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The Big Lies and the Small Lies

Havana.

Any reasonably sane person would assume that after the recent public acknowledgment by US President Barack Obama of the foreign policy errors that are implicit, and even explicit, in his efforts to normalize political relations with Cuba, there would be a process of apologies and explanations for the big and small lies that the immense defamation apparatus of Washington has spread about Cuba around the world, trying to justify its economic, commercial and financial blockade against the rebel island.

Even in the simplest parts of the propaganda war against Cuba, we find evidence of the lies with which the smear campaign has sought to support its purposes –to the embarrassment of honest Americans who are becoming aware of the truth- as the curtain is drawn aside as a result of the timid measures that the White House has taken citing legal incapacity to eliminate the shameful blockade.

An example of this is provided by José Manzaneda, site coordinator of Cubainformación that originates in Spain and is dedicated to promoting solidarity with the island on the Internet. Manzaneda recalls one of the many deceitful facets of the propaganda campaign against Cuba that somehow now clashes with the truth.

Cuba has rock bands in all genres –from heavy metal to hardcore, death metal, alternative rock and punk. The Caribbean country hosts local and international groups that take part in thirteen festivals of rock music (Caimán Rock, Brutal Fest, Festival Metal HG among them) and has a unique experience in the world: a state-owned Cuban Rock Agency devoted to the promotion, distribution and hiring of rock bands. Despite this, during the recent Havana concert by the English band the Rolling Stones, the US-financed media from around the world devoted extensive space to promote their stale falsehoods against Cuba.

Manzaneda notes that Spanish channel La Sexta, in its coverage of the Stones’ artistic visit, said “Cuba has vibrated to the sound of those “Satanic Majesties” (…) and showed their trademark tongue after 40 years of rock censorship in the island “.

Another Spanish channel, Cuatro, repeated the same nonsense about the alleged “censorship” that Cuba applied to the music of the British band “whose music had been banned in Cuba until now”.

The same lie was repeated by Antena 3, another Spanish channel: “The Rolling Stones displayed their energy in the same island where their sound was banned until recently.”

Other media did not go that far but repeated over and over the same message: not now, but for decades the Cuban Revolution “censured”, “discriminated” or “banned” rock “.

Meanwhile, the international corporate media insisted on another message openly more counterrevolutionary: the concert was due to a supposed transition, an opening, or even a political “spring” in Cuba. “A concert that marked the cultural opening of Cuba,” said Deutsche Welle TV). “A historic event that shows the opening of Cuba to the West –that albeit slow, is already unstoppable.” (Cuatro TV).

In almost all news reports, this great concert was linked to the absurd events and incomprehension towards rock that occurred in Cuba in the 60s. But the reality is that if the Rolling Stones and other big bands did not act earlier on the island it was not due to obstacles from Cuba other than economic. There were big free concerts in Havana, like the Manic Street Preachers in 2001 and Audioslave in 2005. All of these, as with the Stones now, were funded by the artists themselves.

Manzaneda recalls: “It is not Cuba that has made a cultural opening to the world. What has really changed is that the US government and its accompanying media have modified their policy of aggression against Cuba. And now, for a band like the Rolling
Stones,
 performing on the island they are no longer at high risk of reprisals and
smear campaigns; but rather the opposite.”

It is true that in the early years of the Revolution, and until the mid 70s, rock and English language were not broadcast by Cuban radio stations as part of an inexperienced and naive defensive reaction against the huge cultural aggression promoted and financed by the United States.

In those years, Cubans certainly committed many errors of this type, including their dislike of persons that were then, and remain today, idols of US American youth, who were inspired precisely by the ideals and struggles of Cuban youth and their leaders, such as Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

This article was translated from the Spanish by Walter Lippmann for the invaluable CubaNews.

More articles by:

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

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