Cuban bloggers vs. the dictator

Have no doubt that the Cuban blogosphere is making a difference. 

From the English version of Yoani’s Generation Y, an update on the regimes latest attempt to silence the islands bloggers:

I’m coming to believe that the influence of the Internet on our reality is bigger than I thought. After several days of not being able to connect to the Internet in hotels such as the Meliá Cohiba, the Panorama and the emblematic Hotel Nacional, the ban seems to have been lifted. Today I spoke with the same employees who two weeks ago showed me the resolution excluding Cubans from using such services at tourist facilities. They told me I can once again buy the blessed card that opens the door to the virtual world.

I may sound a bit boastful, but I think that if we had not raised a ruckus in recent days—denouncing such apartheid—we would have been deprived of the ability to connect. Yes, they cede when you push back, they have to amend the plan when we citizens raise our voices and the international media hears the echo. We understood this with Gorki’s case, and this correction confirms that our keeping quiet only allows them to snatch away more spaces from us. We need to make the most of the situation, now they are saying “Cubans can connect”, and take it as a public commitment. We must hold them to it and, if not, there will be Twitter, Facebook and text messages for protesting, when they try to shut us out again.

* On Monday, a dozen bloggers conducted an investigation into more than forty hotels. With the exception of the Occidental Miramar, they all said they were ignoring the regulation that prohibited Cubans from accessing the internet.

She has video, watch it here.

7 thoughts on “Cuban bloggers vs. the dictator”

  1. BIG DEAL! If I (a non-guest) walk into the Omni Royal Orleans in the French Quarter and try to use their computers, I’ll get the boot too (it happened…though
    maybe it was the Hurricane I was spilling on the keyboard?)

    Heaven knows, it’s not Yoani’s fault that she’s unaware of how hotels operate worldwide. The prohibitions (financial , nowadays) against Cubans staying in Cuba’s hotels and accessing the internet is what strikes me as most hideous.

    Huffington posters, etc. have no clue about Cuba’s internet restrictions and a Cuban’s average monthly salary, etc.

    They might read this blog entry and go “WOW!–See THAT! In Cuba you can just walk in off the street and the big Hotels let you use their computers!..our greedy capitalists don’t allow that here!: Viva la Revolucion!!”

    I mean, what hotel–in New Orleans, or Miami, or San Francisco, or Madrid, or Bangcock– is just gonna let non-guests come in off the streets and use their computers!?

    It’s sad to comtemplate, and it’s hardly their fault, but Cuba’s “new man” (and woman) will require much adjustment to the “Way of the World”

    Maybe Earth, Wind and Fire can help.

  2. Sorry, I think it IS a big deal, because Cuban citizens have challenged a government policy and won. For how long, I don’t know.

  3. I thought that when you go into the hotels in Cuba and you want to use their computers to access the internet, that you are required to pay/purchase usage time for that.

    That before this week, only ‘foreigners’ could do this, and Cubans could not. Or am I incorrect on this?

  4. ” …mean, what hotel–in New Orleans, or Miami, or San Francisco, or Madrid, or Bangcock…

    dude, I don’t know what you were thinking, or what you meant to say, but the capital of Thailand is spelled “BANGKOK” in English.

  5. It is my understanding that one of the means Yoani has used to get her blog posts out of Cuba is by posing as a tourist and paying for a connection in hotel cyber-cafes. Under Cuban law, Yoani’s blogging is illegal by any means, and since this is Cuba we are talking about, how can normal hotel regulations be applicable? These hotels are a big chunk of the regimes paycheck. Screw their rules. Un-officially, Yoani has been able to use the connections with no questions asked. Earlier this month, in a move that has be considered as a reaction to the Cuban bloggers, there was a new resolution enacted specifically barring ordinary Cubans from using hotel Internet services. Story here:

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/cuba/sfl-cuba-internet-cutoff-050709,0,5740923.story

  6. Granted, granted. But as we all realize when we get in mixed company: most people DON’T HAVE A CLUE about such things as Cuba’s Tourist apartheid, ration cards, etc. etc. Cuba’s just another poor Latin country–“Big Deal!”

    We show a picture of a dilapidated building in Havana:

    “Big Deal! I saw worse right behind my Hotels in Cancun and Montego Bay–and those poor Mexicans and Jamaicans don’t have free healthcare” etc. etc.

    My point was that the wording of the article made it seem that the most horrible oppression in Cuba was that you couldn’t walk in off the street and use a luxury Hotel’s computer.

    This will strike many as a chickenshit complaint–or a non-complaint. If you doubt me, check out the comments on Yoani’s article in Huffington Post. A few specimens:

    “Is this the ‘worst’ violation of Cubans’ constitutional rights at this point? More context would be appreciated.”

    “Oh my Gawd!!! This horrible practice in Cuba MUST BE STOPPED!! The idea that a business would provide service only for certain clients is world-stopping! I remember I went to a golf course one time, only to be run off by the staff when I could not produce the correct paperwork to prove I was a member.”

    See what I mean?

  7. I agree Humberto; the problem of course is exactly as you say, too few Americans know anything about Cuba. Still, seeing what she has to go through just to blog — I felt it important to share Yoani’s most likely temporary victory. God knows there are few enough of them in Cuba.

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