Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The mob and the citizen

The last chapter in terms of repression in Cuba has been an escalated attack to the blogosphere, and more personally to Yoani Sanchez, who is the most popular blogger within the island. Last Friday, her husband was confronted and swept away from downtown Havana after a massive act against him by followers of the governments. An act that started with revolutionary consigns and ended with violence and kidnapping.58972522

The bloggers have been absent from any form of personal repression since their impact is only in internet. In the case of Cuba where only 2.1 % of inhabitants have access to internet, blogs are not representing a risk for the totalitarian position of the regime.

Despite other places where bloggers have been mobilizing people around a cause, associations and civil society; in Cuba, bloggers are more reporting Cuba’s day-to-day life. Moreover, they had refused to claim and identify as dissidents, may be because the majority of them belongs to a new generation with a savvy taste for technology. That generation found its niche in internet.

The Cuban blogosphere is appealing more to the outside world rather than claim a political position within Cuba's traditional dissidence, and its effort has been paid off with the involvement of President Obama with the iconic figure of that movement: Yoani Sanchez and her blog Generation Y.

The attempt to reach Cuba was what brought the Cuban blogosphere to the center of the last wave of repression that traditional dissidents have been suffering. In that chapter is where we can locate the incidents surrounding the blogger Reinaldo Escobar, spouse of Yoani Sanchez last Friday.

For Canadians, for whom I am speaking in first person, it could be odd the fact that a simple opinion would bring such a violence and commotion. We are all use to access internet and have favourite’s web sites and blogs, and even participate with our own opinion in some of them. After all, we are living in a Democracy.

The question is: Could it be possible that the government of Canada organize a mob just to crush a personal opinion?

There is another essential point: It is impossible that the mob who screamed, slapped and pushed at the blogger knew about Reinaldo, and even what he posted in his blog. There is no access to his blog and his spouse’s blog in Cuba, it is blocked; and as I said before, only 2.1% of Cubans access to internet and none of them could review their web pages.

So, for those who are questioning the victims and supporting the culprit, how is possible that the mob who slapped, pulled his shirt and hear and screamed obscenities knew him and more important, knew what was the purpose of his presence there?

Reinaldo posted two weeks before in his blog a request to the state agents who attacked his wife to go to the well-known intersection in Havana to discuss and debate. With no internet, no media reporting the request, and the ignorance about the bloggers for the majority of Cubans the question is: how those Cubans recognised the blogger, and more important what did they know about Reinaldo?

The answers are clear: they knew nothing; they were a gang organised by the government to punish an unknown person with opinion. And I stop there: with opinion. Those who cried revolutionary slogans didn’t have any personal opinion. When opinions are formed based in information, knowledge and understanding, what opinions could they have?

So, how is possible that they were in the proper place, at the proper moment and facing the proper person?

Those people belonged to groups organized and prepared by the security forces to suppress any disturbance of any kind; they are selected from the Communist Party, or the Association of Youth, or even recruited from groups who practice karate and judo and have been showed the highest devotion to the regime. They are organized by municipalities in a military structure, and directed by an official of the security forces commonly named G2 (see my post about BCI).

At the same time, there are the CDR (Committees for the Defense of the Revolution), the Rapid Response Brigades, the Union of Communist Youth and the Communist Party of Cuba, plus the veterans of the old militia and even simple workers from any workplace close to the place where the incident happened. Those were the crowd shielding the agents, the cover up.

In the other hand, It is futile to challenge any security estate agent in Cuba: they won’t face a challenge like the one posted by Reinaldo in his blog. In their place, these forces are going to be sent. This is the scheme of repression in Cuba: the mob against the mob; people against people; Cubans against Cubans.

The security forces will remain only to pull the threads behind the mob and check that everything is moving according to a script very well written in the highest seat of Cuba.