Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A virtual Bay of Pigs?

Esteban Israel (the same Havana-based journalist who inadvertently helped make Yoani Sanchez a household name with an early article profiling her and other bloggers back in October, 2007) just published a sharp, balanced, and quite comprehensive article on Cuba, civil society, and the Internet at Reuters, entitled, "Cuba fights latest U.S. 'invasion' -- on the Internet."

Here are a few juicy excerpts:

It is 50 years since the last U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba but the island's communist leaders believe another one has begun -- not on the shores of the Bay of Pigs as in 1961, but in the virtual world of the Internet. [...]

"Social networks have become a new weapon for civil society," blogger Claudia Caudelo told Reuters in an interview. "They don't want the social networks to spread because they are aware of the danger that poses to a totalitarian government which hides the truth from its people." [...]

"There is evidently an intention to attack Cuba through the Internet. And of course Cuba has the right to defend itself," said Manuel Henriquez 47-year-old author of the blog Cambios en Cuba ( 

"It is an old war and this is its latest expression. What these (opposition) bloggers are looking for is to demonize the country, create an image of a repression that doesn't exist and later on allows justifying laws and blockades." [...]

Cuba's government says the long-standing U.S. embargo has been the main obstacle to Internet penetration and that there are no "political obstacles" to opening up the Internet to the broader public. But they say for the time being they cannot afford to install the needed wider infrastructure. [...]

Henriquez, the pro-government blogger, says the United States is trying to export a cyber rebellion model promoted in places like Iran. "But it isn't going to work whether there is Internet or not. A Twitter message isn't itself a reason to mobilize," he said.

Cadelo, however, says it is just a matter of time. "The Internet is going to get to the people. They can't avoid that. A war against the Internet is a lost war," she said.

No comments:

Post a Comment