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← Talking to Elaine Díaz about the Cuban Blogosphere.

Talking to Elaine Díaz about the Cuban blogosphere at the 2012 GV Summit. Pride Inn Raphta Road, Nairobi, Kenia, July 3, 2012, 2012, 3.22 p.m.


Subtitles translated from スペイン語 Showing Revision 3 created 05/05/2013 by Laura Elliott.

  1. Hello Eliane, tell me about...
  2. Well, besides your life in Cuba
  3. and everything
  4. What do you think and what problems do you have
  5. with the coverage you do for Global Voices
  6. about the island?
  7. Well, I have written for Global Voices since 2010
  8. when the regional Spanish editor
  9. asked me if I wanted to collaborate with Global Voices
  10. and I began to write
  11. about some news that was very sad for us about
  12. a plane crash
  13. in a province called Sacti Spiritus.
  14. From that moment on
  15. I started to try to sort of reconstruct
  16. the voices of what was being said
  17. by bloggers on the island, the people who had Internet access,
  18. still people with limited means
  19. and the connection was quite slow.
  20. Currently, the main problem I have
  21. with the coverage of Global Voices
  22. is that Global Voices tries to give a voice to the blogosphere
  23. and Internet spaces,
  24. but often things happen in Cuba
  25. and there's a bit of a delay for news to arrive to Internet spaces.
  26. Especially because of this technological limitation
  27. or this limitation on Internet use.
  28. So we are wondering during the summit
  29. if we should wait for it to arrive... and lose a week
  30. or try to start, move foward with what is happening,
  31. as if it were a live coverage of the events,
  32. without having a reflection from Social Media yet.
  33. It's a debate that might not
  34. come up much in other countries
  35. but for us in Cuba,

  36. it forms a considerable part of
    our day-to-day lives.
  37. We also try to make the posts
    as influential as possible.
  38. Cuba is quite controversial in terms of politics
  39. and there are pretty distant spaces
    in the blogosphere
  40. that are opposed to each other and
  41. it is a bit of an everyday challange
  42. to try to make the coverage of Cuba
  43. as neutral as possible,
  44. although in my personal opinion about our reality

  45. this is something that is rather hard to achieve.
  46. Well, that it is as honest and balanced possible.
  47. Of the articles you have written,
  48. what reactions have you gathered,
  49. if you will,
  50. through comments
  51. from the website or by other means?
  52. Well, almost all the articles that I write for Global Voices receive comments,
  53. rather controversial comments,
  54. but we always try to respond to all of
  55. these comments about the issues.
  56. The most interesting thing that has happened to me
  57. is that a lot of people who try to contact me
  58. by e-mail
  59. to learn a little more about Cuba
  60. from what I write for Global Voices.
  61. And also from the series I wrote
  62. about the Wikileaks cables, I mean
  63. what the cables said... about Cuba.
  64. It generated many comments and lots of replies
  65. amongst the official media.
  66. They started to copy the exact same post
  67. in the mainstream media
  68. because I've tried to do a bit of an analysis in three posts
  69. that I essentially wrote
  70. to see what issues were being talked about
  71. though a bit of a quantitative analysis at the beginning.
  72. Then, briefly explaining what the issues were,
  73. the postures on those topics,
  74. and it was very interesting
  75. because it was published
  76. exclusively for Global Voices
  77. and suddenly a lot of other media organizations started to publish it.
  78. Another interesting thing is the translations.
  79. It's not as exciting or new for me
  80. to see the posts translated into English.
  81. But to go in one day and see the posts
  82. ...in Magyar or Aymara
  83. or in languages that are not very known in the world
  84. is incredibly positive because you know
  85. the people in the places where these languages are spoke are reading about Cuba
  86. or at least they have the possibility
  87. of receiving these stories from Cuba.
  88. Do you take part in the Cuban blogosphere yourself?
  89. What is your relationship with your parents like?
  90. Being part of the Cuban blogosphere is complicated,
  91. it's a complex matter.
  92. Because it's a blogosphere, as I said,
  93. it's growing constantly.
  94. Currently, Cuba has almost 600 Cuban-based blogs.
  95. It might not seem like much,
  96. but for a country with only 14%
  97. Internet penetration, it's considerable,
  98. because there are people who are
    dedicating their free time
  99. who are using their Internet connection at work
  100. because they hardly ever have connections at home,
  101. to reveal a bit about the reality in Cuba.
  102. So, to suddenly be immersed in these dynamics

  103. at the time in 2008 when I had recently created my blog,
  104. was something very solitary, I mean, there were not many people,
  105. not many bloggers
  106. and we were just starting to talk to each other.
  107. But in 2012,
  108. face-to-face meetings have been held for bloggers in Cuba.
  109. There has already been citizen action,
  110. such us the cleaning of the Almendares river
  111. that was organized completely from social networks,
  112. and it gathered people from both inside and outside of Cuba.
  113. Citizen computer literacy programs dealing with
  114. technological issues have been carried out.
  115. for people who have a bit less knowledge.
  116. And so, it has started to be to be a big community
  117. where it's still difficult to reach a consensus,
  118. but where extremely interesting debates are created,
  119. where very productive dialogues are generated,
  120. where we are learning a little
  121. ...to be more influential,
  122. to respect others' voices,
  123. to understand that every blog is an individual experience,
  124. a unique experience
  125. that does not have to be like others.
  126. In a way , we teach each other respect for others,
  127. to understand terms such as freedom of expression,
  128. essentially, such as respect for differences,
  129. and for the media. In Cuba, I don't think there are media organizations, there is only the government media.
  130. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  131. Yes, there are the official media organizations, which are all state-owned.
  132. Official Cuban media organizations belong to state institutions.
  133. The Central Workers Union of Cuba,
    for example, has its media organization,
  134. the Communist Party of Cuba has its media organzation,
  135. the Young Communist Union also has
    its own media press...
  136. As for university students,
  137. they have the Alma Mater magazine,
  138. and on top of that, almost every sector
    is represented
  139. in some kind of press media,
  140. but if... all the recognized press media organizations are state-owned
  141. the blogosphere's relationship with the state-owned media
  142. is very interesting,
  143. even if in the beginning
  144. they weren't very heard or read
  145. because there were very few.
  146. Nowadays, we are, indeed, quite read and even quoted.
  147. Cuban bloggers are interviewed by the press,
  148. and there are even many issues
  149. that form part of citizens' concern
  150. that were first born in the blogosphere,
  151. and then, the press or traditional journalism makes them theirs.
  152. They do research, deeper searches,
  153. and then a dialogue begins
  154. between bloggers and the traditional press.
  155. I don't think the relationship is distasteful
  156. and it doesn't discredit bloggers either,
  157. I mean, by the act of being bloggers.
  158. Bloggers are discredited
  159. by certain political trends,
  160. but these political arguments are not the basis
  161. for being a blogger
  162. or for using new technologies to tell others about your reality,
  163. as it may happen in other countries
  164. where not having a journalism degree
  165. can invalidate a citizen, or something like that.
  166. I don't think this is the case in Cuba, yet.
  167. At least not this year, for the moment.
  168. Thank you, Elaine.