Circles Robinson, editor
HAVANA TIMES — It seems that within a line of attack against other Cuban bloggers and audivisual projects, it is becoming fashionable to include slander against Havana Times.
For people who don’t know us, HT is a digital publication for discussion and analysis concerning Cuban life. It is formed from the wide-ranging viewpoints of its columnists and contributors, as well as from readers’ comments, which are also diverse.
True to this principle of pluralistic inclusion — and although the editor of Havana Times does not have any personal relationships with the Estado de Sats team — our site did publish an interview with its founder and several articles that mentioned of its meetings. In addition, one of our collaborators interviewed Yoani Sanchez, and on another occasion we published a second interview with that blogger.
We are of the conviction that only by giving space to a diverse spectrum of voices is it possible to have a full view of the complex reality, which is a position in accordance with the paradigms of professional journalism. This is why HT distances itself from those (be they supposed official leaders or those of the opposition) who try to kidnap the “truth,” monopolizing it for their own benefit.
Therefore, we will continue announcing and covering the activities of the Estado de Sats as well as other media, autonomous projects and other governmental and non-governmental institutions and organizations, as is the desire of the contributors to HT.
At the same time, we will continue to allow for various comments and criticisms of those articles in the spaces provided after each of them.
Returning to the article by Alvarado Godoy, in the blog of an HT contributor there appears the essay “Appeal Against Censorship in Cuba,” in which the author presents his opinion on that subject. At the end he includes a public letter and a list of signatures of people who reject the practice of censorship in Cuba.
At the same time, it should be clarified that HT did not draft the petition or distribute it for signatures, though many of this website’s members and collaborators may have sympathized with the idea that censorship covering the media in Cuba should be lifted.
Another “toxic” point among these spurious rumors is the attempt to tie HT to the US Interests Section office in Havana (USIS).
I do admit that in 2003 I entered the USIS. This, though, was through its front door as a US citizen in order to renew my passport, since the Cuban government (my employer between 2002 and 2009) requires its foreign technicians to keep their documents updated.
As to other relations with the US, I confess to the accusation that I was born in the US — as if this were a crime — though this was no obstacle to my working for the Cuban government for 7 ½ years or to my being a voting delegate at the last congress of the Union of Journalists of Cuba (UPEC), in July 2008.
As for HT’s relationship with the Cuban authorities, we should note that Havana Times began as a project endorsed by UPEC president Tubal Paez, who — during the official introduction of the site at the UPEC headquarters in December 2008 — publicly offered his “support” for the project.
The main roots of HT go back to my active presence in the annual UPEC Press Festivals and in that organization’s congress, where journalists critically discussed the problems of the profession and the quality of information produced and disseminated to national and foreign readers.
Concerning the financing of the website, I have reiterated on various occasions that HT is self-funded by me with personal and family contributions. My hope was, and is, that one day HT could be a small non-commercial effort with its headquarters in Havana, like it was during its initial nine months of existence.
In short: the online magazine Havana Times is a wide-ranging publication open to various opinions about Cuban reality and to the frank discussion of proposals for the present and the future of the nation and the world.
It is made up of people possessing their own diverse opinions. We respect the opinions of others and do not seek to impose on others some monolithic line, which is a position difficult to understand for those accustomed to the media polarization on the issue of Cuba.
In the end, it’s worth remembering that wise phrase from of Don Quixote when he said to his faithful squire: “Let the dogs bark, Sancho. It’s a sign we’re on track!”