Opposition to bloggers meeting

Generacion Y which just a few days ago won the Best of Blogs award for best weblog of 2008 reports on being reprimanded for planning a meeting of bloggers in Havana due to take place on Saturday 6th September. Here’s what she said of the ‘event’:

The subject I expected: we are approaching the date of the blogger meetup we have been organizing, with neither secrecy nor publicity, for the past six months and which they proclaim must be cancelled. About a half hour later, when we were away from uniforms and photos of leaders on the walls, we tried to reconstruct what was said.

“We want to advise you that you have transgressed the limits of tolerance in your closeness and contact with elements of the counterrevolution. This disqualifies you totally to conduct dialogue with Cuban authorities.

The activity scheduled for the next few days cannot take place.

We, for our part, will take all measures and will lodge the pertinent charges and take the necessary actions. This event- in these moments which the nation is living, recuperating from two hurricanes- will not be permitted.”

(translation of Sánchez’ post by Babalú blog)

Claudia Cadel was also hauled into the police station and reports on it in her blog Octavo Cerco.

The meeting of cuban bloggers organised by Sanchez and Reinaldo Escobar is very different to that organised by Bloggers por cuenta propria which took place in September. That initiative has now spurned an updated ‘portal’ for bloggers in Cuba, http://www.bloggerscuba.com/. Penultimo Dias reported on the initial meeting skeptically, suggesting that this group of apolitical/moderate bloggers was likely coopted by the government in a now classic move to neutralise discontent – a move well documented in Sujatha Fernandez’ Cuba Represent! Interestingly, the new portal positions itself in relation both to Sanchez and the Anti-Castro blogosphere:

Today there are more than 700 blogs about Cuba – more than 95% of them written and published off the island. These blogs are frequently very political and start from an anti-Castro position. The blog by Yoani Sanchez, written from the island is in my opinion too political to be honest, notwithstanding the recognition she has received.

On the other side readers have on had one resource from the island up til now: the national Cuban press whose main publication are Granma (Órgano oficial del Partido Comunista) and Juventud Rebelde.

Bloggers Cuba provides a more moderate vision of cuba maintaining critique but avoiding fanaticism of either side of the political spectrum. All its contributing authors are cuban, apart from myself, and the articles published in Spanish. (My translation)

I’m wondering what the access points to the portal are. It’s a multi-authored blog so who gets to play? What role does David Chapet, of box-net (facilitating the sending/receiving of remittances to Cuba) have? Interesting to see how it plays out.

So, there seems to be now visible three blogospheres from the island – and they’ve emerged really quickly.

  1. Generacion Y and a now more ‘rigorous’ blogroll around it and desdecuba.com. Seems like Yoanni is drawing some lines around blogs from Cuba on her blogroll.
  2. Bloggers Cuba which may be a UJC-coopted organ for the integration of dissent
  3. Havana Times’ 9 bloggers on its own portal edited by card-carrying journalist Circles Robinson