February 25, 2010
Cuba Blog Event
Right now we are establishing a working phone line with Cuba.
Cuban bloggers Yoani Sánches, Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Lazo, Reinaldo Escobar, Miriam Ceyla, Iván García, Laritza Diversent, Eugenio Leal, Dimas Castellanos.
In the European Paliament: Franziska Brantner MEP, Christian Engström MEP, Manuel Desdin, Benoît Hervieu, Susan Dennisson and many others.
More info / Press Release.
Also read Grégoy Engels live blogging from this event on Inotes.de.
Update: Also see Cubiyanqui.
So, let´s start...
Almost up and running. The phone number in the Press Release does not work. But questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone lines with Cuba working.
- Franziska Brantner, German Greens, greats everyone welcome and says hallo to Cuban bloggers. She states that it is important that we face the difficult Cuba issue.
- Cristian Engström, Swedish Pirate Party, talks about how the internet (web sites, blogs, forums, Twitter etc.) helps people in oppressed parts of the world to organise in opposition. He also underlines that the Internet also is important for transparency and openness in our part of the world.
- Manuel Desdin is talking about how Cuban bloggers have taken citizens journalism to a new level - and that this really is changing the Cuban society.
- Benoît Hervieu, Reporters sans frontièrs, tells us how bloggers in Cuba often must try to use the hotels wireless networks. He tells us how the regime bullies bloggers and filter the Internet. Even "ordinary" journalists have the same problem. He is afraid that this will get worst the next few months.
- He continues by telling us that the Cuban Regime are going more nervous and aggressive. But he thinks that contacts between Cuba oppositionals and people in the outside world might hold back this development.
- Susan Dennisson, Amnesty, touches on several aspects of Cuban oppression. When it comes to the technical aspects of Internet in Cuba, she would like to know if the EU can help in any way.
- SD also tells us that Cuban Post Offices have started to provide (limited) Internet access.
- Phone line down. Redialing in progress.
- While we wait, BH tells us how Cuba censors foreign media. (E.g. Le Monde, but not WSJ.)
- Phone line works again.
- Yoani Sánchez in Cuba will now tell us about how the Cuban bloggers find their situation.
- She tells us that the blogger community in Cuba is very young. Only the Nomenclatura and people from other countries have OK internet access. For all others connections are very expensive and slow. So they do most of their blogging of line. Then they try to get an connection to send many blogposts for many bloggers at the same time.
- Y.S. continues: When it comes to censorship it can also be imposed by threats, isolation etc. to scare people so they sjut up. But bloggers in Cuba support each other actively, even if they all do not share the same views on politics.
- Y.S.: Internet was the only option for these Cubans to express them selfes in Cuba and to the world.
- Y.S.: The Cuban blogosphere is growing rapidly. They also use Twitter. And they have so many things to blog about...
- Y.S.: Cuban bloggers hope that the world will understand the diversity of opinions in Cuba. They need support to protect the security for bloggers ad others who voice their opinions. And there should be pressure from the outside world when it comes to the regime censoring / closing blogs.
- Y.S.: Things might get worse when it comes to freedom of speech on Cuba, very soon.
- Claudia Cadelo is about to speak. But the phone line might be down again.
- I think the phone line is up again...
- C.C.: Spread info about the Cuban blogosphere in social networks. And refer to Cuban bloggers as a source as often as possible.
- C.C.: Embassies from other countries in Cuba could open WiFi-networks for their surroundings.
- C.C.: Vitrual activism is punished in the real world. E.g. Cuban bloggers are not allowed to attend public events.
- Now, Eugenio Leal is on the phone...
- E.L.: Sometimes we share information on USB-sticks. And by fileshareing we gather and share info from the net and world media.
- E.L.: About the election question: PCC can never win. An survey proved that more than 50 pct. of Cubans want to change the system all toghether.
- E.L.: There will be independent candidates in the elections in the future. But the Secreet Police are leaning on them not to run.
- E.L.: About Skype - It is not possibel to use Skype in Cuba. If you go to a hotel for a connection, they start asking where you got your money.
- Manuel Desdin: Cuban net technology is on "modem-level"...
- M.S.: EU do good things for democracy and freedom in Cuba. But more countries should do more.
- E.L.: The treatment from the government is getting worse. There is violence and "social apartheid" where bloggers are banned from events and places.
- E.L.: There are also blogs supported by the regime. They attack the free bloggers and are officially promoted.
- Dimas Castellanos: Things will change. We will use the case of freedom of expression / speech to break ground for other reforms and civil rights. We have already broken the Cuban regimes monopoly when it comes to information with (and about) the rest of the world.
// Flickr-photos from the event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24005871@N00/sets/72157623553586666/ //
// Tweet-tag #cubanbloggers (Thanks @dichter) //
- D.C.: Democracy in Cuba - if / how: Cuba is a society without civil rights. We must have human rights, e.g. freedom of expression. We have a history of violence - but we must avoid repeting that part of history in the next transformation of Cuba.
- D.C.: The Cuban regime will not allow for even a slow transition to a free economy. The exhange rate is terrible. And clothes etc. sent as aid from Europe are sold - for dollars.
- D.C.: Even if the blocade would go, we do not have real money...
- And now a very emotional description of the situation for political prisoners. And an appeal to the rest of the world to put preassure on Cuba - to allow for inspection from human rights organisations.
- Benoît Hervieu: The EU must stop being so polite and accepting the Cuban regimes vague explanations and excuses.
- Reinaldo Escobar: We have many different opinions, but one thing in common. That is that Cuba should allow for all to have different opinions and to accept freedom of expression.
- R.E.: EU should connect more with the Cuban civil society.
- Franziska Brantner: We would love to. But we are blocked by the Cuban government.
- I´m not sure who, i Cuba: What do EU say about Cuba signing treaties about human and civil rights, without ratifying them later on?
- F.B.: It is better if they sign. Because then we can remind them.
- Laritza Diversent: What do the EP think about recent cases when dissidents e.g. have starved themselfs to death...
- F.B.: (Ansvers in Spanish. I didn´t get it.)
- All 20 bloggers around the phone in Cuba says hallo to you all - and hope that we will stay connected. With better connections.
- F.B.: (Says something, shurely very nice, and thanks everybody, in Spanish.)
OK! The event is over. Thanks for following. Sorry for any typos and misspellings. And please note that the text above not is quotes, but summaries of often long translations.