Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cuba's disconnect

Posted on Saturday, 10.31.09
Cuba's disconnect

Below are two excerpts from Yoani Sánchez's award-winning Generation Y
blog,, which is put together by friends in
Europe from information she sends surreptitiously from Cuba:

On battles to get a Cuban web address:

How I wish Generation Y could have one of the ``.cu'' domains indicating
its origin within this country. I would give my mouse and half another
one to go to a [Cuban government] office and say, ``Please, Miss, I have
come to have my blog hosted on a server within this island.''

But that possibility is forbidden to Cubans, because here the state is
not only the sole owner of all the factories, schools, stores and
garbage cans, but also the absolute master of the cyberspace parcel
where we belong.

Only official institutions can have one of the web addresses that point
to this ``island of the disconnected.''

The same political filter that determines if a person can travel, buy a
car or graduate from a university, works when a national URL is
acquired. Hence, to own a domestic site is more a sign of submission
than of national bona fides, an unmistakable clue announcing that the
state is behind certain publications.

So I prefer to count myself among the group of the ``undocumented on the
web,'' those of us who have managed to construct a hiding place far from
those rigid taskmasters.

I had wanted to develop this thesis of our indigence as netsurfers at
the Palace of Conventions, during the XIII Latin American Meeting of
Faculties of Social Communication event. The meeting had that air of
debate that surfaces when foreigners are invited. However, it excluded
those who -- in our own backyard -- have different opinions.

A paper presented from Brazil titled, ``Generation Y and Cyberspace
Nomadism: Reflections on Ways of Thinking in the Digital Era,'' by the
academics Angela Schaun and Leonel Aguiar, was read by their colleague
José Mauricio Conrado Moreira da Silva.

An esteemed university professor criticized the speaker, reminding him
that GY [web site] is located outside Cuba.

What he did not say, because the omission is the wrapping that encloses
the lie, is that only in this way can it exist, only from afar can a
citizen have her own space for opinions.

As a fugitive with a taste of the virtual mountain, I cannot now return
to the stocks, whips and shackles.

One day my blog will be found on a server on this island and, believe
me, it will not be because it has performed an ideological pirouette.

On keeping a happy face

Just today I am inebriated with satisfaction because a compilation of my
texts titled, ``De Cuba, com carinho,'' From Cuba with Love, will be
launched in Brazil. Mindful of the three hour time difference that
separates me from Rio de Janeiro, I will celebrate at 5:00 p.m. [this
past Thursday] the beautiful edition of my posts in Portuguese.

I will show my teeth from several yards distance, not only because they
are large with gaps, but because of the permanent laugh I wear on my
face. A corrosive laugh that the grim faces of those who have prevented
me from going there cannot understand; a stab of delight that cuts and
pierces those who don't know how to handle the unexpected joy of the

Cuba's disconnect - Other Views - (31 October 2009)

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