Brother of Senior Cuban Official Criticizes State Media After Mass Brawl at Finca de los Monos

Thursday, June 13, 2024 by Sophia Martinez

Brother of Senior Cuban Official Criticizes State Media After Mass Brawl at Finca de los Monos
The spokesperson for the Cuban regime, Humberto López, and one of the young gang members at the Finca de los Monos - Image by © Video capture / Canal Caribe - SSNN

The architect Abel Tablada de la Torre, brother of the Deputy Director General of the United States Division at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX), Johana Tablada de la Torre, took to social media to criticize the state-run press following a violent outbreak last Saturday at Finca de los Monos.

“What is more concerning in a country?” Tablada asked. “That alternative media reports a story with a false detail, or that the official media—which we all pay for—fails to report news in a timely manner, does not provide full details when they do decide to report, does not show images of the events, and does not interview anyone?”

In an extensive reflection, Tablada de la Torre criticized the official coverage of the serious and troubling incidents involving gangs of young people armed with machetes, which left at least six people injured. His post was shared on the blog Segunda Cita by singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez.

Comparing the coverage of these events by independent media, the architect painted a picture of the media landscape and the shaping of public opinion under a totalitarian regime that is beginning to crack, largely due to the efforts of independent journalism.

“Journalism in Cuba is shameful, and if it weren’t for some independent media committed to the truth, there would be no way to learn about and understand the reality of the country,” he concluded.

In-Depth Analysis of Censorship in Cuba

However, Tablada de la Torre’s critique delved deeply into the manipulation and use of information by the Cuban regime to maintain social control and protect its interests in perpetuating power.

He accused them of publicly blaming “those who should not be blamed—always the weakest and never the State,” and of failing to comment on or reflect upon “the direct and accumulated causes of these increasingly common violent phenomena in Cuban society and youth.”

Highlighting the spirit behind the rights to free expression and freedom of the press, Tablada de la Torre did not attack independent media “and their clear purpose of discrediting everything related to the government, blaming it for everything.”

On the contrary, recognizing implicitly that the mission of journalism is to investigate, question, criticize, and denounce the errors, corruption, and actions of those in power, the MINREX official’s brother acknowledged that independent media fulfill “an important and vacant mission: timely information.”

“The official press, which is controlled and represents the Cuban government, does not report in a timely manner and when it does, it is to refute some incorrect detail given by the alternative press, acting defensively instead of taking the initiative,” he pointed out.

He also accused the state media of failing to “conduct dignified, responsible, and legitimate journalism when it comes to sensitive issues, as it does not fulfill its role of being the most credible reference for news related to Cuba.”

“To make matters worse, it manipulates, hides data, images, and does not provide continuity and depth to events that warrant it… And this has been happening for decades, despite closed and open meetings, congresses with hopeful airs, moving interventions by great or young journalists, and some promises from presidents and ideological secretaries,” he added.

Deeply entrenched in the issue, the architect reproached the official media for not having “the courage and decency to show images of thousands of Havanans in front of the Capitol peacefully demanding freedom, of hundreds of Bayamese singing our National Anthem: La Bayamesa, of hundreds of Santiago residents asking for electricity and food.”

“They do not have the courage and decency to question the harsh penalties for many peaceful protesters, the majority of whom did not overturn cars, did not throw stones at shop windows. They do not have the courage and decency to follow up on major corruption cases, some involving high-ranking government officials,” he said.

The brother of the senior MINREX official had more reproaches for the Cuban state media. “They do not have the courage and decency to analyze the causes of inflation, the stagnation of the economy, or the portion of responsibility of the Cuban system and government in what is happening in the country,” he criticized.

“They do not have the courage and decency to ask why, to defend against external aggressions and blockades, an internal blockade must be applied, a false democracy must be proclaimed and implemented, the Cuban people must be oppressed in various ways, and not seek in all possible ways that freedom for which the mambises and the revolutionaries of the ’30s and ’50s fought so much,” he indicated.

The Tablada de la Torre Family: A Tale of Contrasts

This is not the first time Johana Tablada de la Torre’s younger brother has used his social media to criticize the Cuban regime, a civic attitude he shares with his mother, psychologist Carolina de la Torre Molina, who has also frequently expressed her critical opinion about Cuban reality.

In September 2022, Tablada de la Torre criticized the lack of available products at the José Martí International Airport in Havana and referred to the role of airports in shaping the image of travelers arriving and departing, which helps form an idea of how a country functions.

“Here in Havana, however, I couldn’t even buy a simple guava bar, and it’s the only product my dear cousin who will host me at her home asked for. I bought coffee and could have bought rum and tobacco, but Cuba is not just rum and tobacco, just as it is not the cover of a book about Che, Fidel, and an American car from the ’50s,” he emphasized.

On her part, their mother has also expressed harsh criticisms of the past and present Cuban regime. In October 2020, De la Torre Molina criticized a repudiation rally organized by Cuban State Security against members of the San Isidro Movement.

“If one day someone sees me at a repudiation rally, shouting and insulting young people who want to express themselves peacefully, don’t even think about it: tie me up, repudiate me back, or take me to a mental hospital because I will be out of my mind,” she wrote on her Facebook wall.

In February 2021, the psychologist criticized the lack of tolerance and space in Cuba for “contrasting thought and debate.”

“There is no space or tolerance for contrasting thought and debate, not even from those who live here hoping to contribute to a better socialist Cuba. Even anti-imperialist,” wrote De la Torre on Facebook.

The professor questioned the fact that Cuba has only one party (the Cuban Communist Party) that organizations must follow, and emphasized that the state had ended “the tradition of civil and even recreational and instructional societies,” as well as the free press. “No one can open an opposition blog, nor register a critical magazine,” she said.

Besides her distinguished professional career as a university professor, researcher, and essayist, De la Torre Molina has dedicated herself to collecting testimonies and studying the life and work of her brother Benjamín, who committed suicide in 1968 after being marked by the homophobic experiences of the Military Units to Aid Production (UMAP). His story is recounted in the book Benjamín. When Dying is More Sensible than Waiting, published by Verbum in 2018.

Understanding the Role of Independent Media in Cuba

Here we address some common questions about the role of independent media in Cuba and how it contrasts with the state-run press.

Why did Abel Tablada criticize the official Cuban media?

Abel Tablada criticized the official Cuban media for failing to report news in a timely and complete manner, for not showing images of events, and for not interviewing those involved. He emphasized that the state media manipulates information to protect government interests and maintain control.

What was the incident at Finca de los Monos?

The incident at Finca de los Monos involved a violent outbreak by gangs of young people armed with machetes, resulting in at least six people being injured. The event highlighted the growing violence in Cuban society.

How does independent media differ from state-run media in Cuba?

Independent media in Cuba is committed to timely and truthful reporting, often covering stories and issues that state-run media either ignore or manipulate. Independent outlets play a crucial role in providing an alternative perspective and holding the government accountable.

What are the challenges faced by independent media in Cuba?

Independent media in Cuba face significant challenges, including censorship, harassment, and limited access to resources. The government often targets independent journalists and outlets to suppress dissenting voices and maintain control over information.

© CubaHeadlines 2024

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