Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dissidents vs Bloggers

Today is one of those occasions when Cuban dissidents made some headlines in a few news channels, specifically CNN. The worldwide broadcaster showed a timid chronicle about some dissidents in Havana holding a hunger strike in protest. According to CNN, Lazaro Yuri Valle Roca, in a telephone interview said: “We are demanding our rights as Cubans”.marta-vladimiro roca

It is pretty rare to find any reference about very well known dissidents in news channels like CNN, usually more leaned to credit bloggers like Yoani Sanchez. Bloggers are a more recent phenomenon and some of them had reached special prominence in web sites and worldwide broadcasters, may be for the impact of internet nowadays, or because internet is a handy tool to reach locals in a more casual way without compromise news personal accredited in places like Cuba.

In the other hand, Cuban bloggers are a new source of headaches to Cubans officials who don’t know yet how to confront that problem in a country where dissidence and civil society is almost unknown.

Obviously, civil dissidence is well known for the Castro regime, and they have their repressive engine well oiled to confront them. It is happening right now with those who are holed up. Usually Cuban authorities set up a perimeter from the place and never allow anyone to approach, especially reporters and news crew.

In addition, Castro had used in the past, and even in this case, crowds of government-supported demonstrators to humiliate, shout revolutionary consigns and even attack them. It is the usual way Castro confront dissidents. It happened in the past with standoffs, it is happening now.

In the case of bloggers, the authorities are lacking in new initiatives because actually a blogger is not a public demonstrator in a country without internet. They only have an impact in the free world, inside Cuba they are more unknown than the usual dissidents, but they had found more recognition and faster than the old guard of dissidents against Castro regime.

All those factors had made some of them to refuse acknowledge popular bloggers like Yoani Sanchez, one of them has been Vladimiro Roca who is the owner of the house where those dissidents are holed up.

At the same time, it is fair to say than many of the most prominent bloggers never had acknowledged those dissidents who are in the fight against Castro for more time than them. I guess it is a little bit embarrassing this confrontation between dissidents and bloggers, and it is a little bit prejudiced in both fields.

Some of the bloggers, included Yoani, don’t want any recognition as dissidents. My question is: why?

They don’t want the baggage that dissidence is carrying for too long in Cuba. But the truth is that the Cuban authorities recognise all of them as dissidents without any discrimination. And the evidence is the attack against Yoani a few days ago.

So, I think it is time to everybody in Cuba who is opposed to Castro to take a clear politics position and be honest. In fact, everyone who speaks out publicly and in blogs against Castro is without any doubt a dissident.

It is time to share their hands and move on, folks.