Sometimes I think I don’t know if we have evolved at all. We have gone from dictatorships where information was hidden in the name of state security to “democracies” where false information is spread in the name of “freedom.”
It is enough to observe how, in the name of freedom and democracy that some ask for Cuba, the media and networks are being sown with lies and deceit. The Reuters agency itself titled an analysis of recent Cuban events thus: “Fake news muddies online waters during Cuba protests” (Fake news online muddies the waters during protests in Cuba.) Of course, Reuters drops the options that these fake news may be sown by the opposition or by the Cuban government. It would be the only case in history in which a government spreads false news that its ministers are fleeing and airs photos of massive demonstrations of support presenting them as opponents. Come on, a government sows false news against it.
Because one of the most spectacular falsehoods was to include images of demonstrations in support of the government and the revolution as protests against the government. Above them, the Argentine newspaper La Nación has a large headline “A massive and unprecedented protest in the streets surprises the Cuban regime”, but the image it includes is of a demonstration of support, yes, with a caption in small print that says “Defenders of the regime marched after a call from President Miguel Díaz-Canel.”
Likewise the newspaper El País It does not specify that this photo is of followers of the revolution as evidenced by carrying the flag of July 26, the guerrilla organization led by Fidel Castro. Incomplete information is also biased information.
In this image from La Sexta about news of opposition demonstrations and an interview with an opponent, the image that is also used is of demonstrators supporting the government with the flag of Fidel Castro’s guerrilla group. And, of course, as the general trend has been, it is not clear where the image is from.
If ever a photo of a demonstration of supporters of the revolution is reproduced, as in this one from The country, the image is limited to one person and the foot reads “a woman screams”. In other words, an isolated and unique case of support for the government, a single person who screams.
A Chilean television inserted an image of blood-wounded during the referendum in Catalonia in the news about the demonstrations in Havana. It is about the Mucho Gusto program, on the Mega channel.
The newspaper ABC carried the news of the resignation of Cuba’s vice minister of the Interior, in disagreement over the use of excessive force against the protesters. Something that was denied, but the news is still posted on your website. Rectifications? They are neither there nor expected.
On The New York Times protesters go from hundreds to thousands on the same story by magic. First they published the news saying that they were “hundreds” and later they retouched it to say that they were “thousands”.
In the US news network Fox News they decided to pixelate the banners of the demonstrators in favor of the government so that they could not read that they read “The streets belong to the revolutionaries”, and present them as opposition demonstrations.
If the above happens in the press, which is a medium that risks its credibility, imagine what can happen in networks, where nothing takes its toll, nor is there a truth filter. Anything goes to attack the Cuban revolution, from a photo of the May 1 demonstration in Havana a few years ago posing as current with anti-government protesters. Let’s see more examples.
A photo widely spread in networks it claimed to correspond to a protest “on the boardwalk of Cuba” and hundreds of thousands of protesters appeared. The team at AFP Factual, a news verification service of the AFP agency, discovered that it was a photo by Associated Press from a mobilization in Alexandria on February 11, 2011, following the fall of the 30-year-old regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Reuters also had to deny it.
Collages are made of photos of bloody wounded, none of whom were from Cuba. Injured children are used in a shooting for common crime in Caracas waves images of a tortured accused of belonging to ETA in the Basque Country.
Even the United Nations published on Twitter as an image of the protests some protesters who were mobilizing in the opposite direction. One of them reported it on the networks and the reaction of Twitter when entering his profile was to insert this message: “Caution: This account is temporarily restricted. You are seeing this warning because unusual activity was detected in this account.” The UN ended up withdrawing the tweet.
In networks, the news also circulated that Raúl Castro fled to Venezuela and had to be debunked by news checkers. The photo that was broadcast was of Castro’s arrival in Costa Rica at a summit that took place in 2015.
It was used a photo of Nicaraguans praying in 2018 to superimpose a Cuban flag and affirm that they were Cubans “crying out to God.”
The news verification service of RTVE revealed the falsified origin of a message appeared on social networks that stated “Cuba woke up Down with the dictatorship! Down with communism! Freedom for Cuba! #SOSCuba”, accompanied by a photograph showing a hooded young man with his face covered, throwing an incendiary bottle. Behind him there is a wall with a photograph of the Che Guevara and the phrase “No more communism.” It was a montage from a snapshot of the American photographer David McNew that was taken on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California, in the United States, during the protests over the murder of African American George Floyd.
Analysts and socialists do not escape from these “lies” by resorting to arguments and falsehoods. A Voz Populi columnist who held positions of deputy director of TVE News and was director-editor of the First Edition of the Telediario affirms that “In Cuba the regime makes people disappear, as also happens in Venezuela with the impunity of those who exercise force after dismantling democracy liberal”. There are no forced disappearances in Cuba recognized by international institutions, beyond the fact that some detainee for a few hours is not informed of their whereabouts, in the same way that occurs in our country after certain arrests. In Spain it can also happen that a detainee moves from the center and for a few hours the families do not know where they are.
In a gathering in La Sexta they say that the test of democracy is the border, if they don’t let out, it’s a dictatorship. Forgetting that the countries that shield borders are the rich ones, such as the United States or the European Union and forgetting that for years Cubans can leave their country without problem, that the difficulty they have to do so is to get a visa from the other country.
It is surprising the attention that the demonstrations in Cuba have received in the media while those same media have tiptoed over the shooting assassination of the president of Haiti, or have kept silent before the repression in Colombia with 63 people killed in two months. Without going any further, that same weekend 72 people died in riots in South Africa. If even Cuba has occupied more than the news about the enrichment of Juan Carlos de Borbón with the sale of weapons.
And going back to Cuba, the positions of government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, or spokesmen for the hundreds of organizations that support the Cuban revolution around the world have not appeared.
Nor, and in line with the suffering of the Cuban people due to the pandemic that was used as an argument for criticism, has not sufficiently commented on the role of the blockade imposed by the United States. The same analysts and media that reported on rebellions in Cuba and made calls for solidarity with them did not denounce that due to the commercial blockade they have had serious problems with health supplies to fight the pandemic. The organizations MediCuba Switzerland Y Switzerland-Cuba denounced in a statement that in April of last year the blockade prevented money transfers so that Switzerland could sell respirators to Cuba. Likewise, the billionaire owner of the Alibaba e-commerce platform, when he decided to donate Covid masks and diagnostic kits to 24 countries in Latin America, verified that the material could not reach Cuba because he was traveling on an airline that, although Colombian, had US capital and was prohibited from trading with Cuba.
Let us remember that the The United Nations Assembly, like every year, voted en masse against this blockade last June. Only the United States and Israel voted against the resolution rejecting the embargo, which was supported by 184 countries.
Perhaps, in addition to the debate on whether Cuba is a dictatorship or not, we could look at the beam in the eye and debate whether a democracy can be called that if the citizens are not informed or are deceived. Because in dictatorships people know that they are not informed, but in our current systems we believe that they are and neither are we.