Jose Alejandro’s reasons

No one knows the mechanisms of censorship in Cuba better than those who write in the few newspapers of national circulation. The press here has been turned into a delicate profession required to measure adjectives, carefully weigh topics and often to hide personal opinions in order to keep a job. It is a life decision to be a journalist for the official media, I know, but I also know some who have been trapped in the twists and turns of complicity, waiting for the day when they can write what they think.

From the Juventude Rebelde newspaper office where Reinaldo worked until 1988, there is very little left because most of his colleagues now live in Miami, Mexico and Spain. Others have retired from the profession, disillusioned with the aborted glastnost and the consecutive calls for criticism, which ended up being bait for the most daring. José Alejandro Rodríguez survived all this and carried his personal battle into the “Receipt Requested” section where he published readers’ letters with their complaints and questions. Every time I read his crusade against bureaucracy and poor work, I sense the regressive countdown that will probably culminate in his professional silencing.

A few days ago José Alejandro could take no more. He took everything he has accumulated about the “excessive centralization” that the press on this Island is subject to and condemned the secrecy surrounding government decisions. In his article “Against the demons of kidnapped information” he used the language of an honest man who always believed in the possibility of humanizing the current system through the transparency of information. I respectfully differ with him, because what has been built on a foundation of hiding, condemning and filtering cannot survive the clear light that emanates from an incisive and free journalism.

The three pages of his harangue lasted just a few hours on the on-line version of Juventud Rebelde. The article was kidnapped by the shrewd hawks of orthodoxy, who know well the danger of a Nation that begins to learn everything you have hidden.

A copy of the article “Against the demons of kidnapped information” can be read here.


13 thoughts on “Jose Alejandro’s reasons

  1. I am from Alberta Canada and I thank God your bravery and willingness to risk your life for freedom. Please is there anything I can do to help from Canada.
    My prayers are with you!!!!

  2. Yoani:

    I’ve been looking lately at the various blogs listed on the left margin and I want to thank you profoundly for your efforts in training so many quality, and courageous Cuban writers, in the ways of blogging. We we would not know that they even existed, were it not for all the hard work.

    I want to point out that among others, I regularly read “Desde Aqui” de Reinaldo. I like his sincerity and no nonsense approach. “Sin Evasion” de Miriam, her intelligence and direct style is sharp as a whip. And of course, “Octavo Cerco” from Claudia, which are kylobytes straight from the heart.

    I surf through the various blogs and also injoy looking at “Boring Home” pictures, and “El Guajiro Azul” who is so down to earth, just like the name implies.

    By the way the word Guajiro, I recently found out, is a distillation of the American english word “warhero”. Maybe someone can explain why.

    For me, all these blogs are like a walk down a library full of newspaper articles and editorials. What a great job you’ve all done, I feel pride, even though I sense that I’ve done very little or nothing to contribute, other than my diatribes and small donations.

  3. I am so glad that some of the same people who were in support of this sick regime are beginning to see the truth, it is never too late folks.

  4. The one showing the most “Testicular Fortitude” right now, our own Flaquita, lacks the specific anatomy — but not the balls! Kudos also of course to all the “Free Bloggers of Cuba”… male and female.. who are showing the way.

    Here’s a great article for those who read Spanish:

    In summary it says, everyone in Cuba is afraid… the governed and the governors… but what is most feared by the government are those who overcome their fear — and what they, the regime, most fear is that this courage to overcome fear could be contagious… and the one who shows this quality most strongly is Yoani, which is why they fear her the most.

  5. The fact is that in the case of Jose, his article did get published, and is now being read around the world by thousands of readers. And I’m sure inside Cuba as well.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if other Cuban journalists would follow in his foot steps and publish on the web their opinions, freely arrived at, if only for ten seconds, so one of us can quickly copy and re-publish or post in a hundred other web sites.

    Just thinking out loud. But someday, somewhere, something’s going to happen and when it does, those who showed some testicular fortitude, will be the heroes that the people will celebrate and invite into their homes, to be wined, dined and toasted.

  6. A few days ago I did send this message to several “Granma” journalist.

    The title of the message is:

    “Journalistic Apartheid”

    To all whom I’m addressing this post, I will be able to show you, “after a rigorous analysis, the following conclusions:

    In the “Digital Granma are many journalists who have the opportunity to publish their articles, however, there is a marked difference between the journalists that “could receive replies directly -sent to their e-mail- and those who publish something and “have no the possibility of a direct e-mail for answers”.

    For example:

    Among those who have “links” already set up to receive direct answers to their e-mail are :

    1-Pedro de la Hoz
    2-Joseph dela Osa
    3-Rafael Perez
    4-Orfilio Pelaez
    5-Joel higher
    6-Juan Varela

    All the above, have the privilege to write and to receive responses directly from any person, as they have created their “links” under his own name.All all them might be classified as :”The Granma Pit Bulls”, or “La Creme de la Creme”!!!!!

    Among those without “NO LINKS” already set up, to receive direct answers to their e-mail are:

    1-Pausides Cabrera
    2-Miguel Febles
    3-Foil Parra
    4-Raul Pierri
    5-Hernan Bosh
    6-Freddy Perez
    7-Armando Saez
    8-Madeleine Sautié
    9-Alina Martinez
    10-Ariel B. Coya
    11-Lianet Arias Sosa
    12-Ortelio Gonzalez
    13-Orlando Nacer
    14-Yordanka Almaguer

    This list is endless and only intended to show the clear difference between journalists with free access to RECEIVE DIRECT RESPONSES AND journalist WITHOUT THE FREE ACCESS TO RECEIVE DIRECT answers !!!!!

    With this study, we can forecast that, from 20 randomly selected articles, the
    70% of the journalists, “DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE DIRECT ANSWERS FROM THEIR READERS” and 30% of them can enjoy that privilege.

    Is this some kind of journalistic Apartheid?

    I am 100 % sure that both groups- the one who has the rights to receive e-mails, and the other one, that is not entitled to receive direct responses- are required to write what the government and the leaders order, under their conditions, their words, their dogmas, their sentences, etc, etc, conscious that everything is exactly a diabolical doctrine guarded by guns and punishments, therefore, none of them can get out of the “script” listed.

    The question is, why 70% of them have no access to receive direct answers?,,, Here are the answers ”

    1-The government is afraid that many of them start to argue their own ideas, especially, after receiving an honest one, decent, but above all, truly and completely free.

    2-The government is afraid that the answers will show indicators of comparison with which any of the “marginalized” could reach conclusions unfavorable to the doctrine imposed and therefore the essence of the lie could crumble and set them collapse.

    3-The government knows full well that all these journalists write-EVERYTHING!!!!-is a lie and only intended to sweeten the image of the Revolution and its decrepit leaders, they-the government-recognized that most of those journalists are smart people and wasps that come to opposite conclusions in a second, but that does not suit the main concern, the doctrine, then covered in a cloak of censorship which inexorably set from the moment 70% of them do not receive direct answers, and those with the liberty to receiv it, know very well that were read by the censor!!!!!, then, the fear, the terror, etc, etc,,,,, implies no doubts and assumes the usual response rate for each journalist,,,, support the catastrophic Robolución,,,, while they can keep their jobs and have no problems.

    My final question , for those who read this article (The slaves Cuban journalists):

    I’m Right or Wrong?,,, !!!!,,, Be honest, look at your mothers which are the biggest thing than any human being has and in front of their faces, refuse, reject, or justify what I say here, ,,, but all of you, all,,, in the depths of your soul knows I’m right.


  7. It’s just not possible to have anything even resembling a free and transparent press in a country where a highly centralized top-down Communist Party monopolizes all of the levers of political power. Jose Alejandro is only fooling himself if he truly believes it is.

  8. The following is an excerpt of the activities of Moratinos in Cuba according to the Latin American Herald earlier this week:

    “Moratinos’ initial agenda said that on Sunday he would engage in a “private program,” ultimately the day became an intense workday for the Spaniard that will conclude in the evening with a meeting with Cuban intellectuals and artists at the residence of the Spanish ambassador, Manuel Cacho”

    “The agenda included meetings on Monday with Cuba’s foreign and foreign trade ministers – RODRIGUEZ AND RODRIGO MALMIERCA, respectively – and a meeting with the country’s president, Gen. Raul Castro, and his predecessor and older brother, Fidel castro.”

    Anyone knows who these “intelectuals” are that met with Moratinos?

  9. Yoani:

    Thanks for pointing out the article by Jose Alejandro. We would’ve never heard of it, if not for this blog.

    I don’t want to spoil it for Pepe, living this side of the drink two thousand miles away, but I greatly admire what he did and what he had to say. We all have different methodologies, but by applying just a little common sense, we arrive at the same conclusions, despite the chasm of circumstance and distance.

    Pepe should not be judged for trying to survive and hold on to his job under very difficult circumstances, by at times, repeating the word “revolution” sort of like a priest may shout “hallelujah” during religious service, even though he may disagree with celibacy. He has to do it to do continue to be a factor for change. I’m sure most Cubans feel the way he does.

    Like I always point out, we should keep our eyes on the price, and not focus on the circumstantial differences that separate us.

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