EATING THE CABLE / Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo


Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Once again, like every few months, they were in the neighborhood collecting cables. Lawton dawned shifting into reverse. Vans from the telephone company, ETECSA, or the Ministry of the Interior (MINIT) or both. Cooperation from the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) along with the National Revolutionary Police (PNR). Running around at the last minute on the roofs and in the corridors to be avoid being caught in flagrante. Throwing the anonymous cables into the middle of a lot or a yard. Fines of thousands of pesos to the providers of clandestine signals. And here nothing has happened, ladies and gentleman, but to put the cables back and wait for Papa State’s next raid; apparently he doesn’t like foreign television: it seems that only the top officials (and also Amaury Pérez Vidal) are authorized to watch anything other than Cuban TV (TVC).

María Elvira y Oscar Haza, go home…!

It’s funny how the Havana government likes to wear itself out money. It’s possible that the Cuban establishment is just that: the cunning art of ruining the economy of a nation.

Everyone knows that the illegal market for cable TV has stabilized at a relatively cheap 10 CUC a month (about $12 U.S.). So it’s not unusual to find buildings with dozens of clients, nor blocks where there are more than a hundred (it’s rumored that in Bauta and its surrounding towns there are thousands). The Ministry in charge, perhaps the Ministry of Community Common Sense, should have normalized the situation long ago, not repressing it by force but assuming that the Cuban people are a part of the planet. And they want to see. Will they finally learn, the towering leaders of the Revolution? In addition to living, we shall see what we shall see!

Until recently no cell phone in Cuba actually belonged to a Cuban citizen. How long with they stay immersed in the stupidity of not allowing us to independently connect cables that free us from the four educational channels and allow us to mass-mediocresize ourselves in peace?

Everyone knows that the average Cuban spends his time consuming audiovisual junk. Soap operas, shows by who knows who, reality TV, comic caricatures that go back to the 1950s, and even media crisis news of the worst Latino channels. All in Spanish or, worse, dubbed. All at the speed limit. Ephemeral. Amnesia producing, after the tapestry of instantaneous super-information, Futile future. I know I look like an evangelist for the Round-table show on Cuban TV, but I feel bad about the consumption statistics of our tired culture even before the start of whatever will change.

Of course, the dozens and dozens of viewers affected by the State in Lawton yesterday, tolerated it all with their usual indecency. Not a single protest, not one hard stare, head held high, not a whispering little voice wondering what was going on or how long so much arbitrary randomness would last (right now Amaury Perez Vidal and the rest of Havananothing are going to enjoy their illegal satellite TV).

In truth, when I think about it now, it’s possible they may not deserve any other kind of television ever. Every people has the imbecile box it deserves. Bon appetit, Cubavision.

October 8, 2010