VOA on Cuba: Voice of A minority
Working in Government, it is always interesting for me to watch these low-budget, fringe efforts by Government to impart ideas and dissenimate ideas. Even if you assume there is some good behind the efforts, the facinating tension between "integrity" and "duty," "truth" and "strategic goals" often becomes evident if you look close.
With the heightened interst in Cuba, a crack team carrying out the Bush Cuba policy has begun to rear its head more often. In the last few weeks US law has been twisted to allow transmittal of propoganda on US soil (thank you Direct TV), and now the media arm of the US Government - Voice of America (VOA) - has rencently initiated a major offensive against Cuba. Titled innoculously "Life in Cuba Today," the 3-part series began with this totally unbalanced assessment of Cuba:
It is impossible to visit Cuba and not be struck by the island's extraordinary beauty. Just 150 kilometers off the U.S. coast, it is also impossible to visit Cuba and not be struck by its extensive poverty. Much of downtown Havana is literally crumbling... And its people are struggling too... earning the equivalent of around $10 U.S. a month
Yet, in many ways, most Cubans live like some of the poorest people in Latin America. This is evident on the streets of the Cuban capital, where there appears to be large-scale joblessness despite government claims of full-employment.
When you watch the video, this is all much funnier. When they talk about the people they cut from a scene of well-dressed folks walking to the scene of a dark-skinned guy sitting and a man slepping. When they talk about the crumbling, they pan on a street with some dirt on it and some old shutters. When they talk about joblessness they show some men playing dominoes in the street (looks like a student, a child and some pensioners to me).
Nevermind that Cuba DOES have full employment, using the mainstream definition - or at least the CIA's (1.9% unemplyment=FULL). Nevermind that these "poorest people in Latin America" rank 6th highest in terms of human development out of 102 developing countries. And last but not least, the $10 dollars a month figure is out of date (about 70% too low by conservative estimates).
But the VOA's real mettle is displayed when we get to hear from their "average Cubans," recorded (secretly) over its 10 days in Havana. Predictably we get 3 decidedly similar outlooks - things are stuck, we need a change.
"I think that this country is in a freeze. A freeze in time, in the development, in everything".
"I think this country can change, but it's going to take too much time. Twenty years maybe. People continue living the same way as 50 years ago."
"This is a very strong system, you know. It has been built stone by stone, control and control. It's very difficult that it will collapse because it is very strong. But I don't like it all, this system, it's completely dead".
Considering the installment's prominent space on VOA's homepage (above), I can't wait for tomorrow's pearls of wisdom. Allow me to wager that we get lost more untruth and more quotes and conclusions that suppor the Bush Adminstration's policy of regime change in Cuba.
Labels: cuba voa cuban us propoganda