The Official Cuban Press Takes Out Its Artillery Against 15N and Yunior Garcia

Yunior García during an interview with 14ymedio last September, when the government began the smear campaign against him. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 13 October 2021 — Cuba’s official media deployment against 15N (15 November) and specifically against Yunior García Aguilera, one of the promoters of the marches initially called for November 20 and advanced after the Government decided to place the Moncada Exercise and the National Defense Day for that date. One day after learning the negative response to the planned demonstration, the texts and videos dedicated to disqualifying the convening groups and their leader are multiplied in the press.

Primetime News on Cuban television broadcast a piece in which the mayor of Old Havana, Alexis Acosta Silva, tries to explain that the call to march does not comply with the law due to its illicit purposes. The report links the promoters of the civic march with «destabilizing and anti-Cuban» groups and is signed by journalist Abdiel Bermúdez, a fact that has caused perplexity and disappointment in Yunior García himself.

In a post on his Facebook profile, the playwright and member of Archipiélago laments that Bermúdez, whom he knew as a serious and rigorous journalist, is lending himself to untruths.

«I was happy when the young, rebellious and talented journalist started working on the newscast. I said to myself: at last we will have a professional on [State] NTV, unable to lie. Then we met again on July 11, in front of the ICRT. I was on the side of the protesters, of course. Abdiel looked at me and lowered his head (…) Later I learned that he decided to disappear from the place before witnessing the barbarism. I never said a word against him.»

García regards the report as biased and reproaches the reporter for not having contacted him to find out his version; and admits that «if Abdiel had been consistent with his career and with the values of honest journalism, perhaps today they would also call him a» mercenary.» If instead of going to the NTV, he had chosen independent journalism, his name would also be linked to the CIA.»

The young man also refers to the broadcast of the program Con filo, which dedicated its 15 minutes to criticizing the 15N marches on the grounds that they are supported by people whom they consider terrorists, criminals and US agents, among whom and especially prominent is the leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba José Daniel Ferrer, detained since July 11 for the umpteenth time, the artist Maykel ’Osorbo’, and the exiled Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, spokesman for the Cuban Democratic Directorate and member of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance.

The program briefly reviews the biographies it has produced of the three, highlighting moments in which they demand US interventions in Cuba or resort to methods that are not necessarily peaceful. With regards to Ferrer it referenced the episode of 2019, when the opponent appeared to injure himself during an interrogation.

Con filo also questions García for having taken a course at the Madrid headquarters of Saint Louis University called Dialogues on Cuba, where he allegedly addressed non-violent techniques of struggle against oppressive regimes such as those that gave rise to the color revolutions of Eastern Europe and the Arab Spring.

The first official media to accuse the playwright for having taking this course was Razones de Cuba, which also dedicated a somewhat elegant article to him this Wednesday entitled Yunior, instead of a dove, a crow. In it, he accuses him of being «the bastard son of a decadent and vulgar bourgeoisie» and advocating a «blatant annexation with the United States,» something that, to date, García has never demanded.

Other media also points to Maykel Osorbo and Eliecer Ávila as friends of the Archipelago spokesman and ends with two threats, one to the Cuban people warning them of «what awaits them» if the Revolution falls — the descendants of Batista to want «their lands and properties,» those that were expropriated more than half a century ago — and another to the playwright: «Yunior, be careful you don’t end up living on the street, maybe not, and you guaranteed your little piece of silver, confess that you walk without morals. Your Peace instead of a Dove is a Raven!»

These types of campaigns that attack the reputation of opponents, activists or anyone who denounces actions by the Cuban authorities are frequent. In recent years, the official Cuban press has focused on attacking independent journalists or bloggers living within Cuba, to stigmatize them without the right to reply.

The national daily press has not wanted to stop chewing over the matter and publishes the response to the marches on the State website Cubadebate and in the State newspaper Granma , where there is also an editorial entitled Reason is our shield. The results have been uneven in the two most popular official newspapers and, while the online media accumulates a mountain of more than 220 comments among which it is difficult to find any defense to the celebration of the marches, the case of the Communist Party newspaper is more striking.

Among the — only 21 — users who have responded to the Granma text, there are at least five supporters of authorizing the demonstrations because of their commitment to be peaceful. «If it is peaceful, it must be allowed, we are all Cubans. We must respect each other even if we do not think the same,» says one commentator.

«Please do not mix one thing with another. The march is not illegal. Not everyone thinks the same and it is normal and correct that people have the right to express themselves peacefully,» adds another.

García, in his post last night, makes his position clear despite the many attacks that in just 24 hours have been added to the prior ones. «See you on November 15. I’m no longer afraid of the garbage trucks, the ’black shirts’, the sticks they hand out in each workplace, or the dictatorship. And yes, I already use the word DICTATORSHIP. There are words that you don’t dare to mention until you see them naked, in front of you, like today.»

____________

COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.