A blogging revolution
16 September 2009
Blogging flourishes in Cuba as a new generation writes critically about
social and economic issues, leaving behind a generation of leaders over
70 who do not fully understand the phenomenon, says a new report by the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The report, "Chronicling Cuba, bloggers offer fresh hope," sees blogging
in Cuba as a new space for independent ideas where citizens write about
food shortages, health care, education, housing problems and lack of
Internet access; issues that are not covered in the politically
sanctioned press. Although the blogs are not being used to mobilise
people to take political action, they are commenting on the economy and
making global connections, which could provoke the regime, says the report.
Laritza Diversent told CPJ that official newspapers ignored her needs
and misrepresented her reality. The 28-year-old Havana lawyer started a
blog, where she says she can reflect people's frustrations, joys and
"It belongs to thousands of young people who are trying to express many
things, who want alternatives, who dream of a future," Diversent said.
"Even if we feel scared, it is an opportunity to say what we think."
The report found that at least 25 independent, journalistic, and
regularly updated blogs are being produced by Cuban writers. As many as
75 other independent blogs focus on personal and family interests. In
addition, close to 200 officially approved blogs are produced by
government journalists, according to the website of the official Cuban
However, most Cubans have been barred from purchasing computers and
private Internet access is restricted by law. Bloggers can go online at
government-owned Internet cafés, universities, diplomatic venues and
hotels but connections are extremely slow and costly. The government
also closely monitors independent blogs and hacks into them, taking them
down for several days.
But there hasn't been a total crackdown on bloggers, compared to the
numerous journalists who have been harassed, intimidated and jailed for
their work, says the report. Some believe transparency is the best way
to avoid surveillance and persecution: "By signing your name, giving
your opinions out loud and not hiding anything, we disarm their efforts
to watch us," Yoani Sánchez wrote on her blog.
A blogging revolution – IFEX (16 September 2009)