Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Yoani Sánchez's Newspaper

Yoani Sánchez started an online newspaper in Cuba called Apparently so far it has not been blocked by the Cuban government.

What I find particularly interesting about it is that it is not opposition per se. Think Venezuela, with all the insults and slurs. Instead, it is a collection of different types of stories that transcend politics. Instead, you get this indirect digs, quick indications of a state that has pretty ossified. Take this story about baseball versus football in Cuba:

La mayor pesadilla del fútbol cubano estriba en tener al enemigo dentro y disfrutando, además, de una estrecha complicidad con el Instituto Nacional de Deportes y Recreación (INDER). Esta entidad se muestra preocupada hasta el desvelo por salvaguardar la prevalencia del béisbol en tanto "deporte nacional", como si las preferencias deportivas fueran un tema de seguridad nacional o una cuestión de Estado.

This isn't about politics, but it reveals how far the state has extended its control to impose even particular sports on the country. Everything down to the most trivial is somehow a matter of national security, and this publication pokes fun at it. This is more likely to generate sympathy than a sledgehammer strategy, and of course is less likely to be censored. It's calling for a rethinking of what has been taken for granted, not for regime change.

We know there are clear limits but not necessarily where they are. Yoani Sánchez has been masterful at becoming known globally and it is therefore harder for the government to crack down on her. But if she pushes too far, they will, but right now we're in uncharted waters.

Update: The Cuban government blocked access to it after I posted. Seems times haven't changed at all and the waters are quite well charted!


Anonymous,  9:00 AM  

"It's calling for a rethinking of what has been taken for granted, not for regime change."

I think it is clear that Yoani Sanchez, the other dissident writers, and their international supporters are indeed calling for "regime change." They are supporting freedom of expression, pluralism and the respect for basic human rights.

They are pursuing a strategy not with a "sledgehammer approach" as you put it but it is nonetheless a revolutionary end they seek. This is why the Cuban government censors it and why the reforms initiated by Raul Castro are just baby steps toward the realization of the goal.

Greg Weeks 9:42 AM  

Yes, yes, obviously they're calling for those things knowing that it would take a different government to fulfill them. But that is a far cry from the common usage of "regime change," which is to call openly for the change (sometimes violent) of the government.

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