The Illusion of Color

Caribbean TV

I got home from school and there was a man sitting on the floor in front of the TV. His fingers were stained with paint and some oil-paint tubes were scattered around him. It was the latest fad in the neighborhood: painting a colorful pattern on those boring black-and-white screens. The first one to do so was the downstairs neighbor, always up-to-date with the latest trends, which included posters of lightly-clad women taped to the walls, and an enormous porcelain tiger at the entrance to her home. She dictated fashion throughout the whole tenement, so when she transformed her “boob tube” with a rainbow in reds and blues, everyone imitated her. In my house at 218 Krim, they painted some stripes and even a central circle in various tones. Most significant is that years later, I remembered the programs and cartoons I saw on that “invention” as if they’d come to me in their original polychrome. My brain had joined the shades and constructed the illusion of color.

This personal anecdote comes to me when I read the latest 2012 Statistics from the Census of Population and Housing. On learning that there are still more than 700,000 black-and-white TVs in Cuba, I can’t help but evoke the excited neighbors of my tenement using their fingertips to paint their cathode ray tubes. But in the current figures, there is not only evidence that they are still watching TV programming in black, white and gray… but also that they are economically worse off in our country. They are the ones who have failed to get together the convertible pesos for a modern Sony or LG. Those who probably have no family abroad, who haven’t found a way to divert State resources, or whose privileges ended with the end of the USSR. The poorest who, in a society of such avid TV watchers, don’t have the resources to enjoy the tonalities.

I wonder if any of those old TVs touched up with stripes in green, purple and cyan still survive… If some child on this island still watches like my sister and me did, mentally joining a piece of color here and another there to imagine Huckleberry Hound was a blue dog, or Cheburashka with his fur brown.

Now I no longer know, I can no longer distinguish in my memory, between what came to me thanks to the ingenuity of painted screens, or what I enjoyed years later thanks to Technicolor.

The post La ilusión del color appeared first on Generación Y – Yoani Sánchez.

23 November 2013

20 thoughts on “The Illusion of Color

  1. Color television was introduced in Cuba in 1958, the second country in the world after the U.S. to broadcast in color. Channel 12 Telecolor, started transmission in color on February 24, using RCA telemovie equipment capable of processing color television images.

    After the Castroit regime took over the government in1959, Channel 12 stop broadcasting color programming. On August 6, 1960, the regime nationalized all the TV and radio networks, and censorship was established. This was the beginning of the end of the free press. The TV color equipment were dismantled and shipped to the Soviet Union to duplicate it using reverse engineering technology. Because of it, the Soviet Union was able to start the transmission of color TV on October 1st 1967. Color TV was no reintroduced in Cuba until 1976 in a much smaller scale.

  2. Innovative use of technology in Cuba included a major baseball event: using an airplane as a relay to bring the 1955 World Series as a live TV broadcast to Cuban fans. They were thrill when Sandy Amorós, Brooklyn Dodgers left fielder, save the game with a spectacular catch of a line drive by New York catcher Yogi Berra, turning it into a double play in the seven inning, winning the World Series for Dodgers.

    This was possible due to the ingenuity of Cubans engineers that equipped a Cubana Airlines DC-3 which flew a circular pattern between Key West and Havana, acting as a relay transmission station for the live TV signal.

  3. The reason Cuba didn’t go the way of Eastern Europe and the old Soviet Union was because it is fundamentally different. Point two revolutionaries don’t need to create poverty the capitalist system is quite capable in that matter. US Cuba ‘experts’ have been announcing the end of the Cuban Revolution for almost 55 years now. They have also had to put up with the blockade for slightly less time. In fact the dissolution of the Soviet Union had the Miami Mafia dancing in the streets and Congress tightening the blockade.

    Its been over 20 years now and the revolution is strong. When they can’t criticize the revolution for being too ‘Marxist’ then they try and criticize it for not following their interpretation of Marx. No Empire has ever been able to successfully put up a wall to prevent the entire of scientific ideas into society and the productive forces which define the human condition.

    Yoani is isolated in Cuba because she represents a tiny minority of middle class intellectuals dreaming of privileges through a return to a political and economic system like the United States. An empire where a tiny minority of capitalists rule through a two party system that excludes the working class and small farmers from any real participation in government.

    I grew up in a household with TV but without color TV and can remember the NBC peacock announcing the following program is brought to you in living color by NBC. I also remember as a young child telling my parents we already had color TV because I could see the colors.

    To those having trouble posting I suggest using an alternative browser like Fire Fox.

  4. Thank you, Ms. Sanchez, for giving up YOUR OPINION, on YOUR BLOG, about what YOUR LIFE is like in Cuba. It’s very enlightening.

  5. @John Bibb

    Welcome to Ugly Cuba blog.

    In this post she does not report “on the real Cuban life she sees”.

    She reports on something she has seen in the past century and uses this tragicomical anecdote for anti-cuban propaganda today.

  6. ***
    HI MARABU–Yoani Sanchez just reports on the real Cuban life she sees. Her hard work has improved her personal economy. What she does is her own business!
    ***
    HOLA MARABU–Yoani Sanchez reporta la vida real Cubana que ve. Su trabajo dificil ha mejorado su economia personal. Lo que hace es su negocio!
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  7. Nick, Marabu!! JUST LOOOOVE THE GUANTANAMO, BAD OLD USA SONG! DID THEY NOMINATE YOU GUYS/GIRLS FOR THE AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS??? HOSTED BY THE ANTI-CASTROFASCIST PITBULL?? TUNE IN TOMORROW AND HEAR JENIFFER LOPEZ PAY A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE LATIN MUSIC ICON CELIA CRUZ WHO IS STILL CENSORED IN CUBA!!!! CAN WE SPELL “CASTROFASCISM”??? AZUCAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fox News Latino: Jennifer Lopez is a superstar in her own right, but come Sunday, she will have even bigger shoes to fill at the American Music Awards, when she pays tribute to musical legend Celia Cruz. “I felt very honored and a little scared, I don’t think there is anything better for this year’s AMA,” Lopez told the Associated Press during a phone interview from the set of his next film “A Boy Next Door” in Los Angeles.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!
    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2013/11/23/jennifer-lopez-to-pay-tribute-to-musical-legend-celia-cruz-at-Sunday-ama/

  8. TV was inaugurated in Cuba October 10, 1950. The first channel to start transmission was No. 4 in September 1950, following by No. 6 in December 1950 and No. 2 in February 1953. At that time only the U.S. and Cuba had national networks of TV and radio joint by microwaves.

    By 1954 Cuba was the fourth largest television market in the world and a leader and innovator in programing. In 1958 there were about 27 TV station operating in the country: three national networks with seven stations each, and six independent local stations.

    UN statistics show that, by 1958, one out of 18 homes in Cuba had a TV set, equivalent to 45 TV sets per 100,000 inhabitants, occupying fifth rank in the world.

  9. The following would be examples of some recent members of the US military that retain a degree of principle, decency and self respect:

    Lieutenant General Norman R. Seip, USAF (Ret.)
    Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
    Lieutenant General Keith J. Stalder, USMC (Ret.)
    Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)
    Major General Mari K. Eder, USA (Ret.)
    Major General Eugene Fox, USA (Ret.)
    Rear Admiral Donald Guter, JAGC, USN (Ret.)
    Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, JAGC, USN (Ret.)
    Major General Michael R. Lehnert, USMC (Ret.)
    Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)
    Major General Walter L. Stewart, Jr., USA (Ret.)
    Major General Antonio M. Taguba, USA (Ret.)

    Maybe their efforts can drag the USA from the sewer upward toward the gutter as regards this matter.

  10. As a British guy I do have to say that we’ve done some pretty iffy things over the years.
    We surely have much to regret,
    But Guantanamo??
    WTF is going on there??
    I am most definitely on the side of all those stripey shoulder types listed in Marabu’s post.
    It brings shame and embarrassment on the USA.

    What about this guy…..
    He’s got a proper legal team on his side coz he’s got British residency, has a British wife and has British kids (one of whom he’s never seen).

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24998809

    But what about all the other innocent people incarcerated there that ain’t got the same calibre of legal advisors??????

    If the USA wants to try to pull off this anti-Geneva Convention stunt, then they should at the very least have the balls to do it some place else other than on Cuban soil.

    A shameful black page amongst the many black pages in the book of recent US history.

    Actually its not a black page, it’s a black chapter….

  11. I don’t know about anyone else, but I know that I was up all night, giddy with anticipation, waiting with bated breath, for the answer to Marabu’s “brilliant” quiz.

  12. YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWER.

    WHO SAID THIS:
    “Guantanamo is a betrayal of American values. The prison is a symbol of torture
    and justice delayed.”

    A. Me
    B. Nick
    C. Diaz-Canel
    D. An editorial of Granma
    E. These words come from ______________________

    THE CORRECT ANSWER IS E.

    Here are the co-authors of this statement:
    Lieutenant General Norman R. Seip, USAF (Ret.)
    Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
    Lieutenant General Keith J. Stalder, USMC (Ret.)
    Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)
    Major General Mari K. Eder, USA (Ret.)
    Major General Eugene Fox, USA (Ret.)
    Rear Admiral Donald Guter, JAGC, USN (Ret.)
    Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, JAGC, USN (Ret.)
    Major General Michael R. Lehnert, USMC (Ret.)
    Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)
    Major General Walter L. Stewart, Jr., USA (Ret.)
    Major General Antonio M. Taguba, USA (Ret.)

    and two dozens more of US generals and admirals:
    http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/uploads/pdfs/NDAA-guantanamo-letter-2014.pdf

    Please note: all of them retired. Those in active service are too scared to speak openly.

    The Pentagon can’t trust the top brass on the Guantanamo disgrace.

    The US Cuba policy is hostage to a handful of Florida congressmen. Shame on them.

  13. KEY SENTENCE!! “Skeptics of the project see it as the latest repository for Cuban state-sponsored hype, now that foreign oil companies have all but given up their hunt for crude in Cuban waters.”

    THE JOYS OF 21st CENTURY “COMMUNISM/SOCIALISM”! BUT WAIT! CUBANS MAY HAVE CHINOS, BUT THEY ARE NOT CHINOS! TOO MANY CULTURES MIXED! NOT APPLES TO APPLES! THE CASTROFASCIST OLIGARCHY MAFIA HAS SHOW ITS TRUE FACE AGAIN!

    GLOBAL POST: At Mariel port, Cuba follows Chinese blueprint – With the nearly $1 billion port project, Cuba seeks to carve out a special economic zone for global capital. – Nick Miroff – November 23, 2013

    HAVANA, Cuba — One country, two systems. The formula has worked for China’s business-minded communists. Can it succeed in Cuba?

    President Raul Castro’s government is building its own version of a Chinese-style economic zone on the banks of the Mariel Bay, 30 miles west of Havana, where the laws of scientific Marxism will not apply.

    Inside a 180-square-mile special economic zone, Cuban planners have envisioned a global capitalist enclave where foreign companies can install manufacturing plants, research centers and operational hubs.

    This island within an island will operate on the business principles of globalization — not tropical socialism — and like China’s 1980s reforms, it would offer communist authorities an expedient way to compartmentalize economics and ideology.

    The zone would lure foreign businesses with the guarantee of a 10-year tax holiday and virtually unfettered freedom to import raw materials and repatriate profits. The Cuban government began accepting bids from international investors this month.

    At the core of the project is a $900 million deep-water port terminal being built by the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, primarily with Brazilian government loans. Due to open in January, it is designed to handle the new wave of larger “post-Panamax” ships expected to dominate global commerce when the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2015.
    Skeptics of the project see it as the latest repository for Cuban state-sponsored hype, now that foreign oil companies have all but given up their hunt for crude in Cuban waters.

    Others doubt international investors will choose to put their money on the island when they could go to another country like the Dominican Republic, which has lower labor costs and an established track record for manufacturing.

    The Mariel project’s promoters say it will be the Caribbean’s biggest shipping port once completed, but other cities in the region are likely to catch up.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/cuba/131120/cuban-trade-special-economic-zone-mariel-port#1

  14. Marabu, it is YOU who is sad, and yes, daft. One of your previous recent comments “organize street awareness groups – 3-5 people who would partol (sic) the cities and approach those wearing Nike or Crodocile (sic) symbols on their cloths (sic) and explain why it is wrong”, made me laugh so much I nearly wet myself. I’ve been to Cuba 3 times and as much as I love the Cubans, the cocktails, the beaches, (can’t include food here, it’s the worst I’ve ever eaten), the whole place is a decrepit basket case. Cuba should be a gorgeous, affluent, free country. Do you have any idea Marabu, what it is like to live in a country like that?

  15. Marabu, how terribly sad YOU are. With reference to one of your recent comments “. Organize Street Awarness Groups – 3 or 5 people who would partol the cities and approach those wearing Nike or Crodocile (sic) symbols on their cloths and explain why it is wrong,” I laughed so much I nearly wet myself. Why do you persist with such silly beliefs? I’ve been to Cuba 3 times and as much as I love the Cubans, the cocktails and the beaches ( I can’t include food here, it’s the worst I’ve ever eaten in the word), the whole place is a decrepit basket case.

  16. And, by the way, do you have a crystal ball to ascertain what Ms. Sanchez does with her money? No? Didn’t think so.

  17. Marabu, you are absolutely DAFT. DAFT, I tell you!!!! Nowhere in this blog post does Ms. Sanchez mock the poor, nor does she ridicule their “fantasies.”

    Too bad “gangstas and drug dealers” don’t have any self-respect. They have nothing to contribute except to try to “buy” people with their blood money.

  18. How sad.
    A wealthy Cuban mocks the poor, ridicules their fantasies of color television.

    It is so much fun to have money in a Third World nation, isn’t it, Yoani?

    In your place I would learn form brasilian gangsters or dominican drug wholesellers.
    They have money, too, but respect their neighbors, give medicine to the poor, ocassionally build a simple pool for the street kids.

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