The "Bloggers' Polemic" is an unprecedented debate among many of Cuba’s leading bloggers themselves where they describe their own efforts to preserve their editorial independence and access to the Internet in a political context where being labeled oficialista (Cuban government propagandist) or mercenario (U.S. government mercenary) is constant.
Although this controversy starkly reveals the great differences of opinion and ideology among the protagonists of the Cuban blogosphere on the island, they are no longer so isolated, suspicious, or ignorant of one another’s points-of-view as before.
For example, see "Cuba Blogger Feifdoms / Los feudos blogueros," the most recent entry in the debate by Dariela Aquique at the increasingly valiant and vital Havana Times, which itself is a response to the interview of Miriam Celaya by another HT blogger Yusimí Rodríguez, "A Dissident by Nature / Una disidente por naturaleza."
As a result of this on-going debate, members of Cuba's various blogging "collectives" have gone on record about their common struggle to establish their legitimacy, preserve their independence, maintain their access to the Internet, and engage in a dialogue with the public, despite obstacles both foreign and domestic.
I hope that providing this list here in hypertext will make their on-going series of posts and counter-posts more widely available.
(Readers are asked to please add any links that I missed below in the comments section.)
Elaine v. Ernesto:
Blogger Elaine Díaz and exile blogger Ernesto Hernández Busto have engaged in a number of rounds of heated debate on this very subject in the past. Here is a selection of their exchanges:
- Díaz, La Polémica Digital: “La rebelión de Gasset,” May 9, 2008.
- Hernández Busto, Penúltimos Días: “El blogueo como tarea partidista,” November 17, 2009.
- Díaz, La Polémica Digital: “23 y G: Viernes 5:00 p.m.,” November 21, 2009.
- Hernández Busto, Penúltimos Días: “Lo que pasó con Reinaldo Escobar, y lo que dice que vió Elaine Díaz,” November 21, 2009.
- Hernández Busto, Penúltimos Días: “Elaine y la inmunidad,” April 1, 2010.
- Díaz, La Polémica Digital: “Blogger y punto,” May 3, 2011.
- Hernández Busto, Penúltimos Días: “Blogosfera y libre expresión, según Elaine”, May 3, 2011.
- Díaz, La Polémica Digital: “A Radio Martí, n-u-n-c-a”, May 4, 2011.
A particularly rich and revelatory exchange of posts between Díaz and Miriam Celaya took place in May and June, 2011:
- Díaz, Twitter message: “Cómo llenar de comillas un texto y no morir en el intento,” May 23.
- Díaz, comment left on Enrique Ubieta’s blog, La Isla Desconocida, May 23.
- Celaya, “La Polémica ‘Blogotal’: Una nota esclarecedora,” email message sent to Ted Henken, May 30, published at El Yuma, June 12.
Díaz and Celaya’s polemic heated up further in August 2011 with this series of posts:
- Celaya, Voces Magazine (August 1) and on the blog Sin Evasión (August 8), “Blogosfera cubana: Picaduras y escozores de la Internet en Cuba.”
- Díaz, La Polémica Digital, “Atractor extraño,” August 4.
- Celaya, Sin Evasión, “Una respuesta a los escozores de Elaine,” August 15.
- Ellery Biddle, Global Voices, “Cuba: Activists, Bloggers on the Cuba Money Project Vimeo Channel,” June 13, "Cuba: Bloggers Discuss the Internet 'Offline' on Radio Martí," November 4, "Cuba: Blogger and Scholar Ted Henken on New Media in Cuba," November 23.
- David E. Suárez, La Polémica Cubana, “La blogosphere cubaine,” June 28.
- Jeovany Jiménez Vega, Voces Magazine, “Cubanos y punto,” August 1.
- Katherina Hruskovec, "Cuba 1.5? The State of the Internet and Uses of Social Media in a Changing Cuba," Inter-American Dialogue, August 3 (with video).
- Osmany Sánchez, La Joven Cuba, “Los Amigos de Miriam Celaya,” August 11.
- Josep Calvet, La Joven Cuba, “Cuando nance la blogosfera cubana? Primeras notas,” September 4, “La blogosfera cubana (1era parte),” October 20, and "La blogosfera cubana (2da parte)," October 27.
Both on his blog, La Isla Desconocida, and in other more institutional contexts such as the newspaper Granma and in the Cuban TV series, “Las Razones de Cuba,” Ubieta has alleged that Yoani Sánchez and other alternative bloggers are in fact acting at the behest of Cuba’s foreign enemies.
He has also been a pioneer in the attempt to drive a wedge between the various groups in the emergent Cuban blogosphere by embracing and sanctifying some young bloggers as model revolutionaries (Elaine Díaz and the founders of La Joven Cuba) while demonizing others.
However, this demagogic tactic seems to have backfired at least in the short term since his baseless attacks against me and especially against the blogger Erasmo Calzadilla (of Havana Times) have only had the effect of provoking a firestorm of crticism against him and greater solidarity among autonomous bloggers and projects like those of BloggersCuba, Havana Times, and Voces Cubanas.
- See Enrique Ubieta, La Isla Desconocida, “La confesión Hanken” (sic), May 21.
- Ted Henken, El Yuma, “Ubieta responde: ‘Soy absolutamente libre, no dependo de estados extranjeros’,” May 22.
- Haroldo Dilla, Encuentro.com, “¿Qué pasaría si los blogueros oficialistas cubanos defendieran al socialismo?” May 30.
- Ubieta, La Isla Desconocida, “Los nuevos Quijotes matanceros,” June 1.
- Erasmo Calzadilla, Havana Times, “La familia de La Joven Cuba,” June 9.
- Ubieta, La Isla Desconocida, “El falso mapa de Ted Henken,” June 9.
- Calzadilla, Red Protagónica Observatorio Crítico, “Ubieta quiere dividir y no lo puede conseguir,” June 24.
- Yusimi Rodríguez, Havana Times, “Un artículo, mi colega y los abusadores,” July 2.
- Ubieta, La Isla Desconocida, “Erasmo Calzadilla y el anarco-capitalismo,” July 16.
- Santos Pérez, La Isla Desconocida, “La nueva izquierda esclarece,” July 12.
- Rafael Rojas, El País, “Cuba sin embargos,” August 21.
- Ubieta, Kaos en la red, “Quiénes son los amigos de los anarquistas cubanos (y como defienden al pueblo),” August 28.
- Calzadilla, Havana Times, “Soltemos la metralleta y conversemos Ubieta,” September 12.
- Darelia Aquique, Havana Times, “Los cubanos y el blog,” October 6.
- See Rogelio Díaz, Bubusopia, “Jóvenes con matices,” June 11.
- Yasmín Portales, Bubusopia, “De cómo Teddy y Enriquito se pelean en el ciberfango y me salpican sin yo pedirlo,” June 12.
- Rogelio Díaz, Bubospia, “Más disquisiciones alrededor de una polémica relativa a la información y la participación en una Revolución," July 17.
- Rogelio Díaz, Bubusopia, “Mas todavía sobre una polémica y unos anarquistas de los que se habla mal o donde esta el verdadero enemigo,” August 29.
- Yasmín Portales: Havana Times, “Yasmín, una multifacética activista y bloguera cubana,” August 10.
- Circles Robinson: Espacio Laical, “Un reflejo de Cuba en el ciberespacio,” No. 143, September.
- Rogelio Díaz: Havana Times, “CheHo: A Doubly Controversial Cuban Initiative,” September 13.
- Julio Tang Zambrana, “Respuestas a los consejos y diatribas de un ‘camarada’,” July 19.
- Marcelo “Liberato” Salinas, “Respuesta al Doctor Enrique Ubieta de un anarquista del Observatorio Crítico,” August 12.
For more information on the background to this bloggers’ polemic, readers should consult three key videos:
- “La ciber policía en Cuba,” February 3, 2011.
- “Ciberguerra,” March 21, 2011, in “Las Razones de Cuba.”
- “La blogosfera alternativa,” May 16, 2011, episode #5 in the “Razones Ciudadanas” video series.
- Enrique Ubieta, “Yoani Sánchez: Hija de Prisa,” originally published on January 3, 2009, on various blogs and republished by Granma Internacional, November 28, 2009.
- Haroldo Dilla, “Algo mas que un simple chancleteo,” November 8, 2009.
- Erasmo Calzadilla, Havana Times, “Insuficientes argumentos contra Yoani,” December 18, 2009.
- Yoani Sánchez, Penúltimos Dias, “Generación Y: El making of…”, January 19, 2010.