Last Friday morning I happened to be riding in a car where the driver was listening to “Making Radio”, the morning program of a national Cuban radio station. The program’s commentator had selected the theme of the Internet for his broadcasting message.
He was saying that despite all the hype received by that cybernetic network of networks as a supposedly democratic space for free expression, there are significant topics that the net distorts. At times, even the system’s technical interface impedes access to real information.
He gave several example related to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Afterwards, he concentrated on the Cuban case. In making his point, he stated the following: “If one types ‘Cuba’ in the Google search engine, the first things that come up are not the news from the island itself but articles from rightist newspapers or from bloggers.”
And then he clarified: “Bloggers – writers who write on the Internet to attack the revolution.”
I suddenly felt a mild sensation of shock. I’ve never heard a more distorted definition of the term blogger.
To the best of my knowledge, in Cuba there are bloggers from all the political tendencies: for and against the government; for and against the revolution; as well as some who I imagine don’t give two cents for politics.
I ask myself: what will be the effect of this definition offered by the commentator on those who don’t have access to the Internet. Such people, unfortunately, still represent the majority of Cubans.
Those who can’t themselves read any blogs will believe that bloggers are nothing more than despicable and divisive persons who dream of nothing better than to take away their homes, free health care and education.
All this despite the fact that the blogs usually judged as contra-revolutionary are in general not accessible from Cuba. On the other hand, official organizations such as the Journalists’ Union (UPEC) have promoted among their membership the idea that they should start their own blogs to proclaim to the world the truth about Cuba. But if there isn’t any access to the Internet, by definition, neither these blogs nor the other blogs will be seen on the island.
I wonder if the radio commentator had a harmful and provocative intention in defining all bloggers as “contras” or if he simply was mistaken in his excess of militant zeal. Either way, I felt his message to be hurtful and distorted.
It’s a shame.