Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blogacción

The Miami Herald reports that bloggers in Cuba are beginning to get noticed.

Cuba’s blogosphere is tiny for an island of 11.5 million people. About 200 blogs have official approval and 100 don’t, among them dissident journalists and human rights activists, according to a recent report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

But about 15 bloggers have captured widespread attention at home and abroad — sometimes becoming better known than political dissidents — with posts that challenge the government and break its monopoly on information entering and leaving the island.

While human rights activists report ”the sufferings on the island, which are indeed tragic,” said Henken, the usually younger bloggers tend to use more humor and nonpolitical language to connect with young Cubans and foreigners.

”They appeal to a new generation that speaks their language, the language of social networks” like blogs and Facebook, he added. ”They appeal to people like my students, who have no politics.”

Escobar said some of the bloggers — sometimes called alternative bloggers to differentiate them from government-approved and dissident writers — have now decided ”their purpose is not just to be on the Web but to express their individual will to come together in a place, on an issue.”

It can also be dangerous. Yoani Sánchez, one of Cuba’s best-known bloggers, got the shit kicked out of her and some compatriots last week by state security thugs as they were on their way to a peaceful march in Havana. But as the Herald article notes, the Cuban government is way behind the curve in attempting to control the internet, and as anyone with any knowledge of technology can tell you, there is very little that the authorities can come up with that can’t be hacked, and if people truly want it — even if it’s LOLcats — they will find a way to get it.