With the official defamation campaign against the San Isidro Movement
By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez
HAVANA TIMES – Surely the government’s thinktanks are pulling their hair out right now, powerless! The peaceful and authentic San Isidro Movement (MSI) are putting them in a real bind.
So, they have turned to defaming them with daily news reports, inventing links to terrorist attacks in the past or made-up ones, looking for any specific detail in their lives that can be used to undermine them.
However, at the end of the day, the only thing they are proving is just how threatened they feel when the Cuban people shake off their fear and demand their rights. But thanks to the Internet, the government’s media campaigns are having the exact opposite effect on most of the population and you can pick on this on the street. Their campaigns have been so clumsy and sneaky, that they are a real insult to the Cuban people’s intelligence.
What the MSI has managed to do is nothing that can be forgotten in a few weeks. The PCC government knows this and is afraid that this might be the beginning of an irreversible civic awakening of our people. They are afraid this might open the tap that will lead to further democratic change.
A significan moment in Cuba’s history
It’s an unprecedented political moment in Cuba’s history. Never before have a group of dissidents (in this case a movement that brings anti-government artists and writers or people living outside of the State’s control together) challenged the status quo in Cuba so strongly.
Pressuring them to sit down and talk, despite the dreadful repression they are subjected to. The difference this time is not only what has happened, because there have been other important events previously, but the fact that this is taking place within the new digital era.
The San Isidro Movement put itself on the national and international stage by demanding the right for Cubans to have rights. Their demands are rights-related. Thereby exceeding their initial objectives which led to this tense moment, although these remain intact. Namely linked to the release of one of its members -the victim of a crime fabricated by the political polic -, artistic freedom, and the appeal to close down dollar stores because they believe these to be a new economic apartheid for our people.
The Communist Party’s totalitarian government regrets we are no longer living in the second half of the 20th century. Back then, 99.9% of the information the Cuban people received was provided by them. This was done via traditional media outlets at the time, which the government continues to hold in their iron fist. Where they disseminate messages and content that suit their interests and uncomfortable truths are censored.
However, now we have the Internet, this diabolical monster in the eyes of the dictators that had to give way to it because they were being pressured by inevitable modernity. The Cuban population’s increasing access to the Internet stops them from controlling public discourse as they please. It’s a powerful tool in the hands of the opposition and civil society, as they finally have a voice. It’s a threat to the Communist Party staying in power, there’s no doubt about that.
The government’s version of reality must prevail
They don’t want opposing voices to be heard, they want to carry on imposing their own version of reality. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous for them because they rely heavily upon social control and media manipulation.
For example, right now, the lies, insults, badmouthing and conspiracy theories against dissidents and opposition members are becoming less convincing and easier to unmask.
Plus, they must invest great resources and servile professionals into readjusting their incoherent theories and counteracting everyday truths on social media. Their message is clumsy, old-fashioned and just plain dumb.