Friday, August 18, 2006

Cuban humour?

I never cease to be amazed (and amused) by the news reports filed by foreign correspondents based in Cuba.

As a former journalist, I know how difficult it is to please your news desk, to keep producing those yarns even when nothing is happening. After all, that’s your job. And so, you try to come up with unusual angles and quirky snippets and a lot of speculative material to fill the news void.

When you are dealing with a regime as tightly controlled and obsessively secretive as the communist regime in Cuba, your job becomes even more daunting - a logistical nightmare.

This may explain a recent article by Marc Frank, who reports from Havana for Reuters. The article speculates on what would happen in Cuba if both Castro brothers kicked the bucket - not all that far-fetched, I guess, since Raul Castro is 75.

And then, half way through the article, there is one of those anonymous quotes from "ordinary" Cubans in the street who seem to speak so openly and freely to foreign correspondents. Invetiably, their quotes tend to match the regime's line almost word for word.

The quote used this time is from someone identified as a “municipal level” member of the Communist Party who, after asking not to be identified, said: “We worry a lot that a crook could somehow get back in power after Fidel and destroy everything ...”

I don’t know about you but I think the interviewee was probably having a bit of fun with the reporter. Cuban humour?

UPDATE: I have now found out a bit more about Mr Frank, thanks to the guys at Babalu. Read all about him here.


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