Saturday, October 31, 2009

Internet: Out of Cuba

The first sight you get when you make a search in Google about Cuba is hundreds and hundreds of web pages written and published from Cuba. There are newspapers, Cuban magazines, web sites dedicated to cultural institutions like “Casa de las Americas”, or pages marketing tourism, Cuba’s airline tickets, even Cuban products and services. And you wonder how is possible the government uses internet and the average Cuban doesn’t have a single connection to the world net.

In any civilized nation, the first internet customers are the locals. How could you manage a local edition of a newspaper where the locals don’t have the opportunity to reach that edition?

Another interesting question: How could you support democracy in a place where locals are not count on any decision making and internet is only a facelift for the outsiders?

But the problem is not only from the side of the access to the information; there is the other side of the story. Nowadays internet is not only a vehicle to get information, but to share it, share opinions and move individuals and groups around social and political issues.

Thanks to internet the world knew the protests against the new Iranian government. Thanks to internet Obama step up the American presidency. Thanks to internet people are interconnected, interchange messages and pictures, date and make a living from their premises at home. Today, internet holds more power than the usual media.

Those who kidnapped the power in Cuba understood the real meaning of the web map, but they don’t want to share that power. They want to reshape Cuba, create an image twisted to their interests and wishes drawing an artificial web face for Cuba.

It remembers me 1984 by George Orwell and his famous epitome: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

In the Cuban present, the government controls all the access, the information and the sites, and never ever is willing to give up any corner to dissidence or parallel opinion. Cubans can’t create blogs in the inexistent inner blogosphere, they have to cross the border and settle their few blogs outside Cuba. They are not welcome to any public event where the topic is discussed or slightly touched. And they have to make miracles to support their web pages around the word.

Cuba is more colourful in tones, opinions and ideology than the official web face the world knows through its sites.

For the Cubans, internet is out not in.