“Fight for your food, Taino.“ / Fernando Dámaso

Given the changes planned to be introduced into our economic model, designed and planned by the government, some citizens, according to our intellectual and material abilities, without anyone ordering us to or paying us for it, have taken on the task to comment on the aspects that we consider positive and negative. It is simply, exercising our own discretion, something that, at least in official speeches, they said we should practice.

Despite all this, it seems that some of the journalists who have opinion columns (always official) in the national press (also official), have targeted attacks against those who offer opinions and who do not repeat, at the foot of the letter, the official propagandized opinion sanctified in the guidelines. They also seem to have received a methodology (eternal mania of our bureaucrats to regulate everything) about how to do it, because they all use the same scheme. First they denigrate the author of the opinions, heaping on the insults and linking him to the enemy (it can’t miss), noting that he’s repeating the enemy’s views. After the reporter (you should call it the press officer) makes a statement, he proclaims himself a defender of socialist ideas and disqualifies those who do not share these ideas or simply criticize them. Then he develops the core of his article, one by one by repeating the official views on the various issues discussed, crushing more of the same, with a minimum lack of originality.

I understand that these journalists, who receive their salaries from the government, are worried about the possibility of being unemployed and joining the list of those “available” (remember that the word “unemployed” only applies to capitalism, to socialism never) and therefore they try valiantly to score points so they may stay. The defense is allowed. As a troubadour says in one of his best known songs: Fight for your food, Taino, fight your food. However, this does not authorize them to be so primitive in their approach or as unethical: ideas are defended with arguments, not insults. They seem to forget that they are targeting citizens who, according to the government itself, are highly educated.

If you really want to know the opinion of others and to value them when making decisions, the attitude of the journalists from the national press is counterproductive. To continue to repeat questionable assumptions, trying to offer them again with a light varnish to make them shine, is to continue losing time, of which we continually have less and less. We can argue in a fair fight, respecting each other and also respecting the opinion of each one, even if not shared. What if we don’t agree? That’s better. Conformity and unanimity have never brought us good results. The current crisis is a prime example.

I think adding different opinions and not prohibiting them, is the only way to find solutions and to find a possible path through everything, without exclusions of any kind. The important thing is to join efforts to save the nation, placing it in the path of progress and that Cubans, together again, are able to discard forever the hatreds and animosities, which have artificially divided us for too many years.

February 13 2011