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Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

Cyber-Dissidents and “Changes” in Cuba

March 6, 2014 | Print Print |

Dariela Aquique

Mural. Photo: Juan Suarez

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s so-called “cyber-dissidents” have criticized many different aspects of the country’s social, economic and political spheres.

While “fundamentalist government supporters” (as I call them) only scratch the surface of our problems and always have an excuse at hand to try and explain the inexplicable, independent government supporters (the on-line intelligentsia), who enjoy a number of advantages afforded them by the system, touch the injury but are extremely careful not to cause the patient any pain.

Cyber-dissidents (as the government refers to anyone who does not bow to the official discourse) are the ones who stick their fingers right inside the wound. The stories, articles, interviews and photo features of those of us who justifiably call for a better Cuba have been a means of exposing, criticizing and, yes, even denouncing the ills that afflict our society.

I believe the Cuban State has benefited greatly from this. The actual opinions of the population is better informed by any such post than by the hundreds of minutes from meetings “with the masses”, where everything remains on the surface and is approved unanimously.

Each and every one of the changes that have been implemented in Cuba has been, in one way or another, a response to the demands that these cyber-dissidents have made through their blogs.

Killing two birds with one stone, the government can now look a little better before international public opinion by passing new laws and measures that seek to demonstrate that absurd regulations are becoming a thing of the past, while imagining that they are gradually depriving independent bloggers of their arguments.

As we have said elsewhere, however, those “changes” that were recently approved in Cuba merely alleviate and do not cure the disease.

– The right of Cubans to access and stay at the country’s hotels freely
– The unrestricted sale of cellular phones and lines
– The right of farmers to work State-controlled lands
– The opening of more self-employment opportunities
– The authorization of the purchase, sale and/or donation of automobiles and real estate property by and among Cubans
– The housing law, which allows families the right to claim the properties of relatives who have left the country (legally or otherwise) definitively.
– The new migratory reform
– Laxer custom regulations that authorize bringing in electrical appliances bought abroad into the country
– Public access to the Internet
– The liberalization of the car market
– The announced elimination of the two-currency system

Each and every one of these measures come with subheadings that make them inadequate or involve prices that are excessively high, in some cases prohibitive, for the common Cuban.

This is why cyber-dissidents will continue to have much to talk about and to have a say in the real changes that Cubans deserve and expect.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    It is sad testimony that giving Cubans the freedom to enter hotels and own cellphones is considered a “reform”. Still, such as it is, the real reform will come when expressing an opinion contrary to the government is no longer considered “dissidency”.

  • CUBAQUS

    Real change in Cuba will require a complete change in the mindset of people.
    The “new man” the revolution of the Castros created is ignorant of what happens in his own country, ignorant of his rights – and when he is aware of what they are or should be – afraid to demand them.
    That those that speak out are continuously called “dissident” is a good example of that mindset. That people think allowing some basic rights in a controlled fashion is real reform is another.