Sunday, June 19, 2011

Translation: Granma debate on Cuban media 2

Fidel & Raul visit Chavez in Havana, recovering from minor surgery 
My last post was titled "Granma debate on the Cuban media", and a debate implies an exchange of divergent opinions. So here is another opinion on the TV news and current affairs programme Mesa Redonda. It should be read together with the previous post. In a similar vein, you may like to read this excellent commentary by Cuban journalist Luis Sexto on the media in Cuba, written for and translated by the pro-revolution Miami-Havana website Progreso Weekly.

In other developments related to Cuba's socialist renewal, I'd like to draw attention to two commentaries that are also highly recommended if you have the time and interest, both published by Progreso Weekly. They relate to an important topic that I hope to delve into a little on this blog via selected translations: the evolving relationship between the Cuban Revolution and Cuban-Americans of various political persuasions in light of the debates and changes taking place on the island. Here, Havana University's Jesus Arboleya Cervera responds to the views expressed by Cuban-American capitalist Carlos Saladrigas, considered a "moderate" in relation to US-Cuba relations and a politically influential figure in the US. Here, Ramon de la Cruz Ochoa, a prominent Cuban lawyer, adds his own perceptive comments to the exchange.

Here is an Associated Press report on flourishing marketplaces in Havana thanks to the recent opening to self-employment.

If the Mesa Redonda talked about...

Letter to the editor by N. Páez del Amo, Granma, May 27, 2011

Translation: Marce Cameron

Allow me to disagree with the conclusion reached by L. Fleites Rivero in the letter "The Mesa Redonda must be more attractive". The experience of "freedom of expression" that took place in the old socialist bloc countries that you cite with fear has absolutely nothing to do with the present situation in our country. The explosion of journalistic trash at the end of the 1980s in some semi-official media of the then USSR took place under the auspices of the "glasnost" proclaimed by Mikhail Gorbachev. Firstly, it was orchestrated by elements opposed to socialism and secondly, it was hardly refuted or not at all by the state media, which allowed any malicious "oppositionist" to rave on as they pleased about the history of the USSR, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its historic leadership, splintering the unity of the Soviet peoples and without receiving the well-deserved and convincing response to such a diatribe as they should have.

The intention of our President [Raul Castro] when talking about diversity of opinion, about eradicating false unanimity and fostering open discussion is not in the least to hand over to imperialism the head of the Revolution on a silver platter, but precisely to strengthen our democratic mechanisms and unite the working class around the great work of socialist construction. Neither is the intention to turn [Mesa Redonda] into the court of an inquisition, as Taladrid commented. Certainly nothing is easy in this world when we're talking about changing ways of thinking, the way ahead is always sown with thorns and it's necessary to clear the path of these obstacles, wielding the truth, reason, sound judgement and well-founded opinions.

I think that the Mesa Redonda does not fully live up to its informative and educative mission in its present form.

Many people have, and I personally have had, disagreements with issues that have arisen yet I continue to support the political line of the [Cuban Communist] Party and its principles. What elements at the service of imperialism could use this platform to spread their unhealthy annexationist preachings and intrigues?

The Mesa Redonda, in my opinion, cannot fail to take up the imperialist crusade or denounce with all our might the legitimation of war and criminality, the lies of the media giants and all the atrocities and crimes of the spurious imperialist policy. Our position will always be one of confronting the hegemonic pretensions of imperialism, but we must also give attention to the grave domestic problems that we must resolve in order to strengthen our resistance. Given this we need to understand these problems in-depth and discuss them, without fear or self-censorship.

We have problems of every kind and we must tackle them. We should invite competent specialists to debate them with the participation of everyone, including those responsible for carrying out decisions so that they can justify them. Viewpoints don't have to be imposed. Among us abound people with talent, intelligence, honour and patriotism who are capable of contributing a great deal of excellent ideas. Let's utilise the human resources we've forged during half a century, and let's never imagine that we possess the absolute truth. Wisdom always comes from discussing things.

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