(Block Report) Live from the Streets of San Salvador: an interview with the producers of Radio Zurda "The Voice of Free Youth" part 1
A few weeks ago we, the Prisoners of Conscience Committee delegation from the United States, got back from a fact-finding mission in El Salvador. We were in three cities: San Salvador, Suchitoto, and Sansonate, and we talked to former combatants, government officials, union leaders, community leaders, members of street organizations, former political prisoners, and more. One of my favorite groups that we met were Radio Zurda, which are a collective of youth that do a political radio show heard in El Salvador and Honduras, targeted towards a youth audience. After sitting through a presentation where the Radio Zurda producers explained what they do, we did this Block Report Radio interview so that we could get it on tape to share with our audiences.
MOI JR: What is the purpose of Radio Zurda?
Radio Zurda: So our goal is to educate, inform, and entertain youth to be able to break the media barriers and fortresses that they have. We try to break through that.
MOI JR: What makes Radio Zurda any different from Fox News?
Radio Zurda: To start off with, we don't lie. We say things and tell things the way that we see them, and the way that they really are. So besides the fact that we do not lie, what makes us different is that we are a form of media made by youth, and for youth. Also what makes us different as Radio Zurda, is that we don't respond to any capital interest, in fact, we are anti-capitalist, and we don't accept any form of oppression nor invasion, and we will never defend that. So as he said, in any form of invasion, we are against any colonizing imperialist action, and position of the powerful over the weak, and that is where we are right now, as a weaker force.
MOI JR: What role does Radio Zurda play in the revolutionary movement? I just heard from you on the panel, where all of you just spoke, and you talked about your role in the progressive, revolutionary left movement. How do you see yourselves contributing to revolutionary change in El Salvador?
Radio Zurda: To answer that, there are 3 main words: inform, educate, and entertain. And that is part of what makes Radio Zurda unique, say, within the left of El Salvador, this is not done. Our method is not applied. And so that in itself, is what makes our work important, and that is what makes Radio Zurda a part of the revolutionary process in El Salvador. And also what contributes to that is, as Julio said, no one else does this for youth and by youth.
MOI JR: During the presentation you talked about reaching young people, and how the young people of El Salvador were apolitical. What is your assessment on why they are apolitical? As well as, how do you reach apolitical youth, with a political radio show?
Radio Zurda: Okay, basically the way that we do that is by not going into saying what is politics, but what we say from our perspective, because we are youth, we are able to understand and know what are the needs of youth, and what are the interest of youth, so that we could go first and set those ideas, instead of going straight into saying what is politics. We first sort of spread that idea out, create that analysis, in the language that youth speak.
The important question is to ask why are youth apolitical in our country. And so what happens is that we live in an era that is quite advanced technologically, and that is what permits, or allows there to be a variety of distractions for youth. And so you got to think, what is more interesting for the average person, for the average youth, is it to have a political discussion or to be on chat (instant messaging) with say, an interest of theirs? Another question is for the majority of youth is it more attractive to maybe go out for a drink or to party, or to be sitting discussing a document, or identifying a document that you can later discuss. So all these factors of distraction is what really makes youth not want to be interested or want to get involved in politics.
And it is also the evil role that the right-wing here has had in enforcing that. And so that is why the youth and in general, the population does not believe in that right-wing politic here. And so then the conclusion is "I as a young person don't believe in that political system. So I don't get involved". The question is how do you make those youth become interested in the context of globalization, to have them get involved. So say on such topics as an increase in bus fare affects you, and instead of that you're thinking of the latest artist in Hollywood, or some soccer team in Europe. So then that is our basic challenge, to have youth be able to identify whose fault it is that you are living a shitty life, who you can make responsible for that, and then you identify who you have to struggle against. So then that basically explains why in all of this western hemisphere, there is traditions and customs or like social behavior that are influenced or dictated by the fact that those who fabricate the same movies that show up in Hollywood, so people end up thinking that their reality is the same as what they see on the big screen. (source)