Blogging, A Necessity / Laritza Diversent

Photo: Laritza looking at one of the blogs in a Havana hotel.

Blogging is a challenge and pleasure to me, just as much professionally as personally. It gives me the opportunity to say what I think, as well as feel, without prohibitions. The possibility to escape the control.

Writing online is not easy for Cubans. A challenge. And we have to be brave to face it. Because every citizen is strictly supervised by social and mass organizations: at home by the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), in school by the Union of Young Communists (UJC), at work by the Workers Central Union of Cuba (CTC), as well as other “revolutionary” organizations.

Some people outside of Cuba may perceive this as a structured social system, broad and plural, but it’s really a meticulous and excessive control machine.

Each person has a file where every incident from their student, work and social history is recorded. These controls are aware of each and every one of the residents on the island.

Thus the fear, the silent panic that accompanies every Cuban since they can remember. Be careful about expressing yourself and commenting on the system. If it’s reported you are in opposition, your existence can change overnight. You can loose the career path you’ve yearned so long for, your job position, or receive other “punishments.” The saddest thing is that family pays the consequences in most cases. A subtle and insidious way to suppress, but in the end it’s still repression.

When your name first appears on an internet site, specialists from the Cuban Department of State Security immediately make a report. And they start to dissect and investigate you like a lab-rat.

At first you are paranoid. But you get used to 24 hours a day of this hellish surveillance mechanism. Now I don’t pay too much attention to the control apparatus that used to scare me so much. They follow me, listen to and record my conversations, take pictures and videos…It’s all the same…I overcame that fear when I decided to start blogging.

However I can’t rest on my laurels. I am aware of those who have power and how far they will go to keep it. But I decided to take those risks. Frustration and the feeling of helplessness is stronger than my fear. Because those feelings do more damage than all the terror and control that could be exercised over you.

Since I started blogging, my view of society and life has changed. I act freely now within the limits my conscience, common sense and judgement make. Without crossing the line. I don’t have the makings of a heroine. Nor do I wish to stand out or be famous.

I have acquired an individual freedom. I no longer have to justify myself for not going to the May 1 parade or one on another date. I don’t help out at those pathetic meetings for the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, just to guarantee myself a job with financial opportunities or professional promotions. I behave and project myself as I am. Without hypocrisy, without a mask, without any double standards.

That’s why blogging has become so important to me. It’s the way I found to say what I feel without reproach or censorship. To share how we live without embellishments or nuances. To make an opinion, inform, express myself.

To feel free despite the fear.

March 14 2011