Sunday, June 12, 2011

La Polemica "Blogotal": An enlightening note from Miriam Celaya

A few weeks ago, following the publication of a long interview I did with Luis Manuel Garcia of Cuba Encuentro about the Cuban blogosphere (Part 1 and Part 2), the blogger Miriam Celaya sent me the following message via e-mail.

I have waited until now to publish it because I wanted to get her permission.

Now that she has given me permission to share it here, I think it will be an especially enlightening addition to the ongoing "Polemica Blogotal" that is currently producing both heat and light from all corners of the Cuban blogosphere.

Skip to the links below to catch up on previous parts of this rich and I think very healthy dialogue/debate.

Que siga la polemica!

Miriam wrote:

I've been reading the interview you did about "blogolandia" that was published at Cubaencuentro. I would like to make an observation, with all respect, on a claim that you make in the second part of the interview (that was published on May 20).
Here is the question put to you:
"To what extent are official blogs “official” - if we understand official blogs as those whose opening has been provided by the Government and whose authors basically agree with the official position? To what extent have they assumed a certain independence of mind, while still avoiding any confrontation with authorities? Are there in them shades of opinion, diversity, spontaneity, or can you talk about that kind of blogosphere as a disciplined squad official bloggers?"
Well, I think your answer is complete, only the end of it mentions something that does not conform to reality at least not in my case and that of other bloggers I know, when, in relation to the independence of alternative bloggers you say, and I quote:
"But, watch it, we must also acknowledge that they enjoy access through embassies of countries that in turn have their own policies. One might think that they too are controlled, censored, or censor themselves in order to preserve this access. One might think that they will not say: 'Down with the embargo,' 'Return the Cuban five,' etc., from the US Interests Section, although it is true that they have repeatedly criticized U.S. policies, demonstrating their independence."
Look Ted, the embassies from which I connect have never questioned what I publish, neither have they imposed any doctrines on me nor conditioned my access on my publishing or not publishing some content.
In fact, I have received a proposal to connect from the USIS (although I have published articles and have signed documents that oppose the embargo and declare myself as vertically opposed to the interference and the annexation, also in direct talks with U.S. officials I have criticized the existence of a transition program, implemented during the Bush administration).
I declined to connect from there, partly because that place is too crowded for my taste, and because thumb drives are subject to scrutiny, which I've never experienced in the embassies I connect from. That's not counting all the security controls that one must pass through to access the USIS.
The truth is that I do not like going there, unless when necessary (like when I applied for a US visa). At the Dutch, Swedish, and Czech embassies the only conditions they have for using the Internet are not accessing pornography sites and the like, nothing more.
Another element that tends to be confusing: In those embassies access by pro-government bloggers is not denied. They are the ones who do not request it, and that is enough for me.
To end my comment on your response, I would not use my blog to champion the cause of the Cuban Five simply because they have the mainstream media, all state resources at their disposal for this campaign, and even those resources which Cubans humorously refer to as “The Ministry of the Cuban Five," with Ricardo Alarcón, President of the National Assembly, charged with advocating for them.
In the campaign for the liberation of “The Cuban Five,” millions of dollars have been spent, which could have been valuable resources for health or education programs, but which the Cuban government uses at its whim.
I prefer to advocate for those who do not have their own voice or resources, but I do believe, as does James Carter, that “The Five,” guilty or not, have already been sufficiently punished and that it would be a smart gesture by U.S. authorities to release them, and consequently, the imprisonment of these five spies would cease to be a central theme in the politics of a country where 11 million people remain virtually imprisoned or are simply hostages of the government.
Sorry if you think of that my observation is meddling. I respect your opinion, which moreover, is very moderate, but I thought it would be appropriate to offer my views without disqualifying yours.
I do not know how to remain silent when I have an argument to make.
And forgive me as well for such a long message; time is valuable, even for this transgressive blogger who lives on an island so disconnected from its time.

Keep reading for links to the debate:

First response to my interview from Ubieta, "La confesion Hanken".

Elaine's Tweet responding to Ubieta.

Elaine's comment (posted on Ubieta's blog).

My response to Ubieta (which I tried to share - along with more details - as a comment on his blog - but which still has never appeared there).

Dilla's article, "What if Official Cuban bloggers Defended Socialism?" at Havana Times (and in Spanish at Encuentro).

Arturo Lopez Levy's reply to Dilla (part of a larger and distinct polemica that you can follow at Cuba Encuentro).

Erasmo Calzadilla's post at Havana Times about "La Familia de La Joven Cuba".

Ubieta's second post, "El falso mapa de Ted Henken," responding to my Cartografia.

Rogelio's post, "Jovenes con matices," continuing the debate.

Yasmin's post "Teddy y Enriquito".

Who's next?

1 comment:

  1. La aclaración de Miriam ha sido muy necesaria. Además nos ha suministrado información poco conocida.