By Chris Simmons
Havana seems hyper-sensitive to criticism of its 24/7 propaganda machine. On November 17th, Cuba Confidential posted the story, Cuba’s Ninth Annual “Free the 5″ Meeting Ends With Minimal Fanfare. The feature focused on the absence of crowd size in reporting by Havana on the attendees to said meeting.
Now, the missing numbers have been provided by “The Militant,” a newsweekly associated with the Socialist Workers Party and the leftist publisher, Pathfinder Press. That said, the Militant simply acknowledged “270 delegates from 52 countries” with not so much as a mention of the most notable attendees or a chart of nations represented. The Havana mouthpiece also published a picture of released spy Rene Gonzalez addressing a crowd it claimed was 10,000 strong, although only a hundred or so can be seen in the picture.
The quality of Havana’s propaganda efforts is increasingly less consistent and thorough than its glory days. Decreased resourcing does not account for fundamental “media marketing” failures like poor photo choices and failing to spin numbers to support a storyline. Another recent example includes its error-filled “Free the 5” march on Washington last summer, which Havana has already announced it will repeat in June 2014. The “Free the 5” campaign has been a central theme for well over a decade. Why is it now making amateurish mistakes on a regular basis? Its efforts are clearly in turmoil — the question is why?