Cuba Ready to Commemorate Press Day amid Historical Challenges 

By Alejandra Garcia on March 12, 2023

University of Havana, photo: Bill Hackwell

On March 14 Cuban media will be celebrating the 131st anniversary of Patria, the newspaper founded by the father of Cuba, José Martí in 1892 with the purpose of “gathering and loving, and to live in the passion of truth.” On these dates, the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) and every media outlet in the country take to the streets to hold exhibitions, activities, debates, and tributes to the figures of Cuban journalism.

This year March 14 will be different. Casa de las Americas will host for the second time the Patria Colloquium, an international event organized by UPEC, which, on this occasion, will have 60 guests from other latitudes and more than 100 Cuban experts on communication, political communication, and political art.

The strong aesthetics of the event will make the island celebrate this date as never before. The closing of Patria will take place on the steps of the University of Havana, where there will be thousands of people, with drones flying over to record the cultural-political activity. Through the video mapping technique, images will be projected on the facade of the rectorate building, which has meant a technical and aesthetic challenge, according to the organizers.

The Cuban press is reinventing itself, revolutionizing itself according to the times. Amid the historical and present threats, this new day is the opportunity to rediscover socialism with a modern, participatory, innovative, and undeniably democratic face.  Ours is a media that is based on truth unlike the corporate media models that is manipulated and distorted by special interests.

“In this new Patria anniversary, we have several strengths as starting points: political will and awareness of the need to modernize the sector. That goal demands more efficient use of information, communication, and technology. This is why we are taking the event to the next level,” said Cuban journalist Rosa Miriam Elizalde, vice president of UPEC.

The celebrations before Press Day have highlighted a debate that can’t be postponed: What challenges face the Cuban press, and how should confront them? Experts highlight management, institutionalism, innovation, and credibility as the main challenges for Cuban journalism.

The future of the Cuban Revolution is at stake in the economic and political fields, but also, and even with more strength, in the symbolic field.

“So let’s spare no time to do whatever needs to be done to unify the nation’s symbols and for the press to be attractive to the younger generations. That must be the focus of our analysis and the objective of our efforts these days,” UPEC President Ricardo Ronquillo said during the Special Day on Press Models held last March 6.

Ronquillo continued: “Today, it is essential to learn how to manage the communicative processes. Otherwise, we will continue to reproduce a dominant communicational pattern, the one brought by the Spanish empire first and the North American empire later, where there is a false conception of democracy, where we are told about a ‘freedom of expression’ that does not exist.”

A Revolution such as this one, which allowed us to learn, read, and write, thus giving us access to speech and thought, must continue to advance.

In any society, and particularly in our socialism, permanently besieged and sometimes the object of insane lies, the failures of the communicational system may compromise the exercise of political power.

Therefore, communicating cannot be spontaneous but must be an exercise of knowledge that motivates reflection and accurate thinking. “Let’s be the vanguard of the journalism of these times, with Patria leading the way,” Ronquillo concluded.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – US