On Criticizing Cuba

By: Luis Sexto

A reader asked me if at some point I would write about the positive aspects of Cuba. I answered that I have been working as a journalist for 35 years, and all this time I have defended, along with my people, the values of the Revolution. Has anybody who knows me ever read or heard the contrary?

I am not going to justify myself or make statements in good faith — that sounds bad. I will deal with the issue because, as it often happens, you can speak about good things in many different ways. I discuss and criticize negative aspects to preserve the positive ones. Human actions are also a target of opinion. My training as a journalist is based on authors such as Che Guevara and his «vigilant style. » Nobody has ever read a line written by Che in which he was not critical — because criticism is vigilance. It is the «being alert» of Julius Fucik.

If there is an impact I would like to make in my writing, it would be to make people think. Traditionally, criticism has always been some kind of offence. Fernando Ortiz referred to this tendency in his books in his youth: Ensayos de psicología tropical, written in the early 20th century. We react to criticism —the wise man said— in an intolerant and generally defensive way, considering criticism as the enemy. That is why it is very hard to understand one another, which almost forces us to do without this method, and miss out on the corrective elements.

Has anyone educated their children without using criticism? Maybe the children who «turned out bad» are the result of this lack of criticism. Such parents believe in hiding defects and justifying actions, because if you “come down too hard on the boy he might get mad, and leave home.” I have heard these arguments before. Look at the family life of any unfortunate family and you will see that the too wide strainer is the channel through which clean water is dirtied.

Coincidentally, a few days ago, in a public debate about the radio, a person questioned the practice criticism because “it may give bullets to our enemies.” My position was the same I have always held: the enemy is delighted that we don’t criticize — they count on it. Certain mistakes, without public criticism, continue to do damage.

After Fidel Castro’s admonishment on November 17, 2005 —when he forecasted that our mistakes may do what the United States has never achieved— nobody should be able to sleep peacefully.

Criticism, which is not exclusive to the press, should also come from the party, the government, administrative and management meetings, union assemblies, neighborhood assemblies and their representatives—from the public— because many of the flaws are public. Like an old Latin saying goes, publica publice tractanda sunt, meaning that public mistakes should be dealt with in public to prevent harm to the community.

There’s something else before I finish. I would like to ask reader if he has ever tried to understand journalists. There might be some journalists who adapt themselves and can write while ignoring difficult questions; however, the heritage we have recieved from the time of Jose Marti to the present day —passing through Mella, Villena, Roa, Marinello, Che, Fidel— teaches us to unite political convictions with the role of the press.

We owe loyalty to many things, but is it possible for us to resign ourselves to knowing that collective work is in danger and still just go on as if it were not our business?

1 comentario

Gualterio Nunez Estrada -

Based on mi experience about United States media, the main useful jaurnalist is the less political one. While you can have enligthement and knowledge in the articles and the point of view of scientist and american enginneur, you only found confusing ideas in the political agenda and propaganda able to frezze the american society in and hedonistic imperialism outside of the reality. The media in developing latinoamerican countries unfortunatly is dealing from univerties with the paradigmatical american media very conservative, actually, and romantic about his own future and so far from a deeply information about science and tecnologic like the german media in 1933 beafore Hitler.It is a trick for people who is living 300 or 400 years back from United States while they are neighbourgs to live thinking in reference of the mental set of an american reader with a lot of resource to deal even with an economical crisis, they can have some level of irresponsabilites about the main rich society in the hearth and they don't care what would happens later, even they can support a materialistic way of life better than intelectual, cultural and espiritual values the most important for a poor country who only have that ones to be alife. In a rich country a journalist position is linked to advertisement opinion, even a paper is as far si the econnomical opinion of the inversionist in the market. If you are the reader or the editorial journalist it does not matter what opinion you have. But the enviroment is completely different in the scientist and enginnerign american press. I have good reasons like journalist to think in them: the scientist and technical american journalist like paradigmatical for the journalists and media in every poor country who want to afford a conciussness of habitat based in his own resource. The big media in the richt country have a task: to move the merchandise from the warehouse. They don't need the conciussness of the reader, they need a Pavolov dog to sell any kind of item, it does not matter this is poissonous or not, that the task, the other one: the editorial and articles is the hedonistic political game in bed of a very rich society that don't care where is the future of the other one. If you are a poor country, you can copy that media where the fredom of speech is the fredom of the inversionist to involves your brain in the misery and caos of a normal adittive shopper.They don't care who are you because they need your money, not your brain. That's the media in the rich world, actually, and worst in Europe than in America. Gualterio Nunez Estrada, Sarasota, Florida, 34233,USA.