I grew interested in censorship in Cuba after speaking with my pen pals, who are both journalists. Neither of them mentioned the subject, but I plan on asking. Freedom of press is guaranteed in the Cuban constitution, however, it is made clear that there is to be no private ownership of press. I find this interesting because it contrasts the United States’ press laws. The Founding Fathers detailed that the press’ job is to be a watchdog of the government and keep the people updated on what their elected officials are up to. In Cuba, this job is minute because the government controls the press. This shifts the job and duty of the press from a government watchdog to a medium for propaganda. The fact that journalists who speak out against the Castros are jailed is very unsettling. Although I no longer want to be a journalist, I have the utmost respect for the profession and recognize how crucial it is. Journalists provide a voice for those who don’t have one, and the fact that the Cuban government infringes upon this right is sickening.
The lack of internet access contributes to the censorship going on in Cuba. As a Millennial in the United States, I am so used to having access to unlimited information at the tip of my fingers. If I ever have any questions or want to learn about something know I can go to my phone for instant gratification. It’s interesting to me that Cuba is just entering the age of information. I can’t imagine living where I didn’t have access to the internet all the time (which I know sounds like a typical annoying millennial- sorry). I read that this lack of internet makes it easier to control what exactly is being accessed on the internet. The government often blocks websites that could in any way speak out against the government. However, Cubans are apparently pros at getting around this and have found ways to surpass these blocks. I think it’s a positive thing that even though they are breaking the law, they are doing so for a good cause. Legality and morality aren’t the synonymous, and it’s important for Cubans to fight for access to information.
One story I stumbled upon about artist Danilo Maldonado Machado really showed how serious Cuba is about censorship and preventing the Castro name from defamation. Machado planned on painting the names of the Castros on pigs and releasing them in an artistic display. He was thrown in jail without a trial or hearing for ten months for contempt before he could do the deed. This happened in 2015, which shows how recent Cuba’s crimes against freedom of speech are happening. This really made me appreciate how much freedom we have in the United States. Even though I may not agree with our president, I am extremely grateful I have the right to publicly say so. I hope one day the Cuban people are granted real freedom of the press.