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martes, enero 25, 2011


The question may raise considerations about the word “independent” or perhaps bring to mind the term “freelance journalism,” but in the context of the huge media propaganda against revolutionary Cuba, the accurate answer was given by journalist Enrique Ubieta in an interview with German reporter Harald Neuber.

Enrique Ubieta, director of the publication La Calle del Medio, maintains the “La Isla Desconocida,” blog on the Internet which was recently put out of line by google, and following denunciations of the action Googlerepresentatives said it was an automatic response to spam-related activity. The blog is back on the Internet.

Before getting to the interview, it would be worth reading the dictionary description of the term freelance: “working for different companies at different times rather than

being permanently employed by one company: a freelance journalist, or independent, meaning uncommitted in politics or personal life.

Interview excerpts (English version):

Q: There are so many reports published out of Cuba about the so-called “independent journalists”. Are these independent journalists part of a strategy?

A: Firstly, we must be clear about what the word “independent” is supposed to mean for some who attack Cuba. This word takes a specific meaning when it is used with respect to Cuba: unbelievably it does not refer to money sources—it does not even include them–, but it has to do with the content instead; that is opinions or views. If the view is contrary to the Cuban revolution, then it is an independent opinion, but if it favors the Revolution, no matter how critical it can be of the social process, then it is not considered an independent view. Supposedly no one is expected to have a personal opinion that favors the Revolution. Cuba is the only place in the world where the so-called “independent” journalists gain more money and better privileges than those called “oficialista” or pro-government journalists.

Now if you make a personal blog and post no political articles—since you are more interested in other topics like stamp collection for instance—you are termed as pro-government too. But if you open a blog backed with translations into 18 languages (such many versions do not even appear on Obama´s webpage)–which is the case of Yoani Sanchez—to write against the Cuban Revolution, then you are an independent blogger. The so-called “independent” have satellite-supported cell phones, modern technology video cameras; they high prices in hard currency for Internet service at luxury hotels in Havana and they wear branded clothes, while at the same time they are close friends of foreign diplomats who, by the way, are not very good friends of the Cuban government.

Yes, there exists a strategy and funds to encourage subversion against Cuba. Would anyone consider the Cuban Revolution as the “official” thing in today’s world and Capitalism as its “alternative”? As you well know, it is the other way around: those who defend the ruling position in the world (Capitalism) and have access to its huge media and financial resources are the real “oficialistas.” Cubans who support the Revolution are the independent ones.

Q: And how much credible is this blog by Yoani Sanchez? Why doesn’t the Cuban press publish her contents and reject its propaganda?

A: Yoani´s articles are insignificant. Her blog is a mere pretext to introduce her name into the media scenario. Her promoters are only interested in creating, through the media, a character appealing to international sympathy. The major effort by the West in its war against the Cuban Revolution—and its major historic failure at the same time—has always aimed at creating credible characters to lure the western public and the Cuban people (something even more difficult to achieve); characters that incarnate the internal opposition concept. As soon as they find a candidate the money is there. As to Yoani, they have used a more winding method, but not new though: the laundering of her pay through awards that promote her at the same time. Why aren’t their arguments exposed? The war they have imposed on us is not for the truth, but for political power. Their sponsors are not interested in knowing who is right, but who has his or her version of the story published more times in the world media. Again: Cuba is but a small island sailing against the current in the ocean of World capitalism.

Amidst such a war, the arguments of the Cuban Revolution would never have the same opportunities than those half truths of Yoani. However, the real war is found on the Cuban streets, and although they have tried to put Joany on the stage, the views of the foreign press find no room in there. No matter the degree of distortion about Cuban reality, most Cubans support the Revolution.

Q: So, What is the difference between a Cuban journalist that criticizes certain everyday problems and an “independent journalist” who does the same?

The so-called “independent journalists” distinguished themselves by their financial and ideological dependence on the United States, although sometimes the money has to travel to Europe to return dressed up in different colors. Yoani Sanches, for instance, follows a single line; she can not miss the pre-established design made up of complaints and more complaints. Revolutionary bloggers have more freedom; they criticize and defend the Revolution; they speak of the latest baseball game and the most recent music CD. Those who sell their counterrevolutionary product followed a line so tight that they usually repeat (on international or national issues) exactly what the US administration says in the same words.

For example, Yoani actively participates in media campaigns against the Venezuelan government as her blog supports the Iranians who fight the government of that country. She welcomes as right the ousting of President Zelaya from Honduras. Isn´t that a real pro-American government stance or oficialista?

During the Bush administration the “independent” were called to the residence of the US representative in Havana to symbolically vote in US presidential elections. Most of them would vote for Bush, according to their own statements.

How many people in Cuba have access to Internet? How would the establishment of a submarine cable from Venezuela change the current situation?

Cuba is surrounded by US submarine communication cables, but Cuba is prohibited from using them. So, the island has to access Internet via satellite and that makes the connection slow and expensive. But Cuba is opened to new technologies. When medicine-related biotechnology began to develop, Cuba trained hundreds of scientists and invested its scarce resources in the construction of centers that are currently producing and exporting unique pharmaceuticals.

When the appearance of Information Technologies was predicted, Cuba set up specialized universities in the field. And there are several I.T. universities in the country; the one in Havana has a registration of 10, 000 students. Computer centers were set up in each municipality and the subject became part of high school curricula. With a population of 11 million inhabitants, Cuba is estimated to have 700, 000 computers, with 100, 000 of them operating at homes. However, in the face of lack of resources and the obstacles posed by the US economic blockade, Cuba has prioritize the social or collective use of Internet, particularly for the sectors linked to arts and culture. There are 2 331 Cuban domains in Internet and each one of them may have several Websites; those sites host over 500, 000 Webpages. The largest e-mail networks are linked to the sectors of public health, education and culture. All universities have Internet rooms, as well as most research and cultural centers. Many intellectuals have Internet at home. According to estimates 1, 600, 000 people access Internet from Cuba, 200, 000 of them at their own homes.

The establishment of a submarine cable from Venezuela would provide better and expanded Internet use; however, we can not forget that it is the United States who controls that technology. Not even Obama, who launched the idea of opening the Intenet way for Cuba—an idea linked to promoting subversion, but welcomed anyway—has been able to advance in that direction because there are hurdles imposed by the very essence of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.

Finally, I would like to say that what may seem a priority for the First World—the expansion of Internet—does not have to be a priority for the Third World. The African continent still has less telephones than the Island of Manhattan, in New York. We want to have full access to technology, but our resources are scarce and we keep being a nation under the US blockade.

Por último, quiero señalar que lo que al Primer Mundo puede parecerle una prioridad –en este caso la universalización de Internet–, no necesariamente debe serlo para el Tercer Mundo. El continente africano tiene todavía menos teléfonos que la isla de Manhattan en Nueva York. Queremos usar plenamente la tecnología, pero nuestros recursos son escasos y seguimos siendo una nación bloqueada

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