Almost Alone, in Meditation / Joisy Garcia Martinez #Cuba

The “massification” in almost all aspects and areas of Cuban life has left the common citizen completely isolated. The sites of participation have been and are increasingly operated and controlled by the omnipresent one Party and its scapegoats. Every day free spirited citizens suffer inhuman social isolation, persecution, and at the same time continue to speak more frequently of uncontrolled beatings, of incredible criminal prosecutions and even imprisonment.

The lack of spaces for pluralism and participation, is another of the causes of the lack of freedom in our country, and the margins in which a healthy climate of pluralism and respect for diversity can exist remain narrow — particularly in the socio-political sphere — where rights  that allow for personal initiative, creativity and innovation independent out of state can be discussed and exercised.

The inconsistency between what they say and what they do is becoming increasingly obvious, the work of hard-line control on the part of the moderators toward the elementary exercise of freedom has not let up… With continued use of these mechanisms they will only manage to exclude citizens, who with a beautiful love for our society and country will not accept being locked into a double standard, in the framework that supports corruption and social disorder. It’s clear that after decades of looking for him the “New Man” has never appeared, we have only demonstrated results of laziness and apathy. The fear of criticism — even constructive criticism — has become widespread, like a pandemic of evil that spreads and contaminates.

The emerging practice in knowledge for the exercise of freedom is vital, existing civil society has been turned into an amorphous mass, leaving microscopic spaces for freedom… docilely ceding to the control and intimidation of a State what no longer hides its repression of the inevitable desire for freedom of an entire people. Those who are aware must educate themselves and raise awareness of rights and responsibilities, that will bring the full exercise of freedom that we so desperately need.

Achieving freedom does not happen solely through protests, but through social responsibility and collective pain… for I read someone who said, sadly their name doesn’t come to mind right now: Freedom is not given to man with blows of freedom… Freedom is without any doubt the fruit of the inner dominion, not a trade in vindications.”

I invite us all to come together, with courage, creativity, responsibility, honesty and skill.

Joisy Garcia Martinez

January 9 2013

Cost-benefit, Right-freedom / Joisy García Martínez

To Tweet from a cell phone in Cuba is disproportionately costly, almost impossible, and only comparable with the draining of the Cienaga de Zapata swamp, the eradication of prostitution, computer illiteracy or the forbidden game.

To write 140 characters via a cell phone in Cuba, however simple it may seem, is a luxury few can afford and there are few people who enjoy the privilege of being able to access the social network Twitter because of the high price of this service on telephones and in hotels. One hour of internet access in one of the cybercafes, that are proliferating more and more in the major cities, cost between six and eight dollars, which represents a fortune if you consider the average monthly wage for the average Cuban is around 20 dollars.

On the island, there are few who have a quality computer in their homes. Those who manage to break the limitations of this internal blockade and get a computer, then have to deal with the nonexistent connections in home and the high costs of surfing the internet on the island. Although social networks like Twitter and Facebook are not blocked by the Cuban government, like some other sites of a critical and dissident nature, for the average Cuban to access the, outside the monitored schools, is a luxury not granted to most. But before these critical hurdles, Cuban bloggers who are active on sites like Twitter have found other alternatives, although they remain expensive, they allow us to get on the network more often and to express ourselves.

This alternative is through text messages of 140 characters send via cell phones and subsequently published on the accounts of the microblogging site. To participate in the social network in this way cost one convertible peso, around 24 pesos in national money, for each Tweet sent, something that many call “the luxury of expression.”

This option, as expensive as it is, at least some of the dozens of Cubans who have a web presence use. Access to the Internet, and in particular this latter alternative of tweeting in our country is as scarce as beef and tolerance. The officials say the island doesn’t limit Cubans’ access to social networks, and that platforms like Twitter and Facebook don’t have agreements with the Cuban Telecommunications Company to allow free messages to these networks from mobile phones, but the reality is that communication is complex and excessively expensive for the citizen in the XXI century. An issue that makes me question the supposed social function of the Cuban telephone monopoly.

This reflection brings to mind the solidarity shown by a person who recently recharged my cellphone from the internet, so I would transmit via Twitter the essentials of the hunger strike undertaken by Dr. Jeovany Jimenez Vega in Guanajay in March. Thank you, actions like these make me thing that those of us who want to communicate and express ourselves through tweets in Cuba are not alone, but be must analyze the cost-benefit, right-freedom that this option brings.

3 April 2012

How did you think of it, Danilo? / Joisy García Martínez

Danilo Maldonado, known as “El Sexto” has proposed, from his insistent irreverence towards power, a new flag for Cuba, saying it will lead to “new trends in social thinking.”

Danilo Maldonado is known among members of the emerging Cuban society as “El Sexto.” He is a young, carefree and happy, and lives in Arroyo Arenas, a small village belonging the municipality of La Lisa in Havana. He belongs to the new generation in Cuba that some would like to define as “The New Man Take Two.” He has filled Havana with graffiti, in which he shows his irreverence towards the authorities, for which he was recently arrested and subsequently freed by the authorities.

According to his explanation, the blue loops of the new flag are the generation that is left behind by the star of freedom. The red background represents all the pain and suffering of the people’s search for freedom. The white is in honor of the fallen and the oppressed and all those who fight for their freedom.

The design was carried out — according to its author — in the carefree and childlike manner of the new trends of social thought, where the sinuous line tracing a diagonal route accentuates the ascending movement as a way to reach the star, freed from the triangle enclosing it.

There are differing opinions about his “juvenile” proposal, its irreverence toward power and patriotic symbols. However, as an excellent friend told me, “he also has rights, therefore, it is the most logical, respects his points of view, and refutes them with logical arguments,” although to be honest, and respecting all points of view, I, in particular, would refute them with historic arguments, always understanding that in order to live in a democracy, with rights an so on, we all must have the power to propose what we believe in, even if we know no one supports us.

2 February 2012