Many of the affected patients experience some form of discrimination and exclusion and therefore face mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety.
by Web Editor
January 29, 2020
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Many erroneous beliefs are related to leprosy, but specialists in the field prefer to point out three truths about it:. It is curable, it is not contagious because it ceases to be transmissible beginning with the first doses of treatment and it does not produce deformities or disability if it is diagnosed in time.
World Leprosy Day is observed on the last Sunday of January, this time on the 26th. Dr. Raisa Rumbaut Castillo, head of the National Leprosy Program of the Ministry of Public Health, explained that every year in Cuba an average of 200 new cases of both sexes are reported, from all provinces, mainly Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila and Havana, the latter because of the number of migrants it receives.
Many of the affected patients experience some kind of discrimination and exclusion and therefore face mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. In view of this, this year’s theme will be: Stigma and human rights of people affected by leprosy.
The doctor stressed that unlike other countries where treatment is only supervised in the first dose, in Cuba leprosy patients receive free, supervised and controlled care (on an outpatient basis) in primary health care, that is, through the Family Doctor and Nurse Program. Patients are no longer isolated in sanatoriums (formerly called leprosaria).
The also First Degree specialist in Epidemiology and Master in Infectious Diseases said that this treatment is donated by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently decreed that every January 30 (and from this year) will be commemorated the World Day for Neglected Tropical Diseases (WTD), which includes leprosy.
Apart from the fact that there is no neglected disease here, both dates will be remembered on 30 and 31 January with a national scientific day to be held in the capital, at the Comandante Manuel Fajardo University Clinical Surgical Hospital, which will be supported by the Cuban Dermatology Society.
Leprosy is a chronic disease that affects the peripheral nerves and the skin, but has no defined symptoms. This is why specialists call it a “great simulator”.
However, the most common symptoms are light patches of skin (brown and red), which may or may not have sensitivity disorders. That is to say, difficulties in differentiating the cold temperature from the hot one in the affected areas, as well as the loss of the sensation of pain.
The risk of contagion is very low and the incubation period, on average, is five years, but it can be as long as two years and as long as 20 years. The bacillus penetrates through the skin or the mucous membranes of the body and evolves slowly, progressively affecting the nervous system and the skin. This means that close and repeated contact with an untreated patient is required.
The first news of the disease in Cuba is dated January 17, 1613 and corresponds to the act of the Cabildo, when a group of neighbors from Havana, reported that “there are 4 or 6 people touched by the San Lazaro disease that have come from outside”. This document, of importance for the Medical History of Cuba, indicates the beginning of the leprosy endemic.
Every year, according to WHO data, around 200,000 new cases are diagnosed in the world, with India (more than 120,000 cases), Brazil (more than 28,000 cases) and Indonesia (more than 18,000 cases) being the nations with the greatest number of reports of the disease.
For years this organization has proposed to eliminate this disease. The goal was for each nation to achieve a prevalence rate of less than 1 case per 10,000 inhabitants. Cuba has been meeting this goal since 1993, and is now in the post-elimination phase.
“Behind a leprosy patient, there is always the one who infected them. That is why the most important thing is to interrupt transmission,” said the doctor.ef
Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash along with eight others – including Gianna, one of his four daughters – leaves immense pain, even for those who are not sports fans
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Author: Yosel E. Martínez Castellanos | email@example.com
January 27, 2020 23:01:53
Basketball player Kobe Bryant is gone and leaves an immense pain, even in those who are not sports lovers. His tragic death, in a helicopter crash with eight others – including Gianna, one of his four daughters – on Sunday outside the city of Los Angeles, has been the news of the world for the last 48 hours.
The American shooting guard was a worthy heir to the legacy sown by Michael Jordan, considered the best player in the sport’s history. Kobe won everything: two Olympic gold medals, five NBA championship rings, two laurels for the most valuable player in the finals of that prestigious league and an award for the most outstanding basketball player, are several of the prizes he won, all with the Los Angeles Lakers club.
But Kobe made a name for himself beyond sports, for conveying values of justice and helping those who have needed it most financially. The “Black Mamba”, as he was known, was and will be an example to follow.
His departure has been commented on by personalities from the sports, political, social and cultural worlds, who through social networks dedicated countless words of praise to him.
Among the comments expressed by the personalities stand out the words professionalism, respect and love he felt towards the game.
Besides being described as an excellent man, capable of encouraging others not to give up their dreams and see their objectives fulfilled.
A natural competitor, as he was, was not defeated by death. He was victorious by winning millions of hearts.
With the placing of a floral offering in the name of the Cuban people, and a pilgrimage to his tomb in the Colon Cemetary in Havana, Guillermo Isaías Sardiñas Menéndez, the priest known as the Father of the olive green cassock, was recalled yesterday on the 55th anniversary of his death
Author: National Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
December 24, 2019 01:12:18
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Photo: Dunia Álvarez
With the placing of a floral offering in the name of the People of Cuba and a pilgrimage to his tomb, in the Colon Necropolis, in Havana, the priest Guillermo Isaías Sardiñas Menéndez, known as the Father of the olive green cassock, was evoked yesterday on the 55th anniversary of his death.
Major General José Carrillo Gómez, president of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution (acrc), highlighted the personality of the former chaplain of the Rebel Army who came down from the Sierra Maestra with the rank of Commander, while Monsignor Ramón Suárez Polcari, chancellor of the Archbishopric of Havana, said a prayer in tribute to this distinguished personality. Also present were Caridad Diego, head of the Office of Attention to Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Party, Brigadier General Delsa Esther Puebla Viltre and members of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution (ACRC), as well as representatives and religious leaders of our country. (National Editor)
On November 15, 238 years had passed since the dismemberment of the Bolivian indigenous leader. Along with thousands of his followers, he surrounded the city of Nuestra Señora de la Paz [today’s La Paz] for several months creating chaos and sowing panic among the Spaniards who lived in the small city
November 20, 2019
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
November 15, marked 238 years since the dismemberment of the Bolivian indigenous leader Túpac Katari. Together with thousands of his followers, he surrounded the city of La Paz for several months, creating chaos and sowing panic among the Spaniards and their descendants who inhabited In the small town.
Before dying, Katari formulated this prophecy: “I will die but I will return and be millions.” The historic phrase was rescued by Aymara leader Evo Morales when he assumed the presidency of Bolivia in 2006, and his government began to work for the demands for the rights of the original peoples.
Katari’s real name was Julian Apaza Nina. He was born in 1750 in the Aymara community of Ayo Ayo, province of Sica Sica, near La Paz, the son of a miner who died in the mines of Potosí. This indigenous leader led one of the most important rebellions against Spanish colonialism in Upper Peru, along with his wife, the heroine Bartolina Sisa and her younger sister Gregoria Apaza.
Legend has it that when Julian was born in 1750, two huge condors settled in the nearby mountains. One represented the Aymara and the other, the Quechua. Thus they learned that this child would be very important for the two native communities. That’s what happened.
The young Julian adopted the pseudonym of Túpac Katari in tribute to the indigenous leaders Túpac Amaro II and Tomás Katari, to fight against Spanish domination, organizing the indigenous and mestizos for the great rebellion he was preparing.
An army of more than 40,000 indigenous people from different regions such as Calamarca, Caracato, Sapahaqui, Laja and Viacha, led by Tupac Katari, twice surrounded the city of La Paz in 1781. Their seige lasted for one hundred and nine days, causing serious damage to the Spanish forces. This was mainly due to lack of supplies, however, troops sent in aid from Argentina prevented the fall of the city.
Katari was betrayed, imprisoned and sentenced to be executed through dismemberment, which took place on November 15, 1781, in the small town of Peñas, two hours from El Alto.
He was made to walk around the main square, his tongue was cut, he was quartered by stretching his limbs by four horses. They pierced his head over the tip of a pillory to intimidate the rebels. And as if that were not enough, parts of his body were exposed in different regions.
But his example led to other uprisings that achieved the expulsion of the conquerors of Bolivian land. And the fence was sculpted forever as the indigenous epic that bent the Spanish conquerors for a few months.
Now in Bolivia, a reissue of that siege is taking place. Representatives of social organizations of the city of El Alto, and the federations of coca leaf producers of El Chapare, decided to encircle La Paz. They demanded that the murders of the peasants and the mobilized people cease; human rights violations cease and the legitimate government and not the coup be restored.
In a tweet from Mexico, President Evo Morales recalled the Bolivian indigenous leader: «Spanish imperialism thought that by tearing up Tupac Katari 238 years ago, it would cut off the strength of the people to break the chains of colonialism. Today, more than ever, the fight continues. Before the repression of the racist coup, we repeat the sentence: I will return and be millions!,” he wrote.
BabalúAyé, “as he is also compared by the association of the believers in the Yoruba religion”, means “King or Father of the World”, Shangó’s brother
December 18, 2019
by Endrys Correa Vaillant | email@example.com
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
Babalú Ayé, “as he is also compared by association with believers in the Yoruba religion”, means “King or father of the World”, Shangó’s brother.
The Chinese also see in Babalú Ayé a resemblance to one of the eight immortals of their mythology, Li Xuan, who, like Saint Lazarus or Babalú Ayé, wears thick cloth rags, is crippled on one leg, helps himself with crutches and is a lover of animals.
In these days, on the eve of December 17, his day; the devotees of this saint venerate him in different ways. Some slide with a stone on their backs, others walk barefoot or with flowers and candles. What almost everyone agrees on is that they go to the National Sanctuary of Saint Lazarus in El Rincón to deposit all their offerings. Some ask for health, others for protection, or for themselves and their families.
In El Rincón we find people of all kinds, from different places in Cuba and other countries. Even the riders go with their horses to bless them (they do it on December 17 and January 17).
It is normal to see them in the strollers known popularly as spiders moving in groups of up to 20 to fulfill their task. They arrive at the Rincón and go to the fountain in search of holy water, take it to the father of the church to bless it and cleanse their beasts to rid them of all evil, it is part of the ritual.
Like the Virgin of Charity, Saint Barbara or the Virgin of Rule, Saint Lazarus, will always have in Cubans, followers who will worship him to face his challenges, calamities and hardships. Faith in him manages to cross borders and clings to those who feel it and make it theirs.
Legend has it that Babalú Ayé, being a very womanizing man, was advised by Orula to control himself in this way because he could contract serious diseases, which he did not do. One day he met an irresistible woman, went to have fun, and when he woke up the next day his body was covered with malignant sores.
The elders of the village, seeing his condition, sewed his tongue with twelve diloggún (a divinatory system of the Osha Rule that uses the cauri snail in the hand of 18 or 21 pieces, depending on the orisha in question) and expelled him from the place.
His brother Shangó took him to Orula who, after scolding him for his disobedience, advised Shangó to look for Osain to prepare a remedy with herbs that would cure the disease. Babalú Ayé had to clean himself with them, bury the ebbó (cleaning and purification work) and go to a village where he would be proclaimed king. Ogún gave him two dogs to accompany him on the journey.
Fulfilling to the letter what Orula had told him, Babalú Ayé went to look for the place that Orula had described to him. When he buried the ebbó, it began to rain heavily and the sores that had afflicted it disappeared. To his surprise, as he entered the village he realized that everyone there was suffering from a serious illness, and the villagers who saw him went to meet him in veneration. This was because according to them, the cure for their ills would come with the man who arrived in the rain. Babalú Ayé, who knew some of Osain’s secrets of healing, began to care for the sick and was proclaimed king of the place.
Note: The data taken from the book “Con bendición de todos” by the professor and researcher Valentina Porras Potts.
In several Latin American countries, in Iran and elsewhere where governments not in the interests of the U.S. rule, the CIA special forces establish as a mode of interference the creation of violent groups apparently disorganized and spontaneous, which seek to sow chaos, to criminalize social protests and to justify the murderous action of security forces.
Author: Raúl Antonio Capote | firstname.lastname@example.org
December 11, 2019 01:12:56
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
While the repressive forces in Ecuador confronted the people who were demonstrating against the neo-liberal measures of Lenín Moreno’s government, and while the security forces murdered, tortured and kidnapped the participants in the protests, Ecuadorian television broadcasted SpongeBob dolls. Any attempt to present the truth was censored.
Apparently disorganized and spontaneous violent groups acted. Their objective: to sow chaos, to criminalize protests and to justify the homicidal action of the security forces.
In Chile, after the lethargy cultivated with care by the media and fertilized by years of terror, the people woke up. The sons of Lautaro, Caupolicán and Allende defied the security forces. On October 14, 2019, high school and university students organized to massively evade [hiked prices for] the Santiago subway. The reason, a protest to the rise in the value of the ticket. But it was only the beginning, it was just a spark. Faced with the real situation of inequality created by neo-liberalism in that country, the protest became radicalized and generalized.
While the demonstrators, mostly young people, raised their arms to show the peaceful nature of the marches, violent events occurred in several places. Groups with no apparent relationship between them, alien to the demonstrators, were responsible for these events. The denunciation made by several people situates them in scenarios where Carabineros forces acted, to which some videos uploaded to social networks show them, even participating or stimulating the looting.
Here, too, the mass media opt for silence, for the criminalization of protest, while the forces of order murder, rape, and beat as in the “best times” of the dictatorship.
In Bolivia, a set of factors came together to bring about the fall of the government of Evo Morales. They were not only elements of internal dynamics, cyber attacks, espionage and propaganda tasks, destabilization campaigns, they were also criminal groups with no apparent connection between them, allied with military and police forces involved in the plot, external diplomatic action and intervention by destabilizing agents of the U.S. Embassy.
Bands of criminals protected by the narrative of “popular indignation,” for alleged electoral fraud, took control of the cities, carried out roadblocks in the style of the Venezuelan guarimberos, burned institutions, made threats, committed murders, tortured on the streets, and humiliated social and political leaders.
These right-wing criminal groups, armed, invisible to the media, acted with absolute coordination and took strategic points of the capital of the country, an example was the seizure of Bolivia TV, which shows a great advance preparation. They did not act at random: they directed their blows with precision, they knew against whom to proceed, they kidnapped, murdered and destroyed, selectively.
It was not a question of the people dissatisfied with a fraud that never happened, but of well-planned aggression. The people of Venezuela and Nicaragua, who have been victims of these unconventional acts of war, are well aware of this.
Not only in Latin America
The M.O. is not exclusive to our region. Last November, Iran suffered a wave of violence that destroyed 730 banks, 70 service stations, 140 government buildings and more than 50 security force bases.
Thousands of angry protesters took to the streets for days and attacked gas stations, banks and government buildings following the announcement of rationing and a 50% increase in fuel prices.
Here again, the tactic used in Bolivia is repeated: armed groups, perfectly coordinated and trained, act on the ground. Using the “swarm” technique, the groups communicated with each other and concerted actions using text messages to meet at points of attack.
The aggression came to a halt when the government turned off the Internet and wireless networks. Iranian security forces succeeded in capturing several CIA agents acting in these alleged anti-government groups.
Political Action Groups
In a 2003 book, Special Ops: America’s Elite Forces in 21st. Century Combat, the author states:
“Highly confidential, the Special Operations Division is considered the pre-eminent special operations unit in the world. Members are the elite of the elite. This is due to the sources from which the organization recruits its members: Special Mission Units, such as the Delta Force and the United States Special Naval Warfare Development Group…”.
The Special Activities Center (SAC), a division of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is responsible for conducting undercover operations known as “special activities”. Prior to 2016, the unit was called the Special Activities Division.
Within the SAC there are two separate groups: the Special Operations Group (SOG) for tactical paramilitary operations and the Political Action Group (PAG) for covert political operations.
The Political Action Group (PAG) is responsible for covert activities related to political influence, psychological operations and economic warfare. With the rapid development of technology, cyber-warfare was included in its missions.
The SAC offers its services to the President of the United States as an option when military and diplomatic actions are not politically viable or feasible.
The Political Action Group conducts covert operations to bring about political change. Covert intervention in a foreign election is considered by the sac the most important form of political action. This could include financial support for “appropriate” candidates for the United States, support with specialized media, technical support for public relations, resources to influence the vote, participation in political organization, legal advice, publicity campaigns and what they call “other means of direct action”.
According to SAC specialists, political decisions can be influenced by active values, such as the uprising of U.S. officials, pressure on officials and political leaders to make official decisions aligned with U.S. policy and objectives. In addition, they can develop mechanisms for the formation of public opinion favorable to U.S. interests, actions that involve the covert use of propaganda.
They may employ officials to work as journalists, use influential agents, operate media platforms, plant certain stories or information in places where it is expected to come to light “naturally,” or try to deny and/or discredit information that is in the public domain.
Most U.S. experts consider the SAC the current special operations force, perfect for unconventional warfare.
Some examples of the company’s political action programs were actions to prevent the Italian Communist Party (PCI) from winning elections in 1948; already in late 1960, the 1953 Iranian coup d’état; Chile 1953; Guatemala 1954; Indonesia in 1957, as well as the provision of funds and support to the Solidarity union in Poland 1981, attempted coup d’état in Venezuela 2002; coup in Honduras 2009, Nicaragua 2018, Juan Guaidó’s self-proclamation in Venezuela, attacks on the Venezuelan National Electric System (SEN) 2019, etc.
As clear as water: the presence more than once of officials and agents of the US special services in the field denounced during these actions, plus the recognition in public documents of their interventionist actions against governments that are not related to them, proves the direct interference of the United States in these blows, which only have a soft name, because they have left a mark of blood and suffering in all parts of the world.
To foresee is the word of order, the progressive forces, the leaders of the left must be prepared and prepare their peoples. It is necessary to be willing to give everything, to face with intelligence the Yankee plans and to win.
A Guide to America’s Special Operations Units : the World’s Most Elite Fighting Force. Da Capo Press.Southworth, Samuel A. & Tanner, Stephen. 2002. U.S. Special Forces.
At the Center of the Storm: My Life at the CIA. Harper Collins. Tenet, George. 2007.
Author: Rolando Pérez Betancourt | email@example.com
December 8, 2019 22:12:47
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Finally exhibited at the 41st New Latin American Film Festival, The Wasp Network (Olivier Assayas, 2019) makes it clear with historical objectivity that the Cubans who infiltrated counterrevolutionary Miami exile organizations had the right to watch over the security of their country, and thus stop the wave of terrorist attacks of the 1990s carried out under the protection of the United States.
This is an important aspect to be taken into account in the film by the Frenchman Assayas, a prestigious director whose work is known in our country. He has made it possible to appreciate the sensitivity of an artist capable of tackling the most dissimilar human problems from intimate stories.
Based on the book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War, by Fernando Morais, Assayas himself wrote the script about a conflict that – it could not be otherwise – establishes who are the aggressors and who are the victims in a history that goes back half a century.
It was enough for the Miami counterrevolution, without seeing the film, only news after its presentation at the Venice Film Festival, to make a fuss and a pathetic warning: in those lands, the film couldn’t even show its head.
The theme of the Five Heroes and the stories that flow from it would allow us to make a few films and series. But in any work based on reality, there is a selection of events and characters, along with artistic licenses put into function of a dramaturgy and simplification of the plot. From Morais’s book, Assayas highlights what he considered pertinent to build a web of events that span several years and not a few intrigues. Although the film has been promoted as an espionage thriller, the director says that it is a historical vision conceived with the intention of capturing a feat that, after he learned about it it, captivated him.
It was advisable, however, to balance the tone and balance the conflict in such a way that a whole point of view in favor of the revolutionary cause did not prevail in a film with foreign funding and international distribution. Besides, the assumption of the political factor in any subject is always a reason for division of opinions and even entrenchments. These can be seen now, even, in “artistic” criticisms in which ideological positions against the “Cuban communist regime” stand out more than an unprejudiced practice of professional analysis.
But facts are facts and artistic honesty, although it is necessary to qualify, cannot be detached from them.
For this chronicler, The Wasp Network ends up being a film worthy and meritorious to see, which is not free of inconsistencies in its realization. Of these, the most significant, is the dispersion motivated by wanting to cover everything and explain more than necessary, taking into account the possible ignorance of the subject that an international audience could have. In this sense, the script resorts to leaps in time and an entry and exit of characters that leaves gaps in terms of purposes of the story and the lack of roundness of certain situations, such as the one concerning the flight to Cuba undertaken by the infiltrator Juan Pablo Roque (Wagner Moura).
Another debatable card -which for a Cuban spectator has nothing revealing about it- is the surprise factor that is intended to impregnate the infiltrators in Miami. It first, it makes them appear as traitors who escape from the Island and later, in their real function, a double game devoid of the dramatic force that, it is guessed, was among the director’s goals.
The Wasp Network is focused on the stories concerning René González (Édgar Ramírez) and his wife Olga Salanueva (Penélope Cruz, in an excellent performance).
Also the afore-mentioned Roque and the wife who is sought in Miami (Ana de Armas), each couple with their very particular love-political conflicts and was carried with considerable ease in the plot. Gael Garcia Bernal plays Gerardo Hernandez, leader of the group. It would be necessary to see the opinions that the real characters have regarding their characterizations.
The film efficiently reconstructs the terrorist attacks against tourist facilities, shows the maximum faces of the counterrevolutionary exiles and resorts to excerpts from the archives as a reminder that everything that counts comes from reality. This is how President Clinton and Fidel appear separately, towards the end, during an interview with an American journalist. Fidel is conclusive about the right of the most spied country in the world, Cuba, to know what the enemies are doing on U.S. soil to attack the Cuban people.
This is considered in a report, by the non-governmental organization Amnesty International. According to the NGO, «the vast advertising architecture of Google and Facebook is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.
November 21, 2019
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the foundations of privacy and is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” said Kumi Naidoo, general secretary of Amnesty International.
In a report, the non-governmental organization Amnesty International argues that by making their free online services essential for billions of people and by using personal data collected for targeted advertising, these groups threaten freedom of opinion and expression.
“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the foundations of privacy and is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty Secretary-General, cited in the document.
Kumi Naidoo added that people are “trapped.”
«Google and Facebook have gradually eroded our privacy. Today we are stuck. Or we submit to this great surveillance machine, where our data is easily used to manipulate and influence us, or we renounce the benefits of the digital world, ”he added.
For AI’s secretary-general, the “extraction and analysis of personal data in gigantic proportions” is not compatible with the right to freedom.
According to the NGO, «the vast advertising architecture of Google and Facebook is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands because it can be used for political purposes and leaves the field open to all kinds of new advertising strategies, such as attacking vulnerable people who are fighting diseases, mental illnesses or addictions ».
Amnesty International has called on governments to “act urgently,” including through the “application of strict data protection laws and the effective regulation of the activities of technology giants.”
In the documentary a concept similar to Goebbels is clear: the masses don’t go to the movies to be taught, but to evade reality, hence the imperative to create artificial nirvanas for them. They didn’t even disguise their intention
Author: Rolando Pérez Betancourt | firstname.lastname@example.org
November 19, 2019 20:11:08
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
Although the Nazi cinematography gave a great deal of expression to its ideology, and did not spare any resources to do so, it also produced “escapist” stories – comedies, musicals, melodramas, police – aimed at distracting the attention of an audience trapped in a turbulent time.
Taken in numerical terms, it could be said that that duality in production was 50/50, according to the documentary Hitler’s Hollywood (2017), which forms part of a trilogy by the essayist Rüdiger Suchsland, aimed at examining the cinema of the Third Reich, close to a thousand films made between 1933-1945 under what was intended to be a “dream factory” in the best style of Nazi Germany.
Suchsland undertakes a methodical analysis -social, political and aesthetic- marked by objectivity and contention, without diatribes against films that would have deserved it for their racist and xenophobic approaches, a cinema that liked to proclaim that it would last a thousand years, and elaborated an ideological imaginary full of stereotypes against the ancestral values of humanity.
The exhibition of part of this work, which had its highest star in Hitler, has been forbidden in Germany and permissions are needed to project it as study material, therefore, it remains unpublished for the new generations, eager to know what was really that cinematographic gear marked by an insane policy.
Suchsland’s documentary brings us closer to the days when Nazi cinema put the greatest effort into the technical quality of its productions, trying to create its own “art” and compete with Hollywood, which it had no qualms about adapting, according to a scale of values that since the 1930s had been traced by the ideologists of Nazism (in that way, the artificial “American way of life”, distilled by American films, was finding its German equivalent in amelcochado films that glorified Nazi patriotism and sang praises to the times to come after the triumph of Nazism).
Although Hitler was known to like cinema, especially Disney’s work, the responsibility for driving the industry fell on Goebbels, with a culture fostered at universities in Bonn and Berlin. Appointed Minister of Propaganda and Information in 1933, one of his main tasks was to use schools and the media to turn Hitler into a god destined to dominate the world. And there is nothing better for it than cinema.
Goebbels tried to have a Nazi Potemkim filmed for him. He also forbade a German version of Titanic from reaching the screens at the last minute in 1943, when the battle of Stalingrad turned the war upside down. The film could be interpreted as a metaphor for Germany sinking and overnight its director Helbert Sepin, who had left half a skin on the set, was [deemed] suspicious to the Gestapo and without trial or argument ended up on the gallows.
Willing to impress the world with his cinema, which, in terms of pace of production, came in second place behind Hollywood, Goebbel spared no money (or pressure) to ensure the permanence in the country of directors and stars. In the early days, he tried to overcome California’s Mecca internationally, forcing him not to touch on harsh subjects, not even to make horror films that could be “misinterpreted”.
Not a few of these films show the overflowing joy of the German people, a supposed enthusiasm embodied in comedies and musicals, and there is no lack of the technically brilliant (and repudiable in their content) documentaries by Leni Riefenstahl, an innovator with the camera who exalted the myth of the Aryan race to the point of exhaustion.
In Hitler’s Hollywood, a concept similar to Goebbels is clear: the masses do not go to the cinema to be taught, but to evade a reality, hence the imperative of creating artificial nirvanas for them. They didn’t even disguise their intentions and in this respect the narrator of the documentary says: “in general, Nazi cinema was thought to abolish all distinction between reality and fantasy”.
The truth is that by separating those films from marked ideological political propaganda, what remains is an entertainment cinema not very different from the one we see today. Director Rüdiger Suchsland says: “The entertainment industry has always had the function of controlling people. Even in democracies. It can be argued that, thanks to the internet and the almost total digitalisation of society, we are in a new stage of control and manipulation, and that the entertainment industry is less and less focused on developing free minds and illuminating them. That’s what I sometimes think, but I also believe that conspiracy theories and cultural pessimism are a serious danger to democracy. They’re there to make us feel powerless.
A thesis that links Nazi cinema to the present and that is not new. The essayist Siegfred Krakauer, in his great work From Caligari to Hitler (1947) revealed that the dominant psychological tendencies in that cinema “could be profitably extended to the study of the masses, both in the United States of America and in other countries”.
It is well known that when the Nazi empire disappeared, the American cinematographic expansion ended up taking over most of the world’s screens and today only one dream factory remains.
The novel 1984, by English writer Eric Arthur Blair, known worldwide by the literary pseudonym George Orwell, constituted an accusation against totalitarian regimes and became the Central Intelligence Agencies greatest success
by: Jorge Wejebe Cobo | email@example.com
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
English writer Eric Arthur Blair, known worldwide by the literary pseudonym George Orwell, was a combatant during the Spanish Civil War, which he said he joined “to kill fascists, because someone had to do it.”
His novel 1984 was an indictment of totalitarian regimes and became the CIA’s greatest success in its most widespread propaganda operation against the Soviet Union in the 1950s.
Orwell was born June 25, 1903 in India, where his father worked as a low-level colonial government official at the age of two, he moved with his mother and sister to England.
His literary career was based on those early experiences. He wrote the novel Burmese Days and essays such as A Hanging (1931) and Shooting an Elephant (1936) in opposition to the colonial system, in addition to writing stories about workers’ conditions.
These first texts place him in the liberal tradition of the generation of European writers born at the beginning of the 20th century, defrauded by the crisis of bourgeois society. In the face of the new conflict that German fascism would provoke, many of them took positions sympathetic with socialist ideas and the USSR in opposition to Nazi barbarism.
Another stage in his formation began in the Spanish Civil War, in which he was wounded and knew first hand the internal divisions of the anti-fascist front, among Trotskyists, with whom he sympathized, communists, anarchists and other tendencies. Meanwhile, from the USSR, came news about Stalin’s purges that shook his ideas favorable to socialism in that nation.
He wrote: “The Spanish war and other events in 1936-1937 changed things, and since then, I knew where I was. Every serious line I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and in favor of democratic socialism as I understand it.”
Under these premises he presented in 1945 the novel Animal Farm, a parody of a totalitarian society in which the local animals carry out an insurrection against the humans, a plot which expresses open criticism of the Soviet system and of English society of the time.
Later, in 1948, he finished his novel 1984, in which he presented a world ruled by great dictatorial powers and describes a totalitarian empire directed by “Big Brother”, or the maximum leader. He bases his power on instruments of domination of the whole life of his subjects, whose civil rights are violated and even their love life is regulated.
He spent his last energies in the writing of that narrative, affected by the tuberculosis that would take him to his grave in 1950. [Meanwhile], on the other side of the Atlantic, in the United States, the recently-founded Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) fine-tuned a subversive campaign aimed at “conquering the hearts and minds”, mainly of the European intelligentsia.
One of the propagandistic themes of that battle was the promise that, after the defeat of “Asian barbarism”, identified with the USSR, the Western camp led by the United States would build a better world, based on democracy, human rights and freedom. [This was] a fable in which not a few intellectuals of the time believed.
To achieve that goal, the CIA organized the Congress for Cultural Freedom in the early 1950s. It was supported by a vast global network of allied governments and special services, cultural institutions, think tanks, press organs, publishing houses, foundations, and all kinds of institutions related to the sphere of culture, in a mega operation that extended into the 1960s.
As never before, incalculable efforts, resources and police methods of recruitment, blackmail, propaganda and psychological influence were directed at a sector of the intelligentsia. [They had been] pigeon-holed by the strategists of the special services under the term “non-Communist or anti-Soviet left”, [who were] also joined by some who repented their support for the Soviet ideal in the first half of the century, among whom was George Orwell.
Michael Warner, a CIA historian, wrote that the strategy of conquering that left was “the foundation of the Agency’s political operations over the next two decades,” cites English researcher Frances Stonor Saunders in her book The CIA and the Cultural Cold War.
The researcher points out that after Orwell’s death in 1950, the CIA, through its cultural front, negotiated with the writer’s widow the making of an animated film based on Animal Farm. [It was] considered the most ambitious project of its kind to that time.
More than 100,000 handmade illustrations were used for the animated film. Censorship of the original text was exercised, attacking characters [which he had] depicted as pigs, identified as the English and German bureaucracies and governments, which were removed from the final script to highlight anti-Soviet references.
Something similar happened with the film that was made about the other novel, 1984, in which all criticism of capitalist states was blurred. This turned the work into a notorious anti-communist manifesto, paid for with $100,000 dollars from the U.S. government.
Many years later, with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent dissolution of the USSR, the supposed end of history was proclaimed with the victory of the world capitalist system with the United States at its head.
This was the context in which the foundations were laid for the concept of maximum surveillance by the wave of the revolution in new communications and information technologies. This has had a greater impact than ever before on the history of human development in all spheres of society.
The “Big Brother” of Orwellian fiction was established in the new millennium in the virtual world of the Internet. There, the not-so-virtual creeds, yearnings, hopes and information of millions of inhabitants pass. But, unlike the literary image, this new system is built and generalized on programs of artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technology to manipulate society with lies, with media names like “post-truth,” “soft power,” “color revolutions,” “asymmetric wars,” “fake news,” and other concepts.
These doctrines come from the chain production of the centers of the U.S. National Security Agency. They are dedicated to electronic snooping on the secrets of friends and enemies around the globe. [This is done] at the command of the Pentagon and the intelligence community of powerful countries. There, an army of thousands of efficient servants of an empire that seemed destined to surpass by far the ideas of the controversial and censored creator of 1984.