Cuban bloggers test government limits

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The BBC reports that Cuba’s blogging community “has recently been testing the limits of free expression with posts ranging from vivid accounts of everyday life to sometimes risky calls for political change in the Communist-run state.” The article offers a detailed analysis of the impact their work is having in Cuba and abroad. Here are some excerpts, with a link to the article below.

The New-York based media watchdog Commitee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in a report published in mid-September welcomed the “surprisingly vibrant blogosphere” that has recently sprung to life in Cuba.

“The bloggers, mainly young adults from a variety of professions, have opened a new space for free expression, while offering a fresh glimmer of hope for the rebirth of independent ideas in the country’s closed system,” the CPJ said.

Manuel Vazquez Portal, a Cuba-based award-winning journalist and dissident, says he can see a “strong connection and notable differences” between the independent press movement of his generation and the new blogging community.

“The emerging Cuban blogosphere has established itself as distinct from both the government and the dissident movement,” Mr Portal told CPJ.

The emergence of independent bloggers is “evidence of a generation shift, a sign that even a country as isolated as Cuba is slowly moving into the 21st Century,” Daniel Erikson, an expert at the Washington-based organisation Inter-American Dialogue said recently on US-based thedialogue.org.

Laritza Diversent, a lawyer from Havana, says she and her fellow bloggers were part of the post-revolutionary youth.

“We were brought up after the fall of Soviet socialism, a generation that is unbound by the political considerations of the past. For us, blogging is saying and writing what we think,” she has said in her blog, which is written in Spanish, Las Leyes de Laritza (Laritza’s Laws) .

Only about 2.1% of Cubans have regular access to the global internet and 11.5% to the Cuban intranet, according to the Washington-based democracy and human rights organisation Freedom House.

“Bloggers can go online at government-owned internet cafes, at universities and hotels,” it says.

In recent weeks, the Cuban authorities have authorised the Post Office to install internet connections in its branches, BBC Mundo’s Havana correspondent Fernando Ravsberg reports.

The cost of accessing the internet remains high for the majority of Cubans, he adds.

For the complete report go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8295503.stm

Blog cartoon above from http://www.mochadad.com/blogroll/

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