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Update on Cuban Blogger Highlighted in New York Times

The Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC) has an interview “Yoani Sanchez”, one of the Cuban bloggers highlighted by the New York Times article, “Cyber-Rebels in Cuba Defy State’s Limits”, I posted on last month. Sanchez’s blog is part of the website, an online magazine that describes itself as a “portal for reflection and discussion.”

In the interview, Sanchez described blogs like hers as a means for “rescu[ing] individuality and civil society.” Of her own experience, Sanchez explained that her blog was “self therapy against the double standards the conformism, against fear” and that “posting [her] name and [her] face on the net is a way of ending years and years of paranoia and fear, of the feeling that I am under surveillance…”

Sanchez’s optimism makes the report that access to her blog, Generation Y, has been blocked within Cuba disappointing. At the same time, the report notes that Sanchez is still able to access her blog through an indirect route. Which is to say, we can take a little comfort in knowing that even if censorship on the Internet is possible, it is at the very least a lot more difficult than blocking access to any number of particular websites.

Another factor that lends itself to optimism is the ease with which content originally written in Spanish can be accessed in a translated version (an option which came up immediately through each of the search engine’s where I searched for “DesdeCuba”). Even though these translations can lend themselves to awkward sentence structure because the translate function doesn’t (yet?) respond well to differences e.g. noun/adjective placement, the content is nonetheless understandable. And thus, along with the speed of sharing information enabled by the Internet, a sizable transaction cost is cut in communicating the circumstances within Cuba to the outside world.

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