Saturday, June 19, 2010

How Cuba's "Blogostroika," the Internet, and Social Media Could Bring Down the Castro Regime

"An increasing number of Cubans are disillusioned with socialism and are demanding change. One of the tools that Cubans are now using to recover their freedom of expression and association is the Internet, which has quickly given rise to a community of cyber-dissidents, despite the Cuban government’s efforts to make Internet use difficult. Now that the state is out of money and there are no more rights to exchange for benefits, the demand for freedom is on the rise.

One of the tools that has helped people recover the opportunity to air their opinions is the Internet. Although a common citizen cannot contract for Internet at home, and the price of an hour’s connection in a public place exceeds two weeks’ wages, a web of networks has emerged as the only means by which a person on the island can make his opinions known to the rest of the world. Today, this virtual space is like a training camp where Cubans go to relearn forgotten freedoms. The right of association can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and the other social networks, in a sort of compensation for the crime of “unlawful assembly” established by the Cuban penal code.

In a printed newspaper or magazine, on the radio or television, it is still impossible to publicize opinions that stray from the trite official script, but once connected to the Internet, many possibilities open up. Up until now, the most used are the independent blogs that have begun to appear.  Most of the “direct readers” are abroad, and from there they email the articles and posts they like to their friends and family in Cuba, who copy and multiply them. The bloggers, for their part, put copies of their work on CDs and even distribute them on flash drives. Television stations received by illegal satellite report on the contents of the blogs and conduct interviews, showing the faces of the bloggers. In this way, in less than a year, a community of cyber-dissidents was created — a blogostroika, as it is also called."

~From Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez's article "Freedom and Exchange in Communist Cuba," published by the Cato Institute. 

15 Comments:

At 6/20/2010 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is ludicrous. If she actually lived in Cuba she'd be dead by now.

Either she is a Castro plant designed to smoke out dissidents or she's a Cuban in America misrepresenting her condition.

It's not even slightly believable.

 
At 6/20/2010 8:01 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"This is ludicrous. If she actually lived in Cuba she'd be dead by now"...

Are you making this up as you go along or do you have something credible that backs up your statement that we can link to?

Consider the following Boston Globe commentary: After 25 years, a visit to a different Cuba

By Stephen Kinzer
February 16, 2010

I was in Havana two summers ago for a funeral and traveled to Havana via Cancun, Mexico...

I was shocked how different it was compared to the previous time I had visited Cuba back in '79...

 
At 6/20/2010 12:17 PM, Blogger Trochilus said...

"After speaking your mind, you can't one fine day return to silence."

-- Yoani Sánchez, here.

 
At 6/20/2010 2:21 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I find it fascinating that "bad Cuba" is a staple of right-wing drama sets. I concur, Cuba is a foul dictatorship, where political and economic freedoms have been curtailed to the detriment of the population.

But China, where political freedoms have been suffering more restrictions, and where the state practices a brand of fascism (and where Google left), is never a bad guy.

Saudi Arabia, where women can't even vote, and where religious freedom is nil (and which has financed a global network of madrassas, spreading extremist fundamentalist poison), is never a villain in right-wing set pieces. Bush jr. used to hug and kissy-face Saudi despots in Crawford and the White House.

But let's beat up on Cuba.

 
At 6/20/2010 3:15 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

That's a scary article. Many parallels to what is happening today in the US.

 
At 6/20/2010 3:23 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Benji, If I were cynical, I would point out that Cuba is an easy target, as it has no oil reserves, and we don't owe Cuba trillions of dollars.

It's just possible, however, that there are just fewer Chinese and Saudi dissidents writing excellent articles about conditions in their homelands. There aren't large, vocal ex-pat communities of Saudis or Chinese living in this country either.

 
At 6/20/2010 6:02 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"But China... is never a bad guy."

"Saudi Arabia..., is never a villain in right-wing set pieces."

Benji, you prove your ignorance on a daily basis. You obviously don't read any "right-wing set pieces." You just make shit up to justify your bizarre True Economic Conservative Who Voted For Obama ramblings.


"Bush jr. used to hug and kissy-face Saudi despots in Crawford and the White House."

And your boyfriend bows to them.

 
At 6/20/2010 6:38 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Paul--

Point to the Republican Party platform, and where it says that pressure should be applied to China and Saudi Arabia to democratize their political processes, or liberate their economies with healthy doses of free enterprise.

There is in fact is a group of Chinese in the USA who ask our government to apply pressure to China, but they are ignored, mostly.

But give credit where credit is due: Bush Sr. liberated the monarchy of Kuwait, and re-established the throne there, after Saddam invaded.

So we have saved one monarchy, and also helped create one Shiite state (Iraq), and one narco-state (Afghanistan). And made buddies with one extremist theocracy (Saudi Arabia).

But let's beat up on Cuba.

 
At 6/20/2010 8:46 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

Is there any doubt that the U.S. needs to keep ultimate control of the Internet and never, ever give it up?

 
At 6/20/2010 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But give credit where credit is due: Bush Sr. liberated the monarchy of Kuwait, and re-established the throne there, after Saddam invaded.

"Benny" you're back. Did the folks at the clinic adjust your meds and let you out again? Now, if only someone could teach you how to read. Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy. They have a parliment and elections. They even let women vote and hold office. It's not the U.S., but it's not bad for the Middle East. Baby steps. Looks as if they're more up to date than you are.

Remind us again, when was the last time your boyfriend Fidel held elections?

 
At 6/20/2010 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, let's beat up on Cuba. If only because Fidel is the heartthrob of every despicable western leftist.

"The government deported tens of thousands of people or forcibly removed them from Havana to other parts of the island," said Daniel Wilkinson, America's deputy director at Human Rights Watch. "It's just one in a series of laws that place severe restrictions on Cubans [and] how they live, where they live, and where they work."

The taxi driver said he believes when Havana police check IDs, they "like to pick on black people a little more."

The Cuban government, which has long touted racial integration as a crowning achievement of a revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in 1959, declined to comment on internal migration or the activities of transit police.

Cuban migrants illegal in their own country, CNN


But in 2003, Castro went big, and shipped 20,000 doctors and nurses to Venezuela's jungles and slums to treat the poor, doing the work "selfish" private-sector doctors wouldn't. Hugo Chavez touted this line and the mainstream media followed.

Now the ugly facts are getting out about what that really meant: indentured servitude to pay off the debts of a bankrupt regime.

This week, seven escaped doctors and a nurse filed a 139-page complaint in Miami under the RICO and Alien Tort acts describing just how Cuba's oil-for-doctors deal came to mean slavery.

The Cuban medics were forced to work seven days a week, under 60-patient daily quotas, in crime-riddled places with no freedom of movement. Cuban military guards known as "Committees of Health" acted as slave catchers to ensure they didn't flee.

Doctors earned about $180 a month, a salary so low many had to beg for food and water from Venezuelans until they could escape.

What they endured wasn't just bad conditions common inside Cuba. The doctors were instruments of a money-making racket to benefit the very Castro regime that has ruined Cuba's economy.

"They were told 'your work is more important to Cuba than even its sugar industry,'" their attorney, Leonardo Canton, told IBD.

That's because their labor was tied to an exchange: Castro took 100,000 barrels of oil each day from Venezuela's state oil company in exchange for uncompensated Cuban labor.

Cuba's Doctor Abuse, IBD

Cuban doctors, doing the job every western leftist should be forced to do.

Looks like Michael Moore can now go to Venezuela for "health care" too.

 
At 6/21/2010 7:17 AM, Anonymous billie said...

anon 12.01 am
anon 9.20 pm
anon 9.40 pm
you are benjamin.

 
At 6/21/2010 3:05 PM, Anonymous lizzie said...

Yes, let's beat up on Cuba. I am a Cuban exile, now a U.S. citizen. But I am equal opportunity beater on ALL tyrannical regimes... Red China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea.... Democratic Congress/White House.... and whoever their spineless appeasing useful idiots are... progressives everywhere.

I don't care what flavor of tyranny it is.

 
At 6/21/2010 6:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Great comment, lizzie.

 
At 6/22/2010 7:17 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"Point to the Republican Party platform, and where it says that pressure should be applied to China and Saudi Arabia to democratize their political processes, or liberate their economies with healthy doses of free enterprise."

So now you're retreating to the official Republican party platform that nobody reads. I've read countless "right wing set pieces" depicting Saudi Arabia and China as villains.

"There is in fact is a group of Chinese in the USA who ask our government to apply pressure to China, but they are ignored, mostly."

A) Your boyfriend is in power.
B) They are ignored in large part because of the staggering amounts of money your boyfriend is borrowing so he can "grow the economy from the bottom-up."

 

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