HAVANA TIMES — Last month, writers for the blog La Joven Cuba (Young Cuba) organized an event titled “Encuentro de blogueros cubanos en Revolucion” (Meeting of Cuban Bloggers of the Revolution). According to the initial statement, their “intent” was to bring together people from around the country who maintain personal spaces on the Internet.
Convened from the University of Matanzas, it was expected that a conference would be held consisting of workshops and panel discussions on topics related to the Cuban blogosphere. Ironically, the slogan of the announcement read, “Finding ways to complement each other without imposing a single line or frameworks that the participants must follow.”
They created a special Twitter account (@ BlogazoxCuba), a YouTube channel with the same name and a Facebook event page named “Encuentro de Blogueros Cubanos en Revolucion.”
The organizing committee explained the event saying: “We Cuban bloggers dreamed of having a national meeting and that it be as inclusive as possible,” though only 50 people could attend.
These individuals were selected according to criteria such as:
– Having a blog that is updated regularly
– Dealing with a diversity of topics
– Having representation from all provinces
However, from the outset they forgot to indicate the level of commitment (unconditional) to the officialdom that people had to have.
The meeting was attended young university bloggers who, while not enjoying the media attention of some others, do come up with interesting writings and do them justice. From CENESEX came Mariela Castro, as well as religious believers who are members of the Martin Luther King Center NGO, and others.
At the end of the meeting, in the wake of the wave of criticism they received, they drafted a string of justifications, starting with the lack of resources and ending with stale excuses such as “(…) those complaining are not being sufficiently fair and (…) the blogosphere is a space for horizontal participation in the Cuban political mission.”
Some of the voices of well-known blogs in Cuba, such as Elaine Diaz, refused to attend because they considered it an “exclusive” gathering. Elaine asked why there was no representation from the Critical Observatory or Havana Times, for example, websites considered to be left.
The answer is very simple: The meeting was made up of Cuban bloggers of the revolution (their revolution). If someone’s sense of revolution didn’t align with the canons of their revolution, they weren’t considered a blogger that met the requirements to attend the anemic and preconceived event. Far from promoting discussion and reflection, this gathering was more like the Cuban TV news/commentary program La Mesa Redonda (The Round Table) – where everyone agrees on everything and says the same things.
I don’t think that any Cuban blogger with even a little common sense would be interested in participating in such “gatherings,” where no one is challenged, but instead fine-tuned.
From the name of the event itself certain suspicions were aroused, as people were made to mimic Fidel’s well-known message to intellectuals: “Within the revolution, everything; outside the revolution, nothing…”