Viernes, 21 de Octubre de 2016
14:43 CEST.

Cuba: Harassment of alternative media

A new fight against the demons of censorship is being waged these days in Cuba. In a feverish damage control operation, the Cuban authorities and their organic propagandists have accused various media and journalists of being "Trojan Horses, funded by the enemy." Authorities are busy assassinating reputations of members of the alternative press, citing the criminal and labor codes or simply sending their dark agents to warn —in situ or through social-networks— that some kind of superhuman anger will break loose from Olympus.

Those beleaguered by official harassment share common features. They are mostly young journalists who use online media to convey news of daily life in fresh reports and chronicles combined with columns of opinion and, above all, with a commitment to investigative journalism of high ethical caliber that meets civic and aesthetic standards. Avoiding traditional approaches of political media accustomed to sing praises of the performance of rulers or dissenters, these postmodern minstrels of the people 2.0 tell about the problems of neighborhoods without water, of forest ecocide and the official perversion of cultural festivals. With resources obtained from crowd founding and some limited sponsorships, scholarships and personal savings, they try to do decent and creative journalism in a situation in which the role of the press has been perverted by the ideological propaganda of the old bureaucrats and, to a lesser extent, by the public relations agendas of the new rich. The alternative media struggling to change this situation have earned the respect of icons of global journalism such as J. Lee Anderson and Ernesto Londoño.

The perversity and stupidity underlying the official censorship campaign are, like the universe, infinite and expanding. By seeing the world only with their Stalinist eyes, they can’t see other referents than the old Soviet Pravda and are blind to relevant models like the dynamic Huffington Post. They pretend to pass as alternative media what are really irrelevant approaches that can no longer command attention, in order to summon support for the Revolution from an Internet that is simply not available to the majority of Cubans. They pretend to dive vertically, from above, over networks that are intended for an open society and that can only be surfed horizontally. Their role models are in Pyongyang and Harare.

I have two questions regarding this general offensive against alternative media. Why do the usual agents of “Soft Insular Power” (ex-diplomats, ex-cops and ex-intellectuals) who not long ago celebrated these online media now remain silent when an opposition press that they consider unfair uses them? And why insist today, as some of them do, on what these alternative journalists did or did not do when facing other situations in the past? Power prevails through fragmentation. The important thing is to denounce, with solidarity, the official attacks on people who are learning to do journalism from the passions of their daily lives.