Friday, March 28, 2008

Cuba: Blocking Bloggers

Cuba: Blocking Bloggers
Cuba Published by Janine Mendes-Franco March 28th, 2008 Share This
Tags: block, bloggers, Cuba.

Want to get the Cuban blogosphere talking? Block access to a popular
blog. Ever since Cuban authorities did just that to several
less-than-supportive Havana-based blogs earlier this week, the blogging
diaspora have come out in full support of Cuban bloggers - especially
Yoani Sanchez and her popular Generacion Y blog, which, according to
this post, seems to be the principal target.
GY 2

El Diario de la Resistencia II and Cuba File quote from the Reuters story:

Sanchez, whose critical Generacion Y blog received 1.2 million hits
in February, said Cubans can no longer visit her Web page
( and two other home-grown
bloggers on the Web site on a server in Germany.

All they can see is a "error downloading" message.

The Cuban Triangle, however, in touch with friends in Cuba, reports that
"the site was blocked, then 'a slow access' was permitted." But this
"slow access" does nothing to change the opinion of El Cafe Cubano, who
compares Raul Castro's regime to apartheid:

While the media and some bloggers are praising raulita like he's
some sort of saint or the catalyst for FREEDOM. He's using the Chinese
model FOLKS! Wow computers are available now, but no one can afford them
and as you can see the internet is restricted.

Blog for Cuba adds:

What will Cubans do with all those new computers? One thing for
sure, they won't be reading Cuban blogs that voice dissent. Raul the
reformer, remains Raul the Oppressor.

Blue Star Chronicles is not at all surprised, but admits to being a
little confused:

Don't the progressives (aka communist) of our country just love the
current Cuban form of government. I keep hearing how superior it is to
ours. I keep hearing how they have a better medical care system, etc. Of
course, the people who say that are almost exclusively well-to-do latte
liberals who don't have to live under the confines of a petty dictator.
I've not seen a one of them actually move there.

Tim Worstall echoes his sentiment in this post, while
acknowledges that "it takes extreme guts for her (Sanchez) to write
about what she does. She actually has to roam about Cuba blogging from
hotels and other areas with Internet access usually reserved for
foreigners." Underscoring this point is 1Click2Cuba:

Blogging in Cuba can get you in a heap of trouble (translation:
jail), but that threat hasn't stopped hundreds of bloggers on the island
determined to get their messages out. Lately, Cuban bloggers have taken
to dressing like tourists, feigning accents and secretly using hotel
internet lines (native Cubans aren't allowed inside tourist hotels).
Once inside the hotel, Yoani Sanchez has to write fast. Not only because
she fears getting caught, but because online access is prohibitively
expensive. An hour online costs about $6, the equivalent of half of what
the average Cuban make in a month. Independent bloggers like Sanchez
have to build their sites on servers outside Cuba, and they have more
readers outside Cuba than inside.

Readership in fact extends to other Caribbean territories and Child of
the Revolution notices that "the attempt to effectively shut down the
sometimes critical blog has received wide coverage in the international
media, in outlets as diverse as The Sun Sentinel and the Left-leaning
London daily, The Guardian."

Jefferson Lives posts a thoughtful perspective on the situation, saying:

I have always found it fascinating that each country can have its
own laws regarding something that is supposed to be the World Wide Web.
Understandably it is tough to regulate something on a global scale.
However, valuable information and potential freedoms are being violated
repeatedly by restricting freedom of the press and freedom to post on a
global scale. This begs this question, in an arena without borders, is
Cuba violating essential rights for citizens in the US by restricting
this website for all to see, or just their citizens?

…while Uncommon Sense asks:

Looking for an easy way to stick it to the Cuban dictatorship?
Visit Generación Y, the most popular Cuba-based blog.

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