Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

March 15, 1999.


HAVANA - The Sixth Congress of the Union of Cuban Journalists (PPEC), a government-approved body, began March 13 at the Convention Palace here under the theme of "Better Journalism, More Revolution," according to the government's National Television (NTV) service.

The NTV report said more than 150 delegates and invited guests from all over the country were on hand to hear President Fidel Castro on the first day. The new UPEC officials were announced and again Tubal Páez was elected to head the 34 journalists named to represent all government means of communication.

The primary question taken up on the first day was what Páez described as "the globalization of information and communication and its challenges for Cuban journalism."

NTV also said that José Ramón Balaguer, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, gave a special talk saying that "through thoughts they wage war on us and through thoughts it is essential that we win the war."

NTV said one delegate responded, "We must carry out a journalism of thoughts that will provide a response to the forms of attack of thoughts against us. This indicates that we must manage a form of journalism that is apt for this kind of war."

Various officials talked of the necessity of having a journalism that is "more creative, daring, able, credible, profound, objective, critical, intelligent, brave, responsible and in line with the government's politics and which satisfies the information needs of the public," as described by the government spokesman.

The NTV reports on the congress also said the new projects will develop "in the midst of difficult economic conditions for the country." It said the Cuban journalists recognize they are obliged to develop their skills with fewer resources. It said they must not lose the opportunity to strongly attack independent journalism and to establish a comparison "to counter those who dishonor the profession, those who use journalism for material gains and to flirt with the enemies of the revolution and, in countering them there are many more for whom the words loyalty and ethics are principles and not slogans, and the many are represented at this congress."

The TV report described the congress as an encounter of confrontation of ideas "where the truth wins through excellence." NTV broadcast images of the exchange of opinions between President Castro and various reporters during a recess at the meeting.

Referring to an opinion expressed by one journalist about the power of ideas, the Cuban commander said, "This is a battle of ideas, and we must win. We are going to win, among other things, because they are losers."

On the other hand, the NTV program also - from 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. - transmitted incidents of information about the final day of the trial of the Salvadoran, Raúl Ernesto Cruz León, who has been accused of terrorist acts of bombing.

Efrén Martínez Pulgarón, Cuba Free Press.

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