The Latest Example of the Media Blockade of the Cuban 5

We were more than a little surprised when a CNN journalist based in Los Angeles contacted SPARC Gallery interested in covering Gerardo Hernandez’s exhibit “Humor from my Pen” before its opening on June 4.  We remained skeptical but after several phone calls back and forth an interview was set up.


On June 3 the CNN journalist arrived early to set up her camera and to go over what she would be covering about the background of Gerardo’s work and the case of the Cuban 5 in general.


She seemed genuinely interested and did a long interview with the organizers from the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 in both Spanish and English. She also interviewed the Executive Director of SPARC, Debra Padilla.


We did not know going into the interview just how much the journalist knew about the case of the Cuban 5 but after more than 3 hours she learned not only about the artistic talents displayed in Gerardo’s cartoons but also about the deep injustice that he and his four brothers have been enduring for 13 years for defending their country, Cuba, against terrorism.


We asked the journalist how long it would take before we would know if the interview was going to be aired and she told us she did not know but mentioned that her editor wanted to find someone with a different “point of view” to “balance” the story.


This other “point of view” is really the only view that the people of the US are fed on a daily basis when it comes to any topic related to Cuba. That view is a steady stream of vilification, distortion and dishonest reporting of the realities of Cuba living under a 50 year blockade. Despite this we were reminded of what one of the Cuban 5 has said to us on many occasions, “It is better to have bad coverage than no coverage at all”


Our surprise about the interview was even greater when we were told that the “balanced” segment was complete and going to be aired on a program of CNN called “Encuentro” on Wednesday June 15 at 2pm PST.


We immediately passed this new information along to many of our friends so they could see with their own eyes that after 13 years of silence we were going to get a little break on coverage of the Cuban 5.


Unfortunately it did not happen.


The best answer we were able to get from the journalist who did the interview was that it was an “executive decision” not to air the segment.


So many times we hear about freedom in the United States with a free media that covers all points of views; but in the end it is those at the top of the media chain of command who will determine what is news and what isn’t.


Perhaps CNN was having trouble glossing over the courage of the Cuban 5 in the war against terrorism, or to show them in a human light. Perhaps they could not find a way to deny that these sons of Cuba were extraordinary men sent to Miami to defend the sovereignty of their country. Or maybe they were nervous about the absolute double standard in the US where an admitted terrorist like Luis Posada Carriles can show his paintings in Miami while the Cuban 5, who were here to prevent terrorism, produce art behind bars.


CNN and the Cuban 5
The Cuban 5

UN recognizes Cuba’s struggle against racism


HAVANA.—United Nations bodies have acknowledged here Cuban advances in fighting racial discrimination, thanks to a state policy directed at benefiting all sectors of society.

UN recognizes Cuba’s struggle against racismRolando García, auxiliary representative of the United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA), stressed that the country’s achievements are an example to the world and currently head Latin American efforts in relation to equality of opportunities for citizens.

These advances are the result of inclusive policies of citizens’ participation promoted by the national leadership, which is now involved in consolidating those policies, said García, who is taking part in the Cuba and peoples of African descent in the Americas seminar.

In the case of Cuba, we could say that it has solved the principal problems of discrimination and has largely succeeded in incorporating African descendants into society, García noted, speaking at the Juan Marinello Cultural Research Institute in the capital.

Juan José Ortiz, UNICEF representative in Cuba, affirmed that none of the thousands of children of African descent in the region affected by poverty and its all its secondary effects are Cuban, thanks to the political will of the government.

He stressed that Cuba and Norway are the countries with the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, but it is impressive that the island has achieved these results without having the development and wealth of the European nation.

Bárbara Pesce, UN resident coordinator in Cuba, said that Cuba is an example of struggle in the context of racial discrimination. (PL)

Translated by Granma International 

Che diary published


DIARIO de un combatiente, Sierra Maestra-Santa Clara(1956-58) is the title of a book containing notes written by Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara in the two years preceding the triumph of the Revolution. The diary was launched yesterday at Havana’s International Press Center, to coincide with the 83rd anniversary of the birth of the heroic guerrilla.

With an introduction by María del Carmen Ariet, scientific coordinator at the Che Guevara Study Center and the Editorial Project on his life and work, and Oscar Fernández Mel, Che’s doctor and comrade in Sierra Maestra and the Congo, the diary is the basis of its author’s later work, Pasajes de la Guerra Revolucionaria.

Published by Ocean Press and Ocean Sur, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Che Guevara Editorial Project with the Study Center, the Diario… allows readers to appreciate in Che’s own words the guerrilla’s arrival in Cuba as an expeditionary aboard theGranma yacht, and the man who assumed with respect and responsibility a commitment to contribute to the liberation of the Cuban people.

The book, with a prologue by Armando Hart Dávalos, includes a glossary of names and reproductions of documents from the epic days of the Sierra Maestra and the Las Villas Front.

Also present at the launch were Jorge Risquet, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party; Aleida March and Aleida Guerra March; and family members of the Cuban Five unjustly incarcerated in U.S. jails.

Translated by Granma International