Mario J. Pentón/14ymedio, Miami/Havana, February 20, 2019 — The official press on the island has received guidance to take advantage of the tragedy of the tornado that, at the end of January, devastated Havana, in order to advance propaganda for the Yes vote in the February 24 referendum on the new constitution.
This newspaper has had access to an internal communication from the Solvisión telecenter, in Guantánamo, which gives instructions on coverage of this upcoming Sunday’s vote.
In that email, the head of Solvisión’s information department, Yaneysi Nolazco, requests “taking advantage of the response the state has given to the disasters caused by the tornado to claim that only a socialist state is capable of acting in that manner, [of] mobilizing workers […] raising awareness of young people, children, and women to offer its efforts in solidarity.”
The government has been heavily criticized for the response it gave to the tornado, which left seven dead and thousands of victims. Authorities have sold food and construction materials to the victims, which has triggered protests, some of which have spread to social media.
Nolazco asks Solvisión’s journalists to avoid the presence of electoral propaganda at the polling places, because calling for a Yes vote “isn’t the job of electoral authorities.” In the case that there are banners of this type, journalists should focus the camera “in another direction.”
The head of information asks the journalists to show the leaders “lining up to vote.”
“Right there take their statements, while interacting with residents, in some cases going forward with them inside the polling place and we’ll show everything that is happening,” she specifies.
Official journalists should interview young people and “demonstrate” that the new generations are “participating” in the referendum “not only as voters.”
Cuban authorities have promised “jail cells” to independent observers and promoters of No, who in an unprecedented and rudimentary campaign have used social media to champion their position against the ratification of the constitution approved by parliament.
In exchange for the recognition of the little private property and of foreign investment, the new constitutional text leaves intact the control of the Communist Party, postpones the decision on marriage equality, and guarantees the monopoly of the state over communication media, healthcare, and education, while at the same time affirming that “Cuba will never return to capitalism.”
Translated by: Sheilagh Carey
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