Selections, pieces, fragments

I watch little television because I prefer books, newspapers or the computer to acquire information and learn something. Over the years I have learned to distrust what comes over the screen, and even more so when it comes to the news. On those days when I have a lot of patience, I use the eight o’clock show as an exercise to detect what is hidden behind the triumphalist phrases. But, I repeat, I only do this when I’m feeling sufficiently stoic.

Still, I feel uneasy if I’m in a hotel and see the tourists watching television stations such as CNN that we Cubans cannot have in our homes. I recently started a discussion with a Peruvian who assured me—passionately—that in every Havana house we could tune into the Latin American station Telesur. He didn’t know, in his absentmindedness, that we are only permitted access to a studied collection of what is transmitted on this channel every day. Barely a few hours in the evening, under the name “Selections from Telesur,” pass through the narrow filter of what can be shown on our televised media.

Curiously, and in spite of the cuts, the Telesur news is miles away from that of National TV. Occasionally something even escapes which negates or calls into question what they’d assured us, a few minutes before, on the officially transmitted Cubavision news. Then I understand why even Telesur can’t be shown without cuts to our eyes eager for news. We should rent a hotel room, paid for in convertible currency, to view without restrictions this channel and all the others they have forbidden to us.

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9 thoughts on “Selections, pieces, fragments

  1. The media is responcible for shaping the mindset’s of the public.They can depress the public,or revive their hope’s.At a time their duty was to deliver the truth to the public;at that time,the truth had one definition;now,i feel,the definition of the truth they deliver has been altered thank’s to their government’s.Every news channel is biased,or controlled.It’s not just here or there,but everywhere;it’s the simple fact of fear from the news agency’s side,or insecturity from the governments side.

  2. I’ve found BBC to be just as biased as other stations. It’s nice that the USA at least has news stations on each side of the political spectrum, while many other countries only major news sources are left leaning news channels like BBC, which in fact leans left despite what is stated on here.
    From Post #1:
    “I’m always surprised and a bit shocked at the content and agendas of US “news” stations like CNN and MSN and especially FOX”
    Fox News is the only News station that is the opposition to socialist politicians in the USA and the news station with the highest rating. I think they do a fantastic service in keeping them in check, otherwise Obama and Pelosi would do whatever they wanted without anyone reporting on the corruption behind it. If you don’t have a news channel criticizing and analyzing critically every move the administration makes, then you have a situation like in Cuba. You don’t seem to like FOX NEWS much, which would mean that you probably don’t like democracy much. Yoani is the opposition to the socialist government of Cuba, which would mean that Yoani is the “Fox News” of Cuba. Even if she is much less dramatic than Fox News, the opposition news is the most important news in any country.
    It seems like a lot of people who post on here have their own agenda apart from freedom.

  3. In the news programming, the grip of the Communist party officials responsible for ideological orientation is as firm as ever. Take Round Table, a prime-time news discussion show broadcast for 1½ hours every day. Each evening guests discuss themes of the day, for example the immigration crisis in the capitalist world, but no one would dare to suggest that socialist Cuba has its own emigration problem, in the form of 20,000 Cubans who wait patiently for US visas each year or risk their lives aboard rickety rafts to cross the Florida Straits illegally.

  4. Listening, watching or reading about the news in a free society is a bit like going to the library. You can pick books and periodicals that are factual and scientific about events, or you can go to another aisle and read up on the art of primitive cave painting (which I think are beautiful) and how it may have helped the cave dwellers conduct a more successful hunt, or in catching more fish. If you’re into fishing like I am, you might want to read up on how to prevent bad luck when out fishing – such as not bringing bananas on board a boat, or never set sail on an unnamed vessel. Or instead, you could choose to research how to do knots and/or pick the right bait and tackle to improve your chances. It all depends on what the observer or reader is searching for, and what his agenda is.

    In my case, I watch and/or listen to Public Radio and TV, the BBC, occasionally CNN. I like the idea of people paying the BBC for their programming, since this prevents bias or pressure from commercial interests. Reading the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times can be useful if you’re looking for depth in a news article. These are both great publications. I could buy the Tribune if I wanted to find out about local politics in Chicago, but I usually skip it and go for a free, bohemian publication called “The Reader” for local events. On the web, we have thousands of TV programs and content that can be downloaded with the click of a mouth, not to mention countless news sources.

    Having experienced the horror of the Castro dynasty first hand, I feel that having all this resources at my disposal is a privilege that I treasure and I do not take for granted. We should always be on the lookout for psychopaths, and self righteous politicians and individuals who may be tempted to take that away from us.

    Unfortunately, many of my fellow citizens on the planet, including the Cuban population, as pointed out above, do not enjoy this freedom. This is due to the cancer of totalitarianism whereby some dandy dictator, thinks himself special, and together with an inner circle who benefits from his position of power, treats the rest of their fellow compatriots like circus animals, to be lead from the cage to the ring, do their act and return to the cage, where they are further trained and fed a strict and deficient diet.

  5. Cuba’s state-owned TV and where the press is solidly controlled by the ruling Communist Party, the official line comes out loud and clear on Cubavisión’s main evening news, shown at 8pm. The show is almost a parody of the worst kind of Soviet-era official speak. News from the rest of the world rarely gain air time, and when it does it is invariably filtered out.

  6. People of Cuba, Demand your Civil Rights.. Enough is Enough, more people need to stand up and be heard. More media keeps every honest. Yoani, thank you for your daily blogs,God Bless you and your loved ones y el perrito.

    Make some noise.

  7. I watch a little of every major network, but at the end,I prefer PBS because is commercial free.My favorite of all is the “The Wall Street Journal” online.The oppinions of Maria Anastasia O’Grady are priceless.When I was in Cuba I listened to the “Voice Of America” and later on, just before I came to the States, Radio Marti.Cubans have that option,in fact a lot of cubans just do that. Cubans believe it or not are more informed than a lot of Americans.I think Yoani “forgot” to mention that.

  8. Michael, I don’t watch TV news for the “truth” but rather for reporting and opinion on current events. The major US news networks have quite different content and agendas. Fox News leans right, MSNBC leans left, with CNN more in the middle. Like you, I prefer BBC World to any of the major US networks. Yoani’s point, though, is that Cubans are denied these basic choices those of us living in democratic countries take for granted.

  9. You might be surprised at what you see on the “forbidden” channels on TV.
    I have not stayed in the reported “5 star” hotels in Cuba but certainly the version of CNN that I’ve been able to watch in Havana is “CNN en Espanol” from Mexico and there is virtually NO news from outside the Spanish-speaking world. Other (perhaps more useful) channels are DW TV (all in German), several channels of the same content from Cuba and most strangely, two or three Chinese channels. I didn’t think there were enough Chinese-speakers in Cuba to warrant this exposure.
    As I’m not a citizen or resident of the USA, I’m always surprised and a bit shocked at the content and agendas of US “news” stations like CNN and MSN and especially FOX.
    You won’t get much truth here and if you regularly have access to BBC International, ABC from Australia, DW from Germany or CBC from Canada you would be surprised to see what is really happening in the world.

    Until Cuba can offer direct feeds from all over the world, the little information available on forbidden Cuban TV or from pirated signals from their neighbor to the north are hardly worth putting down your book to watch.

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