HAVANA TIMES — Every day, I have to put together the classes I teach, so many that I need to use audiovisual materials to optimize my time (for my work also entails a number of bureaucratic tasks that pretty much force me to manage my time efficiently).
YouTube, full of lectures in Spanish about practically every subject, is the great ally of any academic, intellectual, artist or common person interested in obtaining or confirming information about a given topic.
After a simple study based on everyday observations, I am quite surprised that, in the six months I have been searching for materials on YouTube – about subjects as broad-ranging as literature, philosophy, journalism, film and many others – I have not once come upon a single Cuban video.
The Cuban government only makes political materials, to let the world know Cuba’s “truth” and the true identity and intentions of the “so-called” dissidents. In cyberspace, the Cuban State seems to have completely forgotten about materials by Cuban scholars.
It pains me to confirm this, for I worked at Cuba’s Sciences Academy as a researcher and I know very well how talented Cuba’s professionals are.
I wonder why the University for Everyone courses aired on Cuban television aren’t on YouTube. Wasn’t it, after all, an essential part of the Battle of Ideas campaign? How long will the lectures of our university professors and researchers continue to be consigned to oblivion?
It is painful to think of how little Cuba contributes to the Spanish-language academy because videos with lectures by Cuban academics aren’t published on the Internet.
I recall that, years ago, I taped a master lecture by the great Cuban biologist Dr. Gilberto Silva, the living scientist who knows the most about bats around the world. I had wanted to upload the video to YouTube, but the recording’s length – an hour and a half – proved too much for Cuba’s slow Internet connection.
Without access to the Internet, the country is slowly dying. It is as though the country did not exist, as though nothing were going on anywhere in Cuba. The truth of the matter is quite the opposite: with the exception of Internet access and a decent salary, Cuban scholars have no reason to envy their colleagues in the region and around the world, for they are daring, creative and, most importantly, tenacious.