The Accused in the Dock / Fernando Damaso
Posted on April 27, 2014
Listening to the discussions in the Culture and Media Commission of the
recently ended 8th Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC) Congress, I
was struck by the criticisms of the Cuban Institute of Radio and
Television (ICRTV) for their programming–which according to some
delegates demonstrate Yankeephilia–and their few national offerings.
I imagine that if it weren't for programs pirated from the United States
and other countries offered on Cuban TV, we'd be left with one channel,
so I don't understand the nationalist uproar. First, we should be clear
that the quality of the majority of national programs is quite low, from
the unbearable news, through the so-called comedians, dramas and
adventures, through the children's programs of participation and
musicals. If there is anything saving it, it's sports, and that by its
One can argue that there is a lack of artistic talent in radio and
television, such that it's given over to mediocrity, which continues to
be true, but the question is: "Why is there a lack of talent? The answer
isn't hard: because talent is not paid what it should be for writing,
acting, directing or producing in radio and television.
The medium lacks attractive economics, something that it had before its
expropriation by the State, when those who worked in it enjoyed high
salaries, which allowed them to focus completely on artistic creation,
without having to think about how to resolve day-to-day living.
There is a historical example of the RHC Cadena Azul radio station owned
by Amado Trinidad: when he decided to make his station first among
listeners, he paid high salaries to get the top talent of the time, and
achieved his objectives. Starting with him, the formula became
widespread and was applied until the media passed from private hands to
Congress after congress they sing the same tune, and don't take the
economic measures needed to resolve these problems, so their lament is
silly. The calls to participate for the love of art, with the creation
of committees for quality, control and censorship, established for
hundreds of foreign and national programs broadcast, and a whole other
series of bureaucratic measures will resolve nothing.
Talent is not accepted as a method of payment in the stores in exchange
for products nor to pay for services received. Money is essential. The
problem, therefore, is one of economic stimulus in a society every day
more metallic, regardless of slogans and speeches.
What is the Mariel Special Development Zone, the Foreign Investment Law,
the Tax Regime, the high prices for articles of every type and the cost
of services? If we are going to give money its place, as we are doing,
we have to do it in everything: the charging and paying.
18 April 2014
Source: The Accused in the Dock / Fernando Damaso | Translating Cuba -