Three years ago, the alternative cuban bloggers defied the collectivist monotony designed state information media, whose writers interweave the gag by means of omission, manipulation and campaigns to discredit those who question the illusion of socialist utopia.
In spite of the cost that limits access to the Internet in the hotels and cybercafes of Havana and other cities, bloggers offer on the net a more authentic vision of what occurs behind Castroism’s smoke curtain. To gain credibility they receive support of readers and friends that admire the irreverence and the freshness of their posts; that which is distorted by the propagandists of the regime.
To confront them, the government helps almost 200 bloggers that reproduce their slogans, as if the official newspaper, Granma, and other forms of communication that encode the minds of the people are not enough. The cybernauts of power to have been cloned by the censors, they simply reiterate the scripts of the official campaigns, lacking any naturalness, which makes them appear weak compared to the independent bloggers, who are spontaneous, anti-dogmatic, and use humor and irony to comment on absurd situations and express indignation at the daily abuses.
The horizontal structure and the system of links from the alternative bloggers help the spread of text and images in the networks, although the information soldiers of the government block the more interactive platforms and the most prestigious blogs. Their major challenge of the alternative bloggers is in the cost of the connection, paid for at times by supportive friends. Voices Behind the Bars, a blog by Pablo Pacheco and other incarcerated journalists, exemplifies the support of those who express themselves through such a hostile media.
Although various bloggers come from independent journalism and others were afiliated with pacifist groups opposing the regime, most are young professionals without political militancy, which forces their detractors to invent slanderous things about the source of their income and the origin of memory and laptops. Associating them with “external enemies” is their favorite argument.
The blogger exercises citizen journalism and a certain leadership from the point of view of support for a future civil society in Cuba, where artists, communicators, librarians, lawyers and unrecognized entities prepare the road for a peaceful opening on the island.
More than a cyber-utopia discussion about social democratization and confronting power, bloggers confirm that new technology breaks the information monopoly and stimulates freedom of expression. Cuba isn’t the exception in the interconnected world. The use of the Internet, like Gutenberg’s printing press, the telegraph, the telephone, photography, movies, and television revolutionizes culture and helps the spiritual liberalization of the human being.
Alternative bloggers confront the social and technological determinism and challenge the journalistic filter imposed by the government to act with impunity and discredit those who denounce censorship and yearning for liberty of a society ever more anti-establishment.
Enrique Ubieta, Vladia Rubio, Rosa M. Elizalde and Rosa Báez are the most visible faces of the virtual superintendent. The center of the anger is Yoani Sanchez, author of Generation Y and sponsor of the platform: Voces Cubanas (Cuban Voices). But more than a “media war against the bloggers”, the regime attacks whomever; the entrenched can prophesize about the danger as justification for the internal blockade, censorship and repression.
Behind the offences and the defamations against those who air their country’s problems in cyberspace are the masks of totalitarianism. The challenge consists of continuing to write and evading the provocations. To blog in Cuba is a type of Glasnost from below.
Translated by BW