El Caso Mariela Castro

If concepts such as ‘sick’ have now been banished from the study of homosexuality, why does the adjective ‘counterrevolutionary’ continue to be used for those who think differently

A case which illustrates many of the frustrations of internal dialogue between those freer thinkers emerging in the Cuban blogosphere and the official voices of the cuban state.

It started with a question to Mariela Castro (daughter of Raul) in a conference on sexuality at the Museo de Bellas Artes:

Yoani: Me gustaría preguntar si toda esta campaña, esta lucha que se está haciendo, de alguna manera, desde la sociedad misma para aceptar la preferencia sexual, podrá en algún momento pasar a otros roles y se luchará también por la tolerancia a otros aspectos como pueden ser la opinión, como pueden ser las preferencias políticas e ideológicas. ¿Saldremos también de esos armarios?

It led to a reply by Mariela Castro on the official site of CENESEX which in turn led to replies On Generacion Y and Desde Aqui. Penulimos Dias comments. Sin EVAsion reacts to the claim of ‘scientific social science’:

Por mi parte, trabajé por más de 20 años en un instituto de ciencias sociales de este país y me consta que en la mayoría de los casos las investigaciones que ponen al desnudo los profundos conflictos sociales de esta nación jamás son publicadas.

Yoani makes further comments in a telephone interview with cubaencuentro.

The case is another example of the frustrations of a state apparatus at losing control of the reproduction and dissemination of information. The Cuban state abhores the free flow of information and has expended vast amounts of energy since the early 1960s to prevent it. Not only has it fended off information arriving from the ‘West’ in print and film (from the banning of ‘Animal Farm to the scambling of TV satellite broadcasts) and from the Soviet press in 1989 (see Perez, 2008: 122), it has also tightly controlled the means of reproduction and dissemination through restrictions on the purchase and use of video and dvd recorders, radio transmitters, printers, computers, the internet and satellite receivers.

Whilst the struggle to control information flow was easier when that information was in analogue form, in a digitial age it is proving far harder. The ways in which the posts on Generacion Y are syndicated and aggregated ensures their reproduction and distribution limited only by the interest they generate.

Ironically, Mariela Castro is simply stoking the fires of syndication in fighting a rearguard action to regulate the flow of information and hence debate. Fidel did the same in his attempt to shout-down Yoanni is his prologue. It’s like peer-to-peer against a struggling central control … the centre is kicking because regulation simply isn’t working.