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    The Secrets of Secretismo

    The Secrets of Secretismo

    14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, 16 April 2017 — The term secretismo
    (secretiveness), to refer to the absence or delay of certain information
    of public interest in the Cuban official media, began to be used first
    among critics of the system, until it came to appear in the speeches of
    the highest officials of the government.

    The list of what the official media has never reported, or only reported
    with an inexplicable delays, deserves a thorough study, which in
    addition to filling thousands of pages, would serve to better understand
    the country’s most recent history.

    Among the headings to organize the list of the omitted would be: deaths,
    destitutions, desertions, economic failures, military defeats,
    diplomatic fiascos, serious damage to nature, consequences of mistakes
    made, and even data on the rates of suicides, divorces or emigration,
    along with references to the country’s debt or to the decrease in Gross
    Domestic Product. All this and more has fallen into that black hole of

    The temptation to offer some examples would lead us to mention, among
    other pearls, the forced relocation of peasants from the Escambray in
    the 1960s, the disastrous effects of the whim of trying to produce 10
    million tons of sugar in 1970, the collapse of the military operation in
    Granada in 1983, the consequences that the epidemic of polyneuritis
    brought in the most difficult years of the Special Period, and more
    recently the clinical causes of Fidel Castro’s death.

    The response that has often been given to criticism of secretismo has
    ranged from the most tenacious justification, based on being a country
    threatened by the most powerful power in the world, to the pretense of
    blaming the mid-level cadres.

    It has been this way since the days when party ideologue Carlos Aldana
    pontificated on the need to have “critical, militant and creative
    journalism,” right up to our time when Raúl Castro himself advised
    before the parliament: “It is necessary to put on the table all the
    information and the arguments that underlie each decision and step, to
    suppress the excess of secretismo to which we have habituated ourselves
    during more than 50 years of enemy encirclement.”

    These self-critical pretenses have had the peculiarity of appearing in
    cycles, which has given the permanent impression of being on the eve of
    an always timid and incomplete opening. The journalistic guild has been
    perhaps the most victimized with these frequent promises, made in
    Congresses of the Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) or in informal
    meetings with the press.

    When it seems that “now we are going to end the secretismo” the promise
    of promulgating a new electoral law disappears, the head of the
    commission in charge of implementing the Party’s guidelines disappears,
    and the sale of premium gasoline is suspended without any media of the
    official press daring to review or comment on what happened.

    Even the euphemism of using the word “secretismo” to refer to what
    strictly must be called censorship, only serves to cover up what is
    supposed to be revealed. It is a crime of linguistic injury whose result
    lies in keeping in obscurity what outwardly is illuminated.

    Source: The Secrets of Secretismo – Translating Cuba –