Cyberwar / Regina Coyula

Peaceful citizens were shown on the TV program “Cuba’s Reasons” being accused of receiving money from the U.S. government. The program was seen by, let’s say, 6 million national viewers. These citizens then call out the government for lying and manipulating, and thirty million internet users, to pick a figure, learn of that complaint. The apparent discrepancy is not important: the six million are not included in the thirty; the discrediting, without any right to respond in the national media, of a handful of people who are trying to create a space for civil society, will be new information for the common citizen, for whom the program was designed.

What do I do with my opinions in this country? I could do what I was doing before opening Bad Handwriting: talk about them in my living room. It would be more comfortable, my next-door neighbors would greet me naturally, I wouldn’t have lost any friends, and my siblings and other relatives wouldn’t have to be careful to avoid the uncomfortable detail that I have a rebellious blog. This is a process of adaptation and often painful.

But I already decided to offer a discordant note, if I joke with those in the pay of the Empire and with the CIA missions, I trespassed a border that the citizen to whom the message of a program like Cyberwar is directed has not trespassed, that is believing in the right to express one’s opinions. This government’s objective is met within the country, and justifies the criticisms of international public opinion.

Spoken of as a triumph, in the program, were the more than 200 blogs of press workers and university students. In today’s world, having a blog is common and free. Many of these blogs exist as a kind of “trickle down,” thus their contents lack freshness and are simply an extension of the official press. Many of them are signed with a pseudonym and maintain an anonymity that would be inexplicable in alternative blogs. But if the unofficial bloggers are branded as mercenaries for using cards paid for in hard currency to connect to the internet, how does it look that in a country with such low connectivity the official bloggers use their working hours and State connection (also in hard currency, and paid for by “Liborio” — that is the Cuban equivalent of “Uncle Sam”) to maintain their personal spaces on the web?

One of those interviewed on the program quoted Fidel: Don’t believe what I say, read. Encapsulating one of the motives that led me to open my blog, wanting access to the internet. I don’t like anyone to decide what I should read, what I should believe.

March 23 2011