The much-maligned listicle format is often little more than the bread-and-butter of the digital clickbait world, a formulaic way to generate content, retain captive eyeballs, and fritter your time away. However, Univision found a way to use this harmless format as a way to soft-sell Castro's Cuba.
If there was any wonder as to what depths Univision's digital division may plumb after being taken over by Chief News Officer Isaac Lee, then wonder no more. As part of the network's fawning coverage of President Obama's trip to Cuba, the network published "Spring Break In Havana: A Guide For Malia, Sasha, And Other Teens".
The screed was written by Carla Gloria Colomé, Cuban cultural writer and regime apologist. Colomé, for example, once managed to write about a month-long visit to Miami without once mentioning any of the reasons that would have compelled such a visit, or of the exile community. It's as if the Cuban Revolution and its subsequent parade of horribles never happened, and she stranglely waded into a city full of self-hating Cubans that abandoned their homeland for no good reason.
Colomé launches into the listicle, really an open letter to First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, by saying:
Malia and Sasha: you've already been to state dinners, presidential speeches, Thanksgiving festivities and- as teenagers- have had to wear dresses befitting prim and proper girls in the process of welcoming Pope Francis and several other leaders and presidents and dignataries. Now, give yourselves two exceptional days in Cuba.
Colomé then proceeds to go through a hipsterish to-do list which among other things includes ditching the Secret Service, hitting the Malecón, going to a Los Van Van concert, smoking cigars, drinking mojitos, and avoiding dissidents.
Actually following through with any of these recommendations requires a willful suspension of disbelief and ignorance of historical fact. If anything, the presidential daughters could stand to learn a tremendous lesson just by speaking to such dissidents as the Ladies In White, or by visiting with relatives of the victims of homicidal racist Ché Guevara, whose iconography is all over Havana. But then that doesn't quite fit with the story's "fun" tag, does it?
Shame on Univision for unquestioningly reprinting such crass propaganda in the name of clickbait, and for willfully pitching what is still a totalitarian state as some sort of fanciful spring break destination. Viewers of our nation's leading domestic Spanish-language network deserve much better.