The ‘Official’ Cuban Blogger Elaine Diaz filed her last post and ended her blog The Digital Controversy.
Since March 2008 I have maintained this space as a place for calm dialogue, individual expression and exchange of experiences. “The Controversy” overcame, in a few months, the anonymity and solitude that accompanies millions of blogs on the web, to become a place for discussion of some of the most urgent issues on the agenda of Cuban citizens. What once was a site of experimentation to get a bachelor’s degree in journalism became inescapable corner for learning.
Today, after almost five years, I say goodbye to this space.
From this moment I will dedicate more time to research and teaching, two activities I’m passionate about and where I want to concentrate more in the coming years.
I am deeply grateful to all those who have ever left their mark here; to those who with their comments enriched the debate; to those who sent their impressions by mail; to those who were silent witnesses to every article; and those who I had the good fortune to meet in person.
This space will remain on the web, open to those who want to review, one more time, some moments of the past five years from the most personal, subjective and non-journalistic viewpoint of a young Cuban.
Campo Florido, August 21, 2012
Yoani Sanchez shares her thoughts on Elaine Diaz’s work, and calling it quits…
When a friend leaves… says a song performed by Alberto Cortez, it gets the tears flowing in anyone. Well, that sorrow of goodbye referred to in the song occurs not only when someone very close leaves. It also hurts when we have to say goodbye to people we don’t know physically, but with whom we’ve shared the vast space of the Internet. People we have read and followed on the web and with whom we’ve even had opposing positions on many topics. This is the case with Elaine Diaz, who just announced the end of her blog, The Digital Controversy. After five years of publishing on that “most personal, subjective” site, the journalist has decided to close it and devote herself to teaching and research. A loss to the plurality of the blogosphere in Cuba.
Although she never responded to our invitations to exchange opinions with the bloggers of Cuban Voices, this does not diminish my sympathy for her. Nor did the snub of not accepting a special mention in the Virtual Island competition take its toll on the respect many of us profess for her writing. I didn’t even stop reading her, and I defended her against multiple detractors, when on more than one occasion she launched the hackneyed barrage of official accusations against me. Much less did I let her dismal performance on State Security’s television program Cuba’s Reasons cloud my enjoyment of her sincere, brave, youthful posts. Because in Elaine Diaz I saw something of the twenty-something Yoani Sanchez I was, with the illusion that the system could be reformed from within. To approach her prose was to journey into my own past.
Sadly, the blog The Digital Controversy has said goodbye to its readers. And although the author’s explanation refers to new professional paths, it’s hard to believe it’s only about that. Elaine Diaz has transgressed the limits of criticism permissible to anyone working in the official media or in an academic center in Cuba. I remember, for example, her denouncing the corruption in the high schools in the countryside (parts I, II, III, IV and V ), where she touched on the strategic issue of educational quality and the loss of values among teachers and students. Also on this list is a magnificent report from her keyboard about the social and environmental damage caused by generators in her village (parts I, II, III and IV), where questions about the sacrosanct “Energy Revolution” are posed directly to Fidel Castro. The final blow was perhaps her Twitter call, under the hashtag #nolesvotes, to stop voters from endorsing the members of the National Assembly who don’t represent the interests of the people.
The outcome was as expected. We can only hope that some day this young woman will again have a virtual space, without limits, without fear of approaching anyone to debate an idea; without having to make any concessions to censorship. I think that to read Elaine Diaz at this time is, for me, like a journey into the future.