn to be of more help to the cause as time goes on.

  4. One way to expose this blog effectively is to spread it among friends with connection to Universities. Why I say that? Because they are the future, they are the power house, they can achieve more in their circle than anyone else, sometimes dominated by leftist ideas. We should also send a connection of this blog to at leist a couple of University students you may know and ask that they diseminate it among their piers and this blog will take off like nothing you have seeing before. Lets try that and see how it works.

  5. I found Yoani thru Babalu blog, which I have been following for several years. Back in 2002 I was on a science trip to Cuba and after the “official” part of the trip a couple of us escaped out into the countryside with some compadres from our discipline. such a eye opener. so many stories from that trip. I have been to Mexico and out in poor rural indian communities a lot. It just does not compare. when I got off the plane and my feet hit the tarmack in Cancun, it was like I could taste the freedom in the air.

    before we left I gave away some things to our friends. One thing was a tube of atheletes foot creme. When she saw what it was my friend was almost in tears. She said that this was so hard to get there and so good to have. I thought about how cheap to buy and easy to get it was. With what I make in one hour I could buy cartons of it

  6. Great to see new blood in this list. Please come back, let us all know how your opinion, and how you feel about Yoani’s articles when they’re posted. It is Ok to agree or disagree with either the articles or the posts on this list. It will be great to see new contributors.

    Welcome to all!!

  7. Yoani is on Twitter… her name is: yoanisanchez

    But… no, it doesn’t seem to work from her phone — she can only post updates when she is on the web which as you all know is very little. But she does have 385 followers… so feel free to add yourself and every now and then you’ll get a live update!

  8. I couldn’t contemplate ploughing-through Castro’s full stream of bull-excreta on the G20, but one bit stood out: “Los clásicos del béisbol y el fútbol llenan estadios y entusiasman a las masas de todo el mundo”, pero “cuando se trata de economía se cuentan con los dedos de la mano los que se interesan sobre el tema”, señaló.
    Yoani’s blog suggests that quite a few more people than that are interested in the the state of the world economy in general, and that of Cuba in particular. Perhaps, if his own newspapers opened the debate beyond the “World Baseball Classic” (above) he’d be agreeably surprised. Or perhaps not :-))
    Keep going, Yoani!

  9. Dear Yoanis,

    I came across your blog from an article on Caribbean Net News. I am thrilled to read it in English. You are doing a wonderful job! I am planning to go to Cuba in May and find find your blog very, very informative. I will also link your blog to mine.

    Keep up the great job!!!

    Linda

  10. I am a friend of Sydney so I sent the english version of this blog to my list of friends! Woud twitter work in Cuba! What leap!

    Humberto

  11. Today’s online Granma is a perfect illustration of what Yoani is talking about in her post above. The lead story is another one of the ubiquitous ‘Reflections of Fidel.’ In this one the great leader deigns to share with his devoted subjects a few “pearls of wisdom” about the G-20 summit. Gag.

  12. Congratulations! This blog is wonderfull!
    Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con Ashley e Sydney!
    Todos juntos por un nuevo paradigma y una prensa libre.
    Aquí en Brasil, nosotros de Instituto Millenium admiramos demasiado el trabajo de Yoani.
    Personalmente, estoy emocionada.
    Merece todo nuestro apoyo!
    Saludos desde Rio de Janeiro.
    Freedom is a great word!

  13. I’m just curious…. and would like to ask the….

    …New Commenters… if you care to share with us, I’m curious if you are: new to Yoani’s blog, and if so how did you find out about it? Or have been reading it for some time and just decided to join the discussion?

    It’s so great to see “new pixels” here and I’m always wondering how to attract more people to read the blog and comment.

    I know… there are already more than 14 million hits a month (all languages)… but hey… most people come back over and over again… that might be as few as only a million people regularly reading this blog! And there are over 6 billion people in the world! They’re missing out!

  14. I am also delighted that Y Generation exists. Thank you Yoani. The Y Generation grew up in an almost utopian moment which changed into a very difficult time today, but with the knowledge of what could be and what was, I think we can pull together into a new time, a new paradigm for living in one world.

  15. #12 — GOOD POINT!!!!!!! I love the title. TFTs. Maybe “Transcribers for Tyrants” — it’s easier to say. Or TfTTs — Transcribers for Totalitarian Tyrants.

    What is that in spanish? (Do we have a reverse “Tres Tristes Tigres” going here?)

    Oh it’s perfect: Transcriptores para Tiranos Totalitarios.

    It works in both languages.

    Good for you and welcome to the comments section. Hope to see you frequently.

    We’re getting a lot of new commentors and that’s a great thing. Welcome to all of you.

  16. They are not “journalists.”

    They are more accurately described as “transcriptionist for tyranny,” just another cog in the totalitarian machinery of Cuba and the Castros.

    The real journalists in Cuba are the men and women of Cuba’s independent press.

    I know journalists don’t always have the best reputation, but it is the worst insult to call those honored on “Cuban Press Day” as journalists.

  17. Im a cuban living in the USA since 1969 when I left with my widowed mother (with a 5ht grade education) and younger brother. The cuban women are the backbone of the country and its most courageuous citizens, in and out of Cuba. How proud I am to have Yoani Sanchez, my younger sister!!!

    Humberto Capiro

  18. Speaking of awards…

    South Africa has banned the Dalai Lama from the country AND GIVEN ONE OF ITS HIGHEST AWARDS TO FIDEL CASTRO.

    “Hilariously” (it would be hilarious if it weren’t so disgusting and painful).. they had to change the official wording of the award and TAKE OUT the words “freedom” and “democracy”.

    This award was also given to Martin Luther King, Jr. (long after his death, of course), and to Gandhi (likewise).

    I would like to think that it is a clever plot and that on accepting the award fidel will immediately join his predecessors and drop dead, but I’m afraid not.

  19. Yes …. keeping reading Yoani’s blog and keep her protected. For all we know, she may end up being the link that brings two worlds together. We all wish her the best of luck.

  20. Welcome to all the new posters please as Andy and Carbo mentioned let your friends know about Yoani’s site she needs our help. Is small contribution we can all make so one day Cuba is Free.
    You do not have to be Cuban to post here. This is an excellent resource for anyone planing to go to Cuba and get familiar with the situation in the country in advance.

  21. I can’t help but giggle at the self congratulatory awards for “selfless efforts” that the regime bestows on these reporters. I did not know that reporting only what the “commanders in chief” deem appropriate was selfless, professional, or anything other than deception to the readers. These readers are the ones the “reporters” should idolize for giving them recognition, time and attention (and in democratic countries, their money to pay for the newspaper). Real reporters show their gratitude to readers by reporting artfully, with vigor and truthfully on events and issues that are of interest and that impact the population for better or worse.

    Real reporters in a free society respect the intelligence of their readers because they know that showing any signs of incoherence or deviation from the truth will cause them to loose credibility and therefore their jobs. This blind idolatry, in a group of people who are under the spell or threat of a tyrannical regime does tremendous harm to the people, as they cannot make decisions or form opinions based on objective truthful reporting.

    In analyzing their practices, and from the perspective of a citizen living in a free society, instead of insulting these reporters, I’ll assume that their capacity to properly observe, reason and discharge their responsibility to inform and educate the populace with nothing but the absolute truth, is significantly impaired due to the “robotic behavior syndrome” discussed in earlier articles, which is imposed with special focus, by the regime on their practice.

    As Yoani and others point out, we all must continue working and doing everything we can to inform, and educate the Cuban people about facts and their right to make choices based on the real world. Whatever it takes, memory cards, diskettes, cds, radio satellite broadcasts, etc.

  22. Ashley, Donn, Jose: WELCOME!!!!! So happy to see you here!!!! Carbo Servia is right… your comments show you are reading and so by your comments you protect Yoani from harm. THANK YOU.

  23. Dear Yoanis:
    Great job!! Now in English as well. Try also Spanglish, I have read “The Old Man and the Sea” in the English version and I have found that Hemingway loved it too. Keep going!! and much more microphones. The joke of the Cuban “guajiro” that used a microphone for the first time in his life just came true…he shouted …”Freedom!”

  24. Just to let you know that Yaonis blog is linked to my blog daily without fail. Keep up the good work ! Sinceramente, Donn

  25. Hi Ashley, welcome on board. I invite you to take a look of the whole site. You can learn a lot about Cuba’s daily life by reading Yoani’s old posts and also the comment of the readers. The freedom of this blogger is in treats constantly, having people like you that read hers post and comment it is a powerful source of protection for her. The tyranny will not dare to harm her as long we read hers posts. Take a retro look of the site, bring your friends, spread the news.
    Thanks

  26. I had no idea this had happened, and I live in the US. I’m ashamed to say that I never heard about it. I’m thrilled that President Obama has taken such a positive step. I only wish that Cuban Press Day could really be the celebration of a free press and not of journalists spouting the ideology of the revolution.

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