Cuba: U.S. Journalism in Desperate Need of Change

There is something so ignorant in the New York Times' little photo essay entitled "Cuba on the Edge of Change" on March 20. It's hard to fathom how blinkered Americans can be. Yes, we have freedom of the press but if our minds are enslaved by bourgeois thinking, then we can't really see what is before our eyes.

It hardly needs unpacking but the words chosen by Times writer Azam Ahmed just drip with patronizing arrogance: abandoned, erosion, aching disrepair, untamed, orphaned, isolation, decay, faded grandeur.

Cuba, a country which has positive relations with just about every country in the world but the U.S., is a land with free health care and education for all. It is poor, yes, like all Third World countries, but life there is much better for people than it is in most U.S. inner cities.

But the Ahmed is locked inside his North American blinkers. For him, Cuba is "closed off from the world," and the "revolution is over."

Yet, with the naïve sense of discovery you find in every tourist who steps off an ocean cruiser and sums up the land they are visiting, he is amazed by the "uncanny openness" of Cubans who somehow "brim with life" as they are "coiled with anticipation" for the wonderful day that they will become more like the Americans.

One could imagine similar copy written about the U.S. by an outside visitor:

The American people watch their health anxiously as many cannot afford the thousands of dollars that simple prescription drugs cost and they are worried about going deep into debt to attend university. Caught in rounds of empty consumption, they confront the same stores in cookie-cutter malls across the country.

While they get to participate in giant, billion-dollar election spectacles for top bosses, they lack democratic control of local schools and cities because a system of "emergency managers" has dictatorial control.

With a world record number of people in prison and a national scandal of police shootings -- especially of Black and Brown citizens -- the country is in turmoil concerning state repression.

Yet, somehow, hope springs eternal...

Silly, isn't it?

We can only hope that with the US moving out of its global isolation regarding Cuba, we may see some more sensible and informed journalism from the island.