Internet en Cuba

Goodbye to the : The Digital Controversy / Yoani Sánchez

Translator: Unstated, Yoani Sanchez

When a friend leaves… says a song performed by Alberto Cortez, it gets

the tears flowing in anyone. Well, that sorrow of goodbye referred to in

the song occurs not only when someone very close leaves. It also hurts

when we have to say goodbye to people we don't know physically, but with

whom we've shared the vast space of the . People we have read

and followed on the web and with whom we've even had opposing positions

on many topics. This is the case with Elaine Diaz, who just announced

the end of her blog, The Digital Controversy. After five years of

publishing on that "most personal, subjective" site, the has

decided to close it and devote herself to teaching and research. A loss

to the plurality of the blogosphere in Cuba.

Although she never responded to our invitations to exchange opinions

with the bloggers of Cuban Voices, this does not diminish my sympathy

for her. Nor did the snub of not accepting a special mention in the

Virtual Island competition take its toll on the respect many of us

profess for her writing. I didn't even stop reading her, and I defended

her against multiple detractors, when on more than one occasion she

launched the hackneyed barrage of official accusations against me. Much

less did I let her her dismal performance on State Security's television

program "Cuba's Reasons" cloud my enjoyment of her sincere, brave,

youthful posts. Because in Elaine Diaz I saw something of the

twenty-something Yoani Sanchez I was, with the illusion that the system

could be reformed from within. To approach her prose was to journey into

my own past.

Sadly, the blog The Digital Controversy has said goodbye to its readers.

And although the author's explanation refers to new professional paths,

it's hard to believe it's only about that. Elaine Diaz has transgressed

the limits of criticism permissible to anyone working in the official

media or in an academic center in Cuba. I remember, for example, her

denouncing the corruption in the high schools in the countryside (parts

I, II, III, IV and V ), where she touched on the strategic issue of

educational quality and the loss of values among teachers and students.

Also on this list is a magnificent report from her keyboard about the

social and environmental damage caused by generators in her village

(parts I, II, III and IV), where questions about the sacrosanct "Energy

Revolution" are posed directly to . The final blow was

perhaps her Twitter call, under the hashtag #nolesvotes, to stop voters

from endorsing the members of the National Assembly who don't represent

the interests of the people.

The outcome was as expected. We can only hope that some day this young

woman will again have a virtual space, without limits, without fear of

approaching anyone to debate an idea; without having to make any

concessions to censorship. I think that to read Elaine Diaz at this time

is, for me, like a journey into the future.

23 August 2012

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