Be strong and courageous and connect us at once! / Eliécer Ávila
Eliécer Ávila, Translator: Unstated
Attentive and engaged, and all ages, participants at the independent
CLIC Festival held in Havana in June 2012
Just being in Cuba and within this struggle for the right to exist,
makes you realize how difficult it is to organize a participate and
plural event such as the recent CLICK Festival.
Here is it virtually impossible to do anything without the support of
the State institutions; now imagine doing it with the entire repressive
apparatus of the State working overtime to disrupt and block the
planning of the event.
In this context, the most insignificant detail is complicated and
becomes a real odyssey. Which is why I admire and congratulate the
organizers who took on this challenge and accomplished it, with
intelligence and a great deal of work.
In my case, I had the honor of being invited to join the opening panel
on Twitter, with Yoani Sánchez, Rebeca Monzó and Félix Lleonart.
With the constant rain I had my doubts that many people would be able to
get to the site of Estado de Sats, but what happened dispelled my fears.
When we started there audience exceeded the available chairs and some
found a seat in the corners on the floor while others stood in the
hallway to listen.
We panelists talked about the essentials. Cubans are tired of hearing
long speeches and what they need is to speak and be heard.
The debate was rich, people spoke with the assurance of those who do not
feel threatened, who do not stifle their opinions for fear of losing
their livelihood. This is a marked difference from what happens in any
official event in Cuba, where you are only invited if you have shown a
reverent attitude toward the government and complete lack of sympathy
for those who question its decisions.
This is why all the meetings that take place independent of the State
are so interesting. You never know what people are going to say, nor is
anyone worried about it. We are not going to hear elegies, nor will we
be thanked for no reason. We are not on a platform above the audience.
We don't take the names of those who criticize us. No one is careful to
prevent our hearing harsh words. No one separates us from the people and
I am quite sure that these spaces are the embryos of Cuban democracy,
which will come because history is unforgiving and advances relentlessly
beyond any human whim.
People, like forests, grow towards the light.
Parallel to the CLICK Festival, the Government organized an opposing
festival using their Young People's Clubs as sites.
According to a laugh-inducing report broadcast on official television
news, "There was talk of responsible use of social networking, the
social priority that the Cuban State gives to the network was explained,
and the public were offered options such as navigation and copying of
digital books." So far everything was more or less acceptable, but then
came a worker in a Young People's Club speaking complete nonsense:
"Internet is very important but we all know that the U.S. does not allow
us to connect, its not that we don't want to, the cable does not touch
us, the blockade, etc … "
It seems that this man knew nothing of the famous project of the cable
to Venezuela and all of the nonsense that revolves around it. Or he's a
It is important that the world realizes how the Cuban government tries
to handle modern concepts and holds events about issues and options that
the great majority of people know nothing about, much less can they use
them fully and freely, as is truly needed.
They must be totally unserious to play at this game. And some even come
from other countries to contribute to this theatrical pantomime which
does absolutely nothing for is.
First we must demand the massive connection to the Internet promised,
and in which millions has been invested. And then, from the actual
Internet, that we can talk about whatever we want.
At the CLICK Festival — the real one, not the invented one — it became
clear that the Internet has a real impact on our lives, on the economy,
and in all the spheres of society, and that there must be Internet
access in homes, all the time and with unlimited access.
The inventions of the State to "control" information flows and, thus,
the people, are abusive, unnecessary, inefficient and boring mechanisms
that have no reason to exist in a decent and free society, where the
leaders have nothing to hide from the people, nor do they base their
hold on power in the ignorance of the masses.
Internet would be a good topic for a presidential campaign, so badly
needed in Cuba. Any candidate who didn't emerge from the closed,
hermitic and mysterious little power group of the Cuban Communist Party
(PC), would, immediately upon being elected, order the immediate
implementation of a full public connection.
It is very clear that the Government, regardless of what it says, fears
the Internet, fears allowing Cubans to communicate among themselves and
with the rest of the world. It fears dropping the mask and the make-up
of the media that transmit 24/7 at its service.
And if this is not the case, make me look ridiculous and show me that
I'm wrong. Be strong and courageous and connect us at once!
From Diario de Cuba
27 June 2012