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.