From TV to the Web: The Pathway of Revolutions / Regina Coyula

Half a century ago, Fidel Castro made a Revolution that was known throughout the world thanks to the technology of his time. From the television studios he opined, harangued, called a general strike, lashed out at his enemies and consolidated his power with popular support. If the reach of his words was greater, it was thanks to television.

In the world today, any citizen, thanks to Web 2.0, can opine, harangue her enemies and call for a general strike. Her message achieves a reach on electromagnetic waves never dreamed of. All of it from her bedroom. All she needs is an idea and a connection.

The Cuban government reacted late to the virtual space everyone was latching onto, where contents add or subtract readers without media manipulation being able to influence it. Reacted late and badly. They directed their communicators to open personal spaces that became variations of the written press, where the obligation to comply with a directive is often seen.

These recent television efforts from the series “Cuba’s Reasons,” are trying to condition national public opinion to find that the “unauthorized” use of modern information technology involves an unhealthy social order, with the strings being pulled by forces from the north. They seem to be efforts hastily completed in the heat of the events of the Arab world.

These serials also justify the need to rein in the wild colt of the Internet, justify the limitations that will be placed on the fast fiber optic cable, justify the punishment imposed on violators of the telecommunications law. So many resources to not allow openings for dissent. They do not even want to coexist with a peaceful opposition that will be allowed no right to reply, let alone to enter the debate. That’s not the reaction of a secure government that enjoys the sincere support of its citizens.

March 17 2011