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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Yoani Sanchez Describes How To Silence A Blogger in Cuba

Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez describes in a January 12, 2010, post how Cuban authorities learned to silence journalists and are now turning their attention to bloggers. See “Silencing a Blogger.”

Writing in her Generacion Y blog, Sanchez describes the rise of independent journalists in Cuba and  the risk they took image to introduce a journalism not controlled by the states.

“In the spring of 2003 everything that seemed dangerous and risky turned into punishment” for these journalists, according to Sanchez. “Many of them went in prison to serve sentences of ten, fifteen, twenty years. The majority are still behind bars.” Adds Sanchez, who was abducted on November 6, 2009, allegedly by men connected with Cuban authorities[see “A gangland style kidnapping”]:

We bloggers came later, among other reasons because the technology came to us slowly. I dare say that the authorities did not imagine that citizens would appeal to a global resource to express themselves. The government controls the television studio cameras, the radio station microphones, the pages of the magazines and periodicals located on Island territory, but up there, far from their reach, a satellite network—demonized but essential—offers to those who aim for it, the opportunity to “hang” their opinions in practically unlimited form.

Sanchez said it took Cuban authorities “time to understand it, but they are starting to. As you know, to silence a blogger you can’t use the same methods that work to silence so many journalists.” she contends, adding: “No one can fire these impertinents of the web from the editorial board of a daily paper, nor promise them a week in Varadero or a Lada car as compensation, much less entice them with a trip to Eastern Europe.”

“To stop a blogger,” according to Sanchez, “you must eliminate or intimidate them and this equation has begun to be understood by the State, the Party… the General.”

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