Cuba: Cables Reveal Government Sees B...

Cuba: Cables Reveal Government Sees Bloggers as "Most Serious Challenge"

There are 3 comments on the Global Voices Online story from Dec 28, 2010, titled Cuba: Cables Reveal Government Sees Bloggers as "Most Serious Challenge". In it, Global Voices Online reports that:

Like Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil, Cuba was one of the Latin American countries most frequently referenced in the trove of diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Global Voices Online.

The Compassionate One

Chester, NJ

#1 Dec 28, 2010
A cable sent on December 20, 2009 indicated that the Cuban government sees bloggers as “its most serious challenge” within the realm of civil society.

Another cable also described “[y]ounger individuals, including bloggers, musicians, and performing and plastic artists” as being “much better [than traditional dissidents] at taking “rebellious” stands with greater popular appeal.”

The December 2009 cable read:

The bloggers' mushrooming international popularity and their ability to stay one tech-step ahead of the authorities are causing serious headaches in the regime. The attention that the United States bestowed on XXXXXXXXXXXX, first by publicly complaining when she was detained and roughed up and later by having the President respond to her questions, further fanned the fears that the blogger problem had gotten out of control.

The name redacted here unquestionably belongs to renowned Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez, who was abducted and beaten in November of 2009 and conducted an email interview with US President Barack Obama shortly thereafter. In September of 2009, a USINT cable described a meeting between Sánchez and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bisa Williams in Havana, in which Sánchez told Williams that “[a]n improvement in relations with the United States is absolutely necessary for democracy to emerge [in Cuba.]”

Collectively, these and other cables suggest that for USINT, certain bloggers may come to represent a “next generation” of government critics and activists that the US government will likely seek to support, if it is not doing so already.

Rogelio M. Díaz at Bubusopía [es] wrote that he was glad that the US had recognized that Cuba’s future lies in the hands of Cuban youth, and not that of the “old guard” dissident community.

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The Compassionate One

Chester, NJ

#2 Dec 28, 2010
Es] cierto que no nos sentimos para nada identificados con los fósiles de la contrarrevolución, los que venden al país por treinta monedas…[mientras] siguen apoyando el bloqueo…

[It’s] true that we do not at all identify with the fossils of the counterrevolution, those that are willing to sell their country for thirty coins…[who at the same time] continue to support the blockade…
But he was wary of the cables’ inference that bloggers could somehow replace, or serve the same purpose (however futile) as, traditional dissidents.

Jóvenes como yo, entonces, preferimos como ídolos…aquellos que…repelieron la vileza mercenaria con las armas en la mano…[y] continuaron trabajando y luchando con sus manos, su intelecto y su amor por construir un futuro mejor…

Young people like myself, then, prefer as idols…those who…fought off mercenary turpitude with arms in hand…[and] continued working and fighting with their hands, their intellect, and their love to construct a better future…
It is important to understand that these cables refer only to bloggers who are critical of the Castro government; the island’s very small independent blogging community represents a wide range of political positions, many of which support Cuban socialism and hope for positive change that will face challenges and strengthen the system as it stands. Blogs like Bubusopía represent an important part of this community. If they are truly interested in understanding the “conscience of Cuba,” it would behoove USINT officials to read all of these blogs in earnest, and to incorporate the significant diversity of opinions that they represent into their diplomatic discussions.

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The Compassionate One

Chester, NJ

#3 Dec 28, 2010
[1] A historically controversial institution, USINT is seen by most as a center for information gathering, and as a source of (unauthorized) support for dissidents, and of pro-US propaganda dissemination.
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