Internet en Cuba

Teacher voted Cuba's most popular blogger
The competition was held Wednesday night in the home of blogger Yoani
Sanchez, recipient of the 2008 Ortega y Gasset Prize for Digital Journalism
Friday, September 11, 2009

HAVANA, CUBA: The first contest for blogs written in Cuba attracted the
participation of 66 bloggers, including dissidents and government
journalists, and was ultimately won by a school teacher named Claudia

The competition was held Wednesday night in the home of blogger Yoani
Sanchez, recipient of the 2008 Ortega y Gasset Prize for Digital Journalism.

With the title "Una isla virtual" (A virtual island), the contest was
promoted by the website Desde Cuba and Convivencia magazine, both
independent outlets.

The decision regarding the winner, which was publicised via Twitter,
gave the prize for greatest popularity and best blog to Cadelo's Octavo
Cerco (Eighth Circle).

"We did it. This was the first contest of its kind in the history of
Cuba," Sanchez told EFE, emphasising its success at having gained the
participation of so many bloggers in a country where just three years
ago blogs did not even exist.

"It opens up a road, and it's certain that the second one will be
better, more complete and hard-fought," added Sanchez, who in July
received a special citation from the Columbia University Graduate School
of Journalism as part of the 2009 Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for
outstanding reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean.

The "Una isla virtual" website received 187 nominations, but the panel
of judges selected 66 finalists after excluding anonymous blogs, those
created outside Cuba and those that were not updated regularly.

Journalist and blogger Reinaldo Escobar, another organiser, said blog
readers acted as the seventh member of the judging panel by sending in
their votes.

He said that practically half of the blogs nominated were put together
at state-run institutions, while the rest are the work of so-called
"alternatives bloggers", who update their Web pages using public
connections or pirated Internet accounts.

"It's stimulating. This is a phenomenon that cannot be halted in any
way. The only way to do it is to completely and radically eliminate the
possibility of connecting to the Internet from the island, and that's
not going to happen," he added.

In Cuba, restrictions exist on Internet usage. It limits the access of
individuals because, according to the communist government, of the
economic embargo the US has maintained against the island which
supposedly limits the conditions and quality of online connections.

The official policy has been "to favour collective access" at
universities, scientific and cultural centres, among others, and the
development of a national network.

Teacher voted Cubas most popular blogger – CIOL News Reports (11
September 2009)

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