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Blog in Cuba, a relief valve

Blog in Cuba, a relief valve

Havana – Twelve miles off the cayos of Cuba runs a fiber undersea ridge, yet the world-famous island-state relies on lame satellite links : the embargo’s fault, the authorities argue; a pretext to keep the Internet under control and reduce citizens to silence and unawareness, the critics warn.

But the silence to which the Internet is reduced on the island is interrupted in flashes: it is Reuters, in a full-bodied reportage, to draw a picture of the blogosphere in one of the thirteen countries that are enemies of the Internet.

To express themselves freely are few journalists and academics of the regime, journalists and academics who adhere to the guidelines of the Castro government, who amplify and embroider on the statements of a seduced but charismatic leader, revolutionary and censor. It is the privileged ones such as the journalist Elsy Fors who can benefit from the Internet connectivity, ensured by the regime so that they can spread a reassuring and positive image of Cuba . These online praises are intended exclusively for overseas: only the two percent of Cuban citizens has access to the Net , show data from the International Telecommunication Union. A portion of the population that could overlap with state employees, the only ones able to benefit from accounts and connectivity provided by the government.

Of course, there are also journalists who sign post vitriol, such as Luis Sexto, who is critical of a bureaucratic apparatus to be discussed again. Nothing to do with Guillermo Farinas, psychologist and journalist victim of Castro censorship, who fights for freedom of expression online: Sexto declares himself willing to dialogue, but only to abstractly rebuild Cuba on the same premises on which he currently stands.

The authentic voice of Cuba, that of critical and objective citizens, struggles to emerge. There are some state employees like La Polilla Cubana, employed at the National Library and in charge of managing the electronic bulletin, which in 2006 sent to its haggard readers “a cordial and solitary hug”, and who now seems to have resigned herself to silence by giving up tell about his country.

On the other hand, those for whom connectivity is a precious asset to be conquered appear more determined: they do not resign themselves to using only the e-mail box accessible at post offices, they do not indulge in self-censorship, despite the fact that counter-revolutionary dissidents hang on their head. sentenced to twenty years in prison five for those who attempt to illegally access the Net.
They are forced to turn to the black market to acquire computer equipment that the government has banned from circulation, they challenge filters and alert systems installed on Internet café machines, mechanisms capable of identifying subversive netizens based on the words typed.

They don’t believe the touted US blockade theory on connections, like the blogger who manages mi isla al mediodia, and they work hard to express their opinion, believing without any victimhood in the mission they feel invested in: “Intolerance is still the rule in Cuba – explained the blogger to Reuters – but Cuban society is starting to adapt to the variety of opinions ”.

An optimism that also seems to pervade Yoani Sanchez, who, unlike many Cuban bloggers, renounces anonymity and exposes himself in the first person. He believes he has found an escape from censorship and the risk of arrests , dresses up as a foreigner, pretends a German accent and crashes into the lobbies of the stately hotels that dot Havana. She sits at the desks reserved for tourists and pays out six dollars an hour two weeks of average salary for a Cuban citizen, for an Internet connection not controlled, which allows it to access the site it manages, strictly hosted by foreign servers.
Yoani Sanchez asks: “What reasons call me to use energy and resources in writing these disillusioned cartoons of reality?” He tried with silence, concentration and autogenic training, nothing to do: “Each new post prevents the pressure inside me from reaching a level that makes me explode”, the kilobytes he entrusts to the Net are an outlet to his “civil impotence” , to the few opportunities to express herself that are granted to her in real life.

Gaia Bottà