Let me give you a couple of clues about what to look out for when you read news about Cuba. The following quotations are from the Washington Post article, Cuba harasses, detains activists on eve of planned protest
(WP, Nov 14, 2021)
Security forces surrounded the homes of Cuban activists on Sunday, the day before a planned march that will test the strength of the protest movement that erupted last summer when Cubans poured into the streets to demand more political freedoms on the communist-ruled island.
Is it actually true that "Security forces surrounded the homes of Cuban activists"?
How do the journalists know? Were they there? Do we have footage of it happening? Or is it based merely on the claims of the activists? We know that some Cubans participated in protests in July, but did Cubans actually pour
into the streets? Yes, some Cubans did indeed protest, but if you watch the YouTube video that I recommended above, you will find out how Western media pumped up the volume when they manipulated footage to make it seem as if the number of protesters was much higher that it actually was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIOw6fSOJI4
The best-known organizer of Monday’s protest, 39-year-old playwright Yunior García Aguilera, had announced he would march alone through Havana at 3 p.m. on Sunday, carrying a white rose in solidarity with Cubans who had been prevented from participating the following day. But hours before he set out, plainclothes police swarmed his block and besieged his building.
Did "plainclothes police"
his block and besiege
his building? Did Yunior Garcia say so? Or do we have other eyewitness reports? Or even actual footage? Other news sources describe it as "a violent crowd,"
but is there any reason to assume that it's true?
In this case, we do have footage, but it does not really live up to the hype:
Standoff between Cuban government and activists begins ahead of march (CBS News, Nov 14, 2021)
Cuban state security surrounded the house of Yunior García, an artist who has emerged as one of the country's leading activists and organized a march planned for Monday.
Towards the end of the one-minute video clip there are a couple of guys who just might
be plainclothes "state security",
but also might just be members of the neighborhood taking it upon themselves that make sure that nobody starts a riot against Yunior Garcia. The people at the beginning of the clip look like an ordinary crowd of people gathering to see what's going on and dancing a little merengue on the occasion. Is that supposed to be the "violent crowd"?
I don't see any sign of violence, and I don't think that it is because the Western media wasn't busy trying to find it. (And by the way, the young people camping out on a public square (Parque Central) in the middle of the clip are government supporters protesting against the protesters and making sure that nobody desecrates the statue of Cuban national hero José Martí.)
The WP article continues:
He (Yunior Garcia) called on people around the nation to clap at 3 p.m. to show their “thirst for freedom,” but there did not appear to be a widespread response.
This seems to be true: Reuters appears to have called all the Cubans they could think of. And all over the island, nobody appears to have heard anything:
Cuban Americans rally in Miami while protest plans fizzle in Havana (SwissInfo.ch, Nov 15, 2021)
Later in the evening, dissidents had called on supporters to bang pots from their homes in a show of solidarity for government critics, but several Reuters witnesses in Havana, the country's largest city, heard no pot-banging in their neighborhoods.
Residents contacted by Reuters in eastern Granma and Santiago de Cuba provinces, as well as San Antonio de los Banos, in Artemisa province where the July protests began, also reported no incidents on Sunday and no pot-banging.
No clapping, no pot banging. But in the Western world, we all know why, don't we? The terrified Cubans must have huddled together all over the island, afraid to make the slightest noise that might make the state security think that they sympathize with their real hero, Yunior Garcia, and not José Martí, whom they all secretly despise. That is how we want it to be, so that is how it has to be.
Now, I know that it is hard to believe that this is not the case, but you have all had the experience of media reports during the pandemic, and the media really isn't to be trusted on many things. Sometimes it is almost a full-time job to be able to distinguish between its many reports and reality. The bias against Cuba is more obvious than in most other cases, and yet everybody tends to fall for it.
I myself might still believe the media reports about Cuba and Cubans if I had never been there and talked to them. And read the books, seen the documentaries. I can recommend the book What Lies across the Water
by Canadian journalist Stephen Kimber: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/18216034-what-lies-across-the-water
Before the pandemic, a Canadian-Cuban cooperation was working on turning it into a TV series, but I don't know if Covid put a stop to it for good. I hope not.