In the democracies we all know about the student demonstrations in Venezuela that started when the Chavez government closed down a popular cable channel because it did not air all of Chavez’s speeches or play enough patriotic music.
And then how those demonstrations moved on to complaints about corruption and inadequate services.
But in heavily censored Cuba, that information is not proper to be released to the people.
The only problem is that thanks to satellite connections, mobile phones and tech savvy young people, that news is getting out.
Take, for example, a posting from Generation Y in Cuba:
Rumors spread, murmurs become official notes and newspapers report – several weeks later – what the whole country already knows. We have gone from rationed information to a veritable “coming out” that flows in parallel with the censorship of the official media. Our glasnost has not been driven from offices and ministries, but has emerged in mobile phones, digital cameras and removable memories. The same black market that supplied powdered milk or detergent now offers illegal Internet connections and television programs that arrive through prohibited satellite dishes.
This is how we learned of the events in Venezuela during the last week. My own cell phone has been on the verge of collapse from so many messages telling me about the student protests and the closure of several television stations. I forward copies of these brief headlines to everyone in my address book, in a network that mimics viral transmission: I spread it to many and they in turn inoculate a hundred more with the information. There is no way to stop this form of broadcast news, because it does not use a fixed structure but mutates and adapts to each circumstance. It is anti-hegemonic, although the little word acquires different connotations in the Cuban case, where the hegemony has belonged to the newspaper Granma, the TV show The Round Table, and the DOR*.
Generation Y is an interesting blog right out of Cuba with the following tag: “Generation Y is a Blog inspired by people like me, with names that start with or contain a “Y”. Born in Cuba in the ’70s and ’80s, marked by schools in the countryside, Russian cartoons, illegal emigration and frustration.”
It is well worth regular visits.