A “Visit” to TeleSur / Fernando Dámaso

Some friends, knowing my interest in the news, repeatedly recommended that I watch TeleSur, a recap aired daily at night on Cuban Television’s Education Channel 2. They told me it was better than the National News (something not very hard to achieve), offering a lot of images, and that the commentators could be ignored by pressing the mute button. Compelled, but not convinced, knowing where the program comes from, I decided to make the sacrifice, turning myself into a TV viewer for several days.

I have to confess that the first thing I found shocking was the absurd slogan: Our North is the South. I think that the North is the North and the South is the South, just like the East is the East and the West is the West. These word games are just games with words and nothing more, but to continue the game, we could also say that we are so disoriented, that the North is wrong. Then there’s another slogan: A Look at the South. This look is quite narrow and manipulated, a function of an ideological position that, I consider, is not shared by all our neighbors to the South.

When they present images of protests, demonstrations, and so on, they never occur in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua (the main supporters of TeleSur), but rather in the remaining countries. The same thing happens when students go on hunger strikes, demanding respect for their human rights, or the indigenous throw themselves into the streets and plazas. However, the officials acts and events of the above mentioned counties are presented as propaganda without the least shame. In short, like here, they show images only from one side of the coin.

With regards to the comments of the presenters and guests, although my friends recommend muting them by pressing the little button, I decided on the self-sacrifice of listening to some. Following the approved script to the letter, using the most stereotypical phrases of Third World slang repeated for endless years now, trying to convince us of how good we of the South are and how bad those of the North are, an anachronistic scheme in black and white. The guests, undoubtedly well-chosen, answer everything with the same ideological line when analyzing events and situations. I will not refer to the stellar section, the so-called Dossier, because it is repulsive with his theatrical and pedantic presenter, with his pirate patch, maps, retracting pointer and military salute on retiring, who cannot hide whom he really serves.

On offering of news of the developed world (the North according to the program outline), they only show protests, demonstrations, strikes, violent acts, political and economic crises and so on, as if they want to convince the viewers that these are the only things that happen in those countries and that there are no political, economic, social, artistic, scientific or other achievements. They try, now, to hide the other side of the coin.

I must add that, in the case of my country, this program, that is already censored as it is produced, is censored again here, cutting out anything that might be upsetting for national consumption. A simple example: In the section dedicated to sports they eliminate the references to baseball and professional boxing, prohibited information in these parts, although the first is the national sport par excellence and the second enjoys great popularity. In short, after sacrificing several days watching TeleSur, I’m convinced that I don’t have a masochistic spirit and, just as I eliminated the national news from my schedule some years ago, I will not include TeleSur. I will continue to nourish myself on news from other channels, where they do not want to influence either my thinking or my opinions.

March 18 2011