Armando Calderón was a genius of my childhood and of all Cubans of my generation. Every Sunday morning, we sat in front of the television to watch the old silent film comedies that Calderón voiced.
“Mata siete” (Kill seven) was the name with which Calderón baptized the actor who played a neighborhood thug in several of those movies, in the television slot entitled “The Silent Comedy.” These films live on in the memory of many Cubans today, when the digital world and the use of the internet have become common means to give a voice to those who are silenced, to interpret sounds often according to much less noble goals, or to pull the wool over one’s eyes with “sensationalist headlines” that have nothing to do with the “evidence” that accompanies them. The unfortunate thing is that in these latter cases, although money is often abundant, talent like that of the ingenious Cuban television presenter is scarce.
If we were still the same children that enjoyed The Silent Comedy, we would notice the stitch-ups and the very obvious manipulations originating in the laboratories of psychological warfare and disseminated via internet. At least this is the case of a video posted and circulated by sites funded by the United States to spread propaganda against Cuba, which seeks to discredit what can be seen in hundreds of other videos that show the affectionate relationship between President Miguel Díaz-Canel and the people who have talked with him on the street since he took office less than a year ago. This includes his tours of areas affected by the tornado that severely lashed several municipalities of the Cuban capital recently.
A video showing part of the Presidential motorcade as it left Regla municipality, is accompanied by voices shouting “Come here!” and some insulting expressions that, unlike what happened in The Silent Comedy, have no face, and the headline is already is the making: “Díaz-Canel jeered during visit to areas affected by the tornado in Havana.” It doesn’t matter that the President himself is not seen in the images, having already left the area, and that all that is heard are two or three voices that never reached the supposed recipient, at no point mentioned by name.
Also ignored by those who use this video to claim that the President “fled” from a situation he can’t have even noticed, is another video recorded in the same area in which Díaz-Canel stops his car to converse with women gathered along the roadside. This video shows the President listening to their concerns and instructing that they be addressed. Does a cry of “Come here!” that the President couldn’t hear really constitute jeering, as is claimed, or rather a call for his presence that demonstrates the confidence in him to understand a problem and hasten its solution?
Many videos have circulated recently of the Cuban President speaking directly with the people in those places hard hit by nature. In them, you can see many people filming him with their cell phones, while mutual affection and understanding are evident despite the logical tensions of the adverse situation that the inhabitants of these areas are experiencing. Meanwhile, have the “objective” exponents of the good journalism that they claim should be done in Cuba published any of these videos, not from the Cuban press, but filmed by those present with their own devices? Why not then consider them closer to propaganda and psychological warfare than to real information, especially when these same media have a long history of producing fake news, from the Law on Parental Authority, or Operation Peter Pan, to the “sonic attacks” that turned out to be a common species of Caribbean cricket? Can one ignore the fact that the sponsors of such “news” are the very same who in order to kill seven times over and again, from the battleship Maine to Libya and Venezuela, have previously murdered the truth?