The Headline That Ended the Career of the Director of ‘Granma’

“Raúl Gala presided over the historic event,” reads the unfortunate subtitle on the front page of this Wednesday’s Granma. Main headline: “October Revolution, One of the Most Important Events of the 20th Century” (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 10 November 2017 — In recent hours, in the absence of information about the reasons that led to the dismissal of the director of the newspaper Granma, many observers have set themselves to seek out some error that crept into the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC). They pour over the pages of the newspaper to uncover some proof of a blunder that annoyed those at the highest level and provoked the sudden exit of Pelayo Terry Cuervo.

After looking closely at each issue of the last week, some have detected a blunder on the front page of the edition from Wednesday, 8 November, which involves the name of the Cuban ruler. “Raúl Gala presided over the historical event,” it says, just under a huge headline in red ink that refers to the October Revolution. This time, the poor grammatical and journalistic practice of eliminating prepositions and articles to shorten sentences, played a dirty trick on Granma’s editors.

The newspaper, which since its founding in 1965, has been characterized by a sober tone and a marked cult of personality towards the country’s highest leaders, would have conveyed, with this error, “a major lack of respect,” according to some angry militants of the only party allowed in the country that were consulted by 14ymedio.

“It was not only because of this, but that there had been an accumulation of several errors that represented a lack of care,” says an editor close to the publication, who preferred anonymity. The professional recalls that the newspaper has had a history of lapses that have exposed it to “popular mockery,” such as “when, in 2009, they published on the cover a photo of the Cuban flag that lacked the star,” he recalls. At that time, Terry Cuervo “was not the director, but in the corridors of the newspaper we are still talking about that mistake.”

Putting only the first name of the Cuban president, to give feeling of ​​familiarity with readers, has contributed to aggravating this week’s error since the word Gala, in addition to a capital letter, seems to replace the family name of the first secretary of the PCC, a very serious thing when it is the name ‘Castro’ that is omitted.

Although in journalistic circles no one believes that it was only for this reason that Terry Cuervo was dismissed, according to a foreign correspondent with many years of experience: “For less than this Stalin would have sent him to the Gulag.”