Cuban Blogger Crackdown

Part of visiting the US and my homestate of New Jersey, means constant visting friends and quality family time, hence the reduced posting.

I did want to point out the issue of the Cuban bloggers and a recent crackdown on their work and collective activities.  I’ve noticed reports about this on Global Voices and then recently Marc Cooper wrote a piece on it for Mother Jones:

Havana-based writer Yoani Sanchez was recently named by Time magazine as one the 100 most influential people in the world, and she won the 2008 Ortega y Gasset award for digital journalism. But that didn’t stop Cuban authorities from directly threatening her with jail last week.

Reading the content on the Cuban blogs, highlighted on GV, you’ll see statements by government agents who confronted the bloggers with threats and warnings that they had overstepped their freedoms, being accused of being on the side of so-called counter-revolutionaries.

It is, to a limited extent, surprising that the Cuban government is going about things this way. Especially when they could have built some momentum towards being more open domestically and internationally, to free-speech, self-criticism, and new ways of communicating in general.  When Raul first took the reigns, little things the the availability of mobile phones and some change in travel restrictions may have been a sign of a new direction to come. Alas, when it comes to blogging and citizen reporters, they’ve taken a sharp turn in the wrong direction.

Still technology and the voices using technology, will find a way.

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4 thoughts on “Cuban Blogger Crackdown

  • December 18, 2008 at 2:37 am
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    Good one Mark, except…. what with you being a reporter and all, you take on board totally uncritically two sources to replicate the spin game that the mainstream US press does usually without your assistance.

    If you were doing your homework and were more the world citizen you’d also report that Cooper’s interpretation has been vigorously challenged such that your references also include comments threads where posters (who spend a lot of time in Cuba, unlike Cooper)offer a completely different interpretation of blogging and blogging rights in Cuba.

    Maybe too you could mention the US blockade of Cuba and offered more detail about how really “brutalised” these bloggers have actually been. I mean if there was indeed a crack down on bloggingper se in Cuba and you wanted to pontificate on it as you have done, I’d think you’d do more research.

    What’s it with you US liberals — which you are — that you swallow the Cuban bogey man line without choking because the scam gets published in Mother Jones?

    Next month Cuba celebrates its 50th anniversary. Fifty years surviving on the US doorstep despite sabotage , invasion, bullying and boycott. Not a bad achievement if you really want to ponder it. And in that time this small country has tried to go beyond capitalism by dint of its own true grit and any allies it could muster.

    If you think Cuba has done all that by deploying an autocratic state apparatus and manhandling its citizens then you haven’t been watching. I’m sure there are excesses you can cite especially when the US would love to pull off another Grenada or Panama or Iraqi regime change by using any fifth column it can find.

    No one doubts that. But is ‘excess’ the standard operating procedure in Cuba?

    Similarly how naive is it to assume that this same US would not have a cogent interest in individuals who attack the system from within and for a few dollars help to promote their activities. Or for that matter seek a more comfortable lifestyle in the United States while the US cheers them on across to swim to Miami.

    I’m sure it aint easy separating the human right wheat from the imperial chaff and that’s why you have to be more watchful over what you argue. Otherwise you become –as in this post , a mouth piece for the US Cuba special interest desk..

    You can see the same game being played out especially in the way that Cuban hip hop has been forged into an ideological struggle because Uncle Sam reckons there’s a few points to be scored that way against Havana.

    Again you get the same spin over gay rights in Cuba. Each time the aim is to undermine support for Cuban independence in targeted left leaning or liberal sectors. It’s about undermining solidarity.

    And into this trap walks Bicycle Mark….who parrots the latest gab on why Cuba’s a bogeyman and extrapolates a shallow reading on one incident into a judgement on the whole country.

    More fool you.

    • December 18, 2008 at 8:02 am
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      Gee.. this comment was really insulting. it also has alot of words I dont feel like reading it but Im sure someone else will.

  • December 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm
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    Yeah Mark how come you couldn’t effectively document some 50 years worth of Cuban history, interview all people relating to this story and provide numerous geopolitical theories regarding Cuba in your post? Huh what kind of blog is this? I knew you were imperialist mouthpiece!

    Does Fidel have a blog?

  • December 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm
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    Wow. I’m amazed at the first comment here – what are you trying to achieve, really?

    Anyway. However unreasonable and unjust cases like these are, there is one thing in the midst of it that makes me smile (and as you pointed out yourself); those who use technology will always find a way. It is just too bad there are always someone sacrificing their own lives/careers/websites, for us to find these new ways.

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