14ymedio Faces of 2018: Cristina Escobar Dominguez, From Stardom to Silence

The journalist and television presenter Cristina Escobar. (Youtube)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 December 2018 – She began the year as the primetime presenter of Cuban television, where she was one of the voices of the Plaza of the Revolution, especially with respect  to the relations with Washington and anti-Trump speech. Suddenly, at the end of this year, Cristina Escobar Domínguez disappeared from the small screen.

The explanation arrived in unexpected fashion when the embassy of the United Kingdom in Havana announced on its Facebook page that the presenter had obtained a Chevening scholarship financed by the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was confirmed shortly after by Sergio Alejandro Gómez when he appeared presenting Escobar’s program Solo la verdad (Only the Truth), which analyzes films with political themes.

So it was not, as some speculated, because she made politically inappropriate comments on her social networks after an incident on the beach of Varadero, where she was not allowed to spend the night in front of the Arenas Blancas Barceló hotel. “As far as I knew, the beaches are public in Cuba … well, no! They are only for those who pay, (…) if we  allow them to continue to violate our rights,” she said at the time.

The incident was not reported in the official media and a few weeks later Escobar was in Lima (Peru) with the Cuban delegation to the VIII Summit of the Americas and covered it via Facebook Live.

Upon her return to Havana, she inaugurated the digital transmissions site Dominio Cuba, which in her own words, intended to “provide press coverage about Cuba that confronts the misinformation and manipulations around the reality of the Island.”

In June, she was selected to be a member of the National Committee of the Union of Journalists of Cuba, during the quinquennium 2018-2023, right in the middle of the preparations for the creation of the new information policy of the Island.

During the summer, Escobar conducted the program Only the Truth in which she presented films and criticized the politics and social problems of the United States. This, without abandoning her presence in the morning magazine Buenos Días, nor in the Roundtable and on the nightly broadcast of the National Television News, where she comented on international news.

For that reason, her sudden disappearance is surprising. The explanation that it is due to a postgraduate course in the United Kingdom is not convincing since the requirements of the Chevening Scholarships are geared to young people with little work experience, “at least two years,” and Escobar has more than double the experience and a meteoric career.

So, what really happened?

See also: 14ymedio Faces of 2018

Translated by Wilfredo Díaz Echevarria


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