Today, I’m off to Cuba. Not for the sun or sea or rum, but to investigate an issue very close to the hearts and minds of the Cuban people: baseball. However, reporting on such a nationalistic issue in a country where press freedoms, according to Reporters Without Borders, is “”disastrous,”” will be a challenge. Without official foreign press credentials, my colleague and I intend to bring a camera, a video recorder and notebooks into the country because they are all items that can be justified for tourists. Yet we are hesitant to bring our big Marantz recorder into the communist state. How could we explain such an item?
Media in Cuba is tightly controlled; insulting government officials alone can carry a three year jail sentence. Moreover, private ownership of electronic media is prohibited by the constitution. Although I am looking forward to walking the streets in a city where people make eye contact instead of being absorbed into their BlackBerry screens, it will certainly be an odd sensation. I guess the real test will be the openness of the people we encounter on the street. How willing will they be to offer their true opinions of Cuban society?
Stay tuned for updates.