13 December 2006

Contra Toda Propaganda

One of my personal heroes, Armando Valladares, (check my profile),has written a fact based children’s book about life in Cuba to counteract two propaganda books that were being passed as reference books in the Miami-Dade School system, Vamos a Cuba and Cuban Kids.

The money quote:

''The books in the school system are filled with lies,'' said Valladares, referring to Vamos and Cuban Kids. ``I believe it is criminal to lie to a child.''

And that is the point.

If you want to have a book exalting life in Communist Cuba: Great! But, label it fiction, don’t try to pass it off as a reference book.

Cuban children have no childhood. They are raised to be like Ché; cold, communist killing machines. They are fed lies and propaganda 24/7.

Those of us who live through it, know its not a matter of point of view or of subjectivity. The repression and misery that children are forced to endure in Cuba are hard objectives truths.

To deny, gloss and try to cover it up should also be a crime. There is no moral relativism when a child suffers.

Here’s the Miami Herald article. Check out the quotes around the word “reality”

You know, putting quotes around the “reality” that I lived and that 11 million Cubans are living right now, is just as insulting to a Cuban as that idiotic conference they’re having in Tehran discussing the “holocaust”.


Anonymous said...

How does a children's book that makes sweeping generalities about a nation "exalt" anything? And, how would a child make that conclusion?

As many media specialists (librarians) explained at the school board meetings, the development of ANY child is dependent on how many resources for study are at hand. This idea supports Valladares' book as well as all other books, even those we deem propagandistic.

But, we combat propaganda with the facts. There is trust involved with children that their decisions will be the best. When provided with vital statistics and other evidence, we assume that he or she will understand it all. The development of beliefs is dependent on these sources.

Yet, if you believe in freedom for literature, then don't make it a legal issue. Such freedoms should be free of such entanglements.

Trust your child and give them the right to search all forms of information. If you criminalize one dimension, you give the right to criminalize others.

El Gusano said...


Ok,” exalt” may be a bit strong. Support, maybe?

(babs, is this you?!?)

Valladares said it’s criminal to lie to a child. Not make it a crime. I interpreted that to be more like it’s a shame. To purposely miseducate a child, should be regarded as child abuse (don’t bring up Santa)

It would be criminal , a shame, to give a child a book that said 2+2 =5 and another that says 2+2=4 and have the child and trust a child make the right conclusion.

When you say that we can only combat propaganda with facts,(100% correct IMHO), you are admitting that facts exits and that propaganda exists, that is to say, they are objectively different and recognizable as such. So why give a child something that is propaganda and something that is truth and say: “here you go kid, I trust you can pick out which is which? The conditions in Cuba are verifiably miserable and inhumane, then why give a child a book of propaganda without telling him it’s propaganda?

I really don’t see how that would help the development of any child.

I certainly would never say to Ban a book , I said label it fiction. I couldn’t agree with you more that only truth can battle propaganda. But propaganda is still propaganda

shit that was longer than my original post!

nice talking to ya!