Saturday, December 31, 2011
Much well deserved international media attention (along with an outpouring of unsurprising Cuban government attacks) have focused on Yoani Sanchez's Generation Y and the related group blogging portal Voces Cubanas (English). At the same time, many other collective cyber-projects have appeared and attracted followings of their own. Among these, the most notable are the maturing and deepening of Havana Times, the relaunching of BloggersCuba (along with the companion site Bubusopia run jointly by Yasmin Portales and Rogelio Diaz), and the dynamic and lengthy comments section of the La Joven Cuba blog.
A number of important new individual cyber-voices and sites have also appeared in the last year to year-and-a-half, including Eduardo del Llano's blog, that of Silvio Rodriguez, Larry Press' The Internet in Cuba, Arch Ritter's The Cuban Economy, Ernesto Morales' Little Brother blog (now done from his new home in Miami), the appearance of El Sexto, as well as the not-to-miss Cafe Fuerte site, Emilio Ichikawa's blog, Tracey Eaton's vital Cuban Money Project and Vimeo sites (complementing his Along the Malecon), The Center for Democracy in the Americas Cuba Central blog with its excellent weekly news blast roundup, John McAuliff's Cuba-US People-to-People Partnership site, Estado de SATS entry into cyberspae with its own blog, and the recent redesign of the indispensable Penultimos Dias.
Finally, Ellery Biddle, Janine Mendes-Franco, and Elaine Diaz have made the Cuba page at Global Voices a source of keen observation and analysis. And the official blogosphere has also added a new voice with the addition of Iroel Sanchez's La Pupila Insomne.
Some of this activity is covered by Julia Cooke in her recent article at Guernica magazine, "Bloggers of Havana."
During the month of January, readers of El Yuma can look forward to a series of posts here where I reflect on the emergence of the Cuban blogosphere and trace the ups and downs of the "Bloggers Polemic" that ignited across Cuban cyberspace during the year.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The article, from The New York Review of Books, is provocatively entitled, "Goodbye to All That," and is a double book review of Jon Lee Anderson's authoritative Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life and a new translation of Guevara's own "on the road" classic The Motorcycle Diaries.
If my memory serves me correctly, I learned of the article first from my colleague, the anthropologist Ariana Hernández-Regaunt. H/T to her.
You can, and should, read the entire article yourself. But keep reading below for some juicy and quite timely excerpts, especially given what's afoot these days in the Cuban economy.
First, however, I give you the exquisite finale of the piece:
"The very element that gave [Guevara] his certainty and courage—his revolutionary communism—was also the element that condemned him to historical eclipse. In setting down the whole story in such a respectful but objective manner, Jon Lee Anderson has succeeded in writing, for himself and I suspect for many others, a nuanced goodbye to all that."
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
On Wednesday morning, December 21 at 10 a.m., Columbia Journalism School presents a "revolutionary" webcast, their first ever in Spanish, with Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez (@YoaniSanchez) to discuss how social media breaks down the walls of censorship in Cuba and elsewhere.
Yoani will be interviewed from Havana and talking with Prof. Mirta Ojito (@mirtaojito), author of Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus and professor and blogger Teresa Puente (@tcpuente). Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject = Cuba) or call in live! to the number: (646) 915-9583.
Tune in here tomorrow at 10 a.m. for this exciting broadcast!
Those who have read the now late Christopher Hitchens' memoir, Hitch-22, know that it contains a chapter, "Havana versus Prague," chronicling his "internationalist solidarity" visit to Cuba in 1968. He did voluntary labor at the "Cinco de Mayo" work camp and, tellingly for him, had his passport (then a British one) confiscated for "safe keeping" during his stay so that the authorities could "look after it" and, one assumes, after him too.
I summarized the chapter in a post from June 2010 when Hitchens passed through NYC to promote Hitch-22. Here's a photo from his memoir showing him posing with two other young revolutionary internationalists.
Others may remember that Hitch visited Cuba again much more recently in the fall of 2008 when he accompanied actor Sean Penn and historian Douglas Brinkley on a junket that included Chavez's Venezuela and Raul's Cuba. Penn got the scoop in Havana, being the first "reporter" to land an interview with Cuba's new leader. Hitchens shares his impressions of Chavez here. Unfortunately for us, he never met or interviewed Castro. That would have been a doozy!
I just discovered, via an article published by Miriam Leiva in Slate (Spanish), that Hitchens was also in Havana with is family during New Year's 1995-1996. In town doing a story on Cuba for Vanity Fair (the article is collected in Hitchens book Love, Poetry, and War), Hitchens paid a surprise visit to the dissidents Miriam Leiva and her husband Oscar Espinosa Chepe (pictured with me above). He even invited them back to his hotel, none other than the presidential suite of the Hotel Nacional, for a New Year's Day breakfast!
Leiva informed Hitchens that she and her husband had become "seventh-rate citizens in their own country" as a punishment for their losing the revolutionary faith. And Espinosa Chepe commented wryly to him: "If Karl Marx were Cuban, he'd be in jail or in Miami." To wit, Hitchens juxtaposes the following pair of pregnant epigraphs to kick off his chapter, "Havana v. Prague":
"Within the Revolution, everything. Outside the Revolution, nothing." - Fidel Castro
"Ex ecclesia, nulla salus." [Outside the church, no salvation.] - Thomas Aquinas
Below, Leiva movingly remembers Hitchens' visit in 1995 and the difference it made to her and her husband both at the time and in the difficult years still to come.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
The New York Times
Kim Jong-il, Leader of North Korea, Is Dead
Kim Jong-il, the reclusive dictator who kept North Korea at the edge of starvation and collapse, banished to gulags citizens deemed disloyal and turned the country into a nuclear weapons state, died Saturday, according to North Korean state news media.
Called the "Dear Leader" by his people, Mr. Kim, the son of North Korea's founder, remained an unknowable figure. Everything about him was guesswork, from the exact date and place of his birth to the cause of his death to the mythologized events of his rise in a country formed by the hasty division of the Korean Peninsula at the end of World War II.
North Koreans heard about him only as their "peerless leader" and "the great successor to the revolutionary cause." Yet he fostered what was perhaps the last personality cult in the Communist world. His portrait hangs beside that of his father, Kim Il-sung, in every North Korean household and building. Towers, banners and even rock faces across the country bear slogans praising him.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
"Los negocios y el Cuentapropismo en la Isla"
Los problemas económicos y la falta de experiencia, son solo algunas de las múltiples dificultades que afronta el cuentapropista en la isla. Hoy, con la colaboración de nuestros invitados, dentro y fuera de Cuba, trataremos de despejar muchas de las dudas y darle solución a interrogantes de cubanos que intentan encaminar sus pequeños negocios.
En esta edición, dedicada a los negocios y el cuentapropismo en la Isla, incluyendo la importancia de los medios de comunicación social para fomentar el espíritu empresarial cubano, contamos con la presencia vía Skype de experimentados empresarios cubanoamericanos en Union City, Nueva Jersey.
Desde Cuba contamos con la participación de los economistas Oscar Espinosa Chepe y Karina Gálvez, así como el cuentapropista Yosvani Anzardo.
La audiencia podrá participar mediante las redes sociales facebook.com/avanzacuba, Twitter: @avanzacuba y nuestra página web www.martinoticias.com.
Pueden comunicarse con nosotros a través del email: email@example.com o al teléfono: (305) 437-7319.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
We invented the Internet and are the leading innovator in telecom, "yet lag far behind in actual use of that technology."
"The new digital divide raises important questions about social equity in an information-driven world. But it is also a matter of protecting our economic future. Thirty years from now, African-Americans and Latinos, who are at the greatest risk of being left behind in the Internet revolution, will be more than half of our work force. If we want to be competitive in the global economy, we need to make sure every American has truly high-speed wired access to the Internet for a reasonable cost."