Academic journal article Afro - Hispanic Review

A Study of Translation as Propaganda: Roberto Zurbano's Article on Race as Seen in the Plantocracy Press

Academic journal article Afro - Hispanic Review

A Study of Translation as Propaganda: Roberto Zurbano's Article on Race as Seen in the Plantocracy Press

Article excerpt

To date, the only Spanish language versions of Zurbanos' "For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn't Begun" are put out by two staunch organs of Cuba's plantocracy in exile, the Diario de Cuba and Marti Noticias. Why take notice of their standard propaganda techniques? Because these versions are the ones being used by some in Cuba to judge the writer's intent, despite Cubans' long experience with these techniques. The two translations into Spanish done to date feature rearrangements of content and omissions which change the tone of the original by accentuating the critique Zurbano is making in a negative way. This segment as translated by the Diario de Cuba based in Spain strives to change the tone of Zurbano's article by strategic ommissions:

"The private sector in Cuba now enjoys a certain degree of economic liberation, but blacks are not well positioned to take advantage of it. We inherited more than three centuries of slavery during the Spanish colonial era. Racial exclusion continued after Cuba became independent in 1902, and a half century of revolution since 1959 has been unable to overcome it."

This is translated by omitting the historical context of the colonial plantocracy, whose latter day inheritors the Diario de cuba continues to defend and represent. It was this plantocracy that leftCuba with the racial problems it now has. Those parts of the article that refer to measures the Cuban government has taken or that relativize the critique he is making are simply whited out:

"It's true that Cubans still have a strong safety net: most do not pay rent, and education and health care are free." "Raúl Castro has recognized the persistence of racism and has been successful in some areas (there are more black teachers and representatives in the National Assembly), but much remains to be done to address the structural inequality and racial prejudice that continue to exclude Afro-Cubans from the benefits of liberalization. …

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