CubaNews notes Sunday July 20, 2003

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Sun Jul 20 17:33:01 MDT 2003

CubaNews notes Sunday July 20, 2003
by Walter Lippmann, Moderator

This week we've had a range of things to
occur both in Cuba and between Cuba
and the US. Two, the issue of the recent
hijackers who are currently in the US,
and the supposed Cuban jamming of
US-based broadcasts to Iran, have an
unusual and notable aspect: the rather
soft and different tone which which they
have been reported.

Just reading articles, I cannot say WHAT
accounts for this, but when you read the
State Department transcript on the issue
of the jamming, and when you read the
coverage in the Miami Herald on the 15
people who the US picked up at sea and
brought to the US, you'll notice clearly
SOMETHING different about the coverage.

There are also a few other items which are
in this message which won't be in any of
the articles to follow, so please hang in.

Things really pile up when a few days are
taken off. On Friday I was away from both
the house and computer. Saturday there
were both computer problems which kept
me from working, and then responsibilities
which took me away. Sorry for the delay
in getting materials to you. There's been
a great deal going on.

There's been a great deal of coverage in
the US media about the death of Celia
Cruz, and her funeral in Miami. Naturally
that's a big deal over there, but I have an
unusual sidelight to share which you won't
probably read ANYWHERE else but here
on the CubaNews list.

My next door neighbor, Sandra Gonzalez,
told me the following extremely interesting
background on Celia Cruz. Sandra, who is
a member of the Cuban Communist Party,
and a staunch party militant if I ever met
one, told me that it was actually the pre-
Revolutionary Communist Party (which
was called the Popular Socialist Party)
which gave Celia Cruz her start in the

The Popular Socialist Party had its own
radio station in the 1940s, the only one
owned by a Communist Party anywhere
in the Western Hemisphere. Sandra's
father was a leading official of the PSP,
both as an editor of its newspaper, Hoy
(Today) and as a manager of the radio
station. It AM frequency was 1010 and
it was known as "MilDiez" to listeners.

According to Sandra, it was "MilDiez"
and the PSP who first provided Celia
Cruz, as a young and talented singer,
with money for costumes and musical
training, and gave her her start in the
music business.

Sandra said she thought Celia Cruz
was a great singer and she guessed
that after awhile a longer article giving
an appreciation of her life would appear
in a Cuban academic journal, perhaps
the UNEAC magazine, or something of
that nature.

Last Tuesday there was a major gathering
in Washington, DC, in support of the right
to travel. It was sponsored by a large range
of corporate types and by a bi-partisan
band of legislators. There was no report on
the gathering, before, during or after it in any
of the media of the United States or anywhere
else in the capitalist world. But you can hear
nearly a half hour long report on the conference
at Radio Progreso for last Wednesday, July 16.
This program will remain archived at the Radio
Progreso website until Wednesday morning,
so you will want to go an listen to it. The part
about the Washington conference start at
about 28 minute into the program, but I highly
recommend you listen. You cannot hear this
anywhere else in the world.

If you were here in Cuba this afternoon, you
could watch A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, the old
Beatles movie from 1964, in English and with
Spanish subtitles, on Cuban television. Cuba's
television, like the rest of the national media,
have lots of additional material for this summer

The total of all of these programs are called
VERANO - A LO CUBANO (and that means,
"Summer - the Cuban Way"). Cuban television
is perhaps one of the few in the world where it
isn't broadcasting programming twenty-four
hours a day. (And remember there are only
three channels here, though there will be
four by years end.) So they are adding new
programming for this period, including movies
from around the world as well as a raft of new
local Cuban programming.

On Wednesday I'll be travelling to Santiago
de Cuba for the celebration of July 26th which
will take place on Saturday. I'll be going on the
Via Azul bus which I'm told takes 18 hours and
costs $51 dollars each way. I've taken the Via
Azul bus before, but only to Cienfuegos. It's a
wonderful modern professional bus, both very
comfortable and well air-conditioned. I don't
much like travel, and bus travel still less, but
I'm very much looking forward to seeing how
the other side of the island celebrates this
big anniversary.

Hoping very shortly to have that translation
into English of the response by the Cuban
National Assembly to the Varela Project.
The reply, you'll recall, was issues back last
November, but has not been made public by
Oswaldo Paya and the other supporters of
the project, for reasons we haven't been told.

Oh, and not to be forgotten, the Cuban media
have been filled with material this past week,
and will be next week, in which participants in
the attack on the Moncada Garrison who are
still alive and active, speak of the meaning of
those events for our times. The author of the
July 28th Movement theme, who is still alive
and active, has been interviewed on TV and
in the print media, discussing the song and
how it came to be written.

Also, the US occupation of Iraq remains the
top international story in the local media,
with lots of coverage of the suicide of British
scientiest David Kelly. And the growing Cuba-
Venezuelan cooperation in health and education
are also major topics. This evening Cuban TV
will prosent another long program from the
Venezuelan media on this topic. I've heard a
bit of complaining here that the media spend
too much time on such distant topics. It seems
to me that the media effort helps show Cubans
that they are part of a broader revolutionary
process abroad. I realize that this doesn't put
any food on the table of any Cuban, but it's
certainly an inspiring thing to see the Cubans
being supported and saluted in this way.

Cuba, certainly, is NOT isolated in today's
world, despite all of Washington's efforts to
make it appear so.

To be continued...


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