Why is the Cuban Gov. against Ravsberg and his Blog?

Vicente Morin Aguado

Fernando Ravsberg

HAVANA TIMES — We are witnessing an unprecedented event in the history of the Revolution: a public collection has been summoned under the title “Let’s save Cartas desde Cuba!”, so as to save a personal blog which has been very successful, created by Uruguayan journalist Fernando Ravsberg, who has been living in Havana for the past 28 years.

The abovementioned correspondent has been complaining about not receiving an affirmative response to several requests for new accreditation to work in the country. Having lost his job as a foreign correspondent, his personal income has disappeared which was what he used to finance the controversial website, a news website which was completely dedicated to Cuban issues, taking a different approach to those issued by the government in its propaganda machine.

Why is the Cuban government against Ravsberg and his “Cartas”? The figures speak for themselves:

1- A week ago, internet servers confirmed over 300,000 requests to visit the website per day. “These are a lot of visits. They are using nearly 7 GB of transferrable data in a 24-hour period,” researchers specified.

2- Some articles provoke a hundred comments easily, many of which exceed themselves in critical wit and political questions directed at the authors themselves.

3- Nearly all of the blog’s readers are Cubans, both residents on the island as well as the large diaspora community. If “Generation Y” put Cuba on the online map, “Cartas desde Cuba” has managed to capture the attention of many of Yoani Sanchez’s fellow countrymen, who is also a talented journalist but is hardly read in her own country.

4- People’s commitment to the website is such that after just 4 days of posting the collection (February 12th this year), 912 euros were collected via Crowdfunding, along with an unspecified sum of national pesos, which was deposited in a Havana bank account.

This public collection challenges the unwritten rules of our country’s political power. Citizens have never been called upon in the past (and they have never responded favorably) to save a personal, private media platform, in a field which has been jealously protected by the State/Party’s monopoly in this sector.

The harassment this journalist has had to suffer should come as no surprise, which everyday readers, as well as intellectuals with respected curricula, living in Cuba can testify to:

Singer/songwriter Silvio Rodriguez offered the Uruguayan some pages on his “Segunda Cita” Blog. Aurelio Alonso, philosopher and critic, leader of the alternative CubaSi group, wrote: “I don’t think we can be quiet in the face of this scandal which aims to finish off a long cycle of institutional badgering against Fernando Ravsberg.”

The journalist himself wrote:  “Over these past 10 years, they have tried to tame me with kind words of advice, hidden threats, with breaking my teeth,  demanding that I be expelled from the country, and “warnings” directed at my children. None of this has worked until now, but removing my foreign media credentials has allowed them to give Cartas a coup de grace.”

Without disregarding the truth, any half-told story will end up becoming apologetic or a diatribe.

Even though Cartas desde Cuba is a media platform which falls outside of the PCC’s regulations, opposition to the government is divided when it comes to Ravsberg’s more or less radical stance as a journalist, including his behavior as a professional in the face of repression around him.

His colleagues join them, who are normally well-known figures and critics of Cuba’s authoritarianism in force, but tolerated at the end of the day, working in Cuba while others can’t because of the political machine.

This is conveyed in the following comment taken from February 13th, from Cartas de Cuba to be exact:

“Mr. Fernando, I am Leonardo Mesa, an Independent Journalist, Lawyer, professional in the media and I suffer all of these restrictions and more on a daily basis. In order to work, I think about the fact that you have been allowed in certain spaces, but my work hasn’t. However, I still get on with it and carry on.”

In fact, the Uruguayan and his blog have kept quiet about the many injustices that reporting on would cross the so-called “red line” drawn by the dictatorship for those who create alternative journalism with a certain “peace of mind” in our country.

They can join other adverse critiques to the harassed foreign correspondent, but all you need is the proven attempt to lynch him legally in order to support the daring effort he is leading today with more or less success.

Readers remain, thousands of hopeful Cubans who embrace what they believe to be a possible cause between fear and frustration that reign today:

“Even though I never comment, they are a rich source of arguments which help me to feel more prepared and strong when it comes to my beloved country’s reality. Ordinary Cubans have vast intelligence and an immense ability to analyze situations in a simple but enriching way.” (A reader, February 12th this year)

Vicente Morin Aguado: [email protected]

28 thoughts on “Why is the Cuban Gov. against Ravsberg and his Blog?

  • June 25, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Repatriado amigo mio,
    I appreciate and understand your points of view (and your diplomatic response!).
    I know a lot of Cubans who would agree with you and many who don’t.
    Whatever path Cuba takes, it will not be for me to decide. And as I have said, I wish you luck and wish for a peaceful way forward.
    Respeto a tu Abuelo. Que no tire a nadie !!!!!

  • June 25, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    My opinion repatriado is quite simple. I am in favour of Cubans having the opportunity to decide their own future rather than being controlled by dictatorship.
    Nick repeats time and time again that my views are simply the division between good and evil. That is because he is endeavoring to paint me into a corner. It doesn’t work, because as a believer in freedom and democracy I respect the views of others and as I have said previously, I have friends of different democratic persuasions.
    However, where Nick is correct is that I view communism as evil 19th century antiquated thinking. I have a degree of contempt for those who insidiously support the repression of others under communist dictatorship whilst posing as being equitable and balanced in their view.
    I have the good fortune to be married to a wonderful Cuban, and as you know, my home is in Cuba.
    But, as I have previously commented, every time I am with my beautiful God-daughter aged seven which is daily when I am in Cuba, I pray that she may within her life have the freedoms that I have known as one born in a capitalist country.
    To quote yet again from the introduction of my own book:

    “The author believes that another Cuban revolution was almost inevitable and necessary during the 1950’s in Cuba which was then controlled by the Batista dictatorship which had achieved power in a coup and which operated in cahoots with the US Mafia under the leadership of Meyer Lansky. It is his view that had Fidel Castro remained true to his supposedly original views – in 1952 he was a candidate for the Orthodox Party until the election was cancelled by Batista and if he had in 1959 following a period of military rule necessary to establish stable administration, law and order, held open free elections, the Cuba of today would be very different and Fidel Castro like Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela would have earned a similarly honoured place in world history for freeing his people and introducing real democracy. But, Fidel Castro in his craving for control and personal power chose otherwise, he chose communism and dictatorship.”

    Although you repatriado and I differ in our political party view, we share a desire for democracy in Cuba and for the people of Cuba to be able to control their own lives and destiny.
    It is my view that Fidel was being his usual crafty self when he wrote in ‘Granma’ that to him, communism and socialism were the same thing. and then called his communism “socialismo”. The communism of Stalin and the socialism of Keir Hardie are a long way apart. Castro believed in communist dictatorship, Hardie in democratic socialism.
    Nick will pour scorn upon my mentioning figures from the political past (which now includes Fidel) – as he has already done, but that is because he obviously does not recognize that past experiences and knowledge of them are critical factors in political analysis. The world did not arrive yesterday.

  • June 25, 2018 at 10:37 am


  • June 25, 2018 at 9:45 am

    My friend, in that scenario, what you have to do is invite them to ice cream for breakfast

    I don´t believe that man be a liar, a fool or evil, I just believe he is mistaken and with respect I try to put my opinion, if it is accepted we can talk about it, if it is not, we can talk about baseball, or I can listen respectfully, and in my case with great placer, his old histories.
    I don´t think it is wrong to judge, in fact is hard not to judge constantly everything and everybody about many aspects, the problem is when you believe that your judgement is the final one and that you see better or deeper than the rest.

    I know you don´t think that, me neither.

    My grandfather love me, but he is perfectly capable of shooting in my head if he would know how I think about this revolution, he is not a fool, lees a liar and he is very far from evil.

    We come from a very poor family from east Cuba, from the mountains, for him revolution is everything.

    Reading you and reading Carlyle I have come to a conclusion, right now I support 100% Carlyle point of view, this oppressive system is immoral, damaging and bad for Cubans, it has to go in order we can have a chance to improve. Once that happens, I think the policies to carry on that I will support are more close to your socialist point of view that to Carlyle´s.

    I am pro empowering people removing power from governments, but I am also very pro social policies looking for equality and policies that support people that are in a bad situation so they have lack of possibilities to contest in a laissez faire environment, I believe government has an important social role as a guardian, but not as an active part of people lifes.

    I would like to know Carlyle’s opinion about it

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