Cubans still have little knowledge about the civil society in their country, about its members and projects fighting against the political system in Cuba. Yet, it’s perfectly clear now that a great part of it has been gained from alternative sources, which have been spreading information in all possible formats, especially the video. Thousands of discs and flash discs have been circulating from hand to hand in recent years, spontaneously creating the largest truly citizen-based network, which has managed to extend to all corners of the island.
However, it must be owned that independent reports have sometimes lacked consistency; also, they have suffered from absence of planning in all stages of their production and have been affected by many variables in the entire process of getting information across to the end user. Other challenges that have had to be faced include limited availability of resources and people with sufficient technical and conceptual skills, lacking or zero budget and many other difficulties. All this has been reflected in low visual quality of the independent production – a fact that has been widely pointed out and has greatly undermined the conveyed message.
As a result of these facts, we have been compelled to surpass ourselves in all that we do to be able to withstand the unequal struggle with the official media owned by the government. We had to surpass ourselves not only by increasing our learning to be able to conceive ideas, arguments and reasonings, but also in terms of our ability to explain and present information.
For this reason I am now proud to introduce a person that has long remained in the shadows, tirelessly working on preparation of programmes such as Estado de Sats (State of Sats), Razones Ciudadanas (Citizens’ Reasons) and many other initiatives. Let me introduce you to Claudio Fuentes.
Until yesterday, Claudio had to bend over backwards to be able to manage everything. He would often work in the morning to spare some time for each of us who were queuing to ask him for help with conceiving, shooting or editing some material. This noble and intelligent young man deserves a gold medal for his patience with the individual characters and needs of ourselves – his friends pretending to be “directors” of audiovisual production.
However, Claudio won’t settle for being indispensable. Just the opposite. Right now he is working on a project that will give voice to even more people and that will increase the quality of the independent production of a society that has assumed the tasks that should be fulfilled by the official media, which, however, keep deceiving us.
Claudio is now engaged in running practical workshops on digital editing, which are organized in various provinces. 11 trainees from Havana and Santa Clara have passed his training so far. In a few days there will be four more.
“What I do is nothing more than a small contribution to democratization of the access to the audiovisual media. I help citizens to become technologically savvy, enabling them to develop their civic activities. Sometimes I only show them how they can support themselves without being dependent on the State, which will always ask them for something in return,” says Claudio.
In my own experience, I can say that by learning to edit I have learned to observe, decipher and, therefore, to understand the intention of what Cubans daily see on TV. I have realized that although the Revolution has not been done well, it has been brilliantly edited.