Yoani Sanchez: Good times for the ‘weekly packet’ in Cuba

Official propaganda has been euphoric since Donald Trump spoke at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami. The government discourse rages with an intensity that hasn’t been seen since the campaign for ‘The Cuban Five’, the spies serving sentences in the United States. Faced with this saturation of slogans, many [Cubans] opt to take refuge in the ‘Weekly Packet.’

The Cuban government seems to be advised by its worst enemies in terms of content dissemination, in view of the excess of ideology and ephemeris of the national media. The result is the galloping loss of viewers who opt for the informal networks of distribution of audiovisuals, series and films.

“The Cuban government seems to be advised by its worst enemies in terms of content dissemination.”

Each line of the incendiary political tirades published in the written press equals more than one lost reader, tired of so much rhetoric. It is easy to detect through the comments on the street how the ‘rating’ of the media controlled by the Communist Party is collapsing these days, especially among the youngest.

In the past, television viewers tired of so much empty talk had to watch anyway, in the absence of other options, but now Cubans live in the age of USB memory and external hard drives. Now, while the national media rant against the United States president’s new policy toward Cuba, the informal market is awash in entertainment material that has nothing to do with politics.

“Cubans evade propaganda by choosing programming far removed from ideology.”

A bad quality copy of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, or Wonder Woman [directed by] Patty Jenkins, along with the eighth installment of The Fast and the Furious, grab the attention of the fans of the Weekly Packet, and offer nothing but a headache for the government propagandists who don’t know how to attract that lost audience.

It is significant that science fiction, fantasy and car racing triumph where politics loses ground. Cubans escape reality through fiction, they evade propaganda by choosing programming far removed from ideology.

Republished from Generación Y. Image source.

Yoani Sánchez is a Cuban journalist and activist. She lives and publishes in Havana, where government restrictions on media have historically meant her blog cannot be viewed there. Read more by Yoani.