FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Cuba’s Princess of the Internet

Liberal and conservative Americans alike have celebrated Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez. She’s become the new “resistance to Cuban communism” heroine, a world-renowned troublemaker inside communist Cuba.

Yoani also acquired semi-princess status in western Europe thanks to the wide internet circulation of her weekly Gen Y blog. (Cubans of a certain era got names beginning with Y.) Her columns, descriptions of daily life in Cuba supported by unverified rumors, that she spins to badmouth the Cuban government, appear in the Huffington Post, El Pais, Die Zeit and other prestigious journals.) Inside Cuba, few read her blog; nor would most Cubans have heard her name; now would they recognize her face if they saw her.

Last week Yoani, after visiting Brazil, Argentina and Mexico stopped in New York, Washington DC, and Miami. Her highlights came in the nation’s capital, including a much publicized talk with Members of both Houses and White House staff. She had just come from presenting her case to Brazil’s legislature, where she made three important points about US relations to Cuba, points she repeated in Washington.

“My position is that the blockade should end,” she said, “because it’s an interventionist stance, in which one country wants to change the internal situation of another. Secondly, because it hasn’t worked. If the original idea was to create popular unrest so the people would take to the streets and change the totalitarian government, it has not worked; even as a pressure method it failed. It should end as quickly as possible because it’s the reason given by the Cuban government to explain its economic failure.” She had already registered her opposition to the US travel ban on its citizens travelling to Cuba.  “If restrictions on coming to Cuba are lifted,” she wrote to Congressman Howard Berman on November 19, 2009, “Americans would enjoy a right that has been infringed in recent years  — that of traveling freely to any latitude without penalty.”

When asked about her position on the US base in Guantanamo, Cuba, Yoani responded that she thought the US should withdraw from the base, because she was a “civilist, a person who respects the legal system, and I could not agree with occupying a space, which shows the occupier doesn’t respect the law.”

And, in Brazil, she also answered a question on the Cuban 5, members of the Ministry of Interior now in US prisons. The US should free them because “the amount of money my country’s government is spending in this world-wide campaign with plane trips around the world. Occupying space in the press and the hours wasted in schools talking about these five prisoners,” she explained.

She also decried the lack of internet freedom in Cuba – an exaggeration. She trivialized her explanations of desired policy changes.

Her dismissal of the task that involved the intelligence agents sent to south Florida in the early 1990s, typified her banalization of the world. The Cuban Five and their extended network of agents had as an assignment the infiltration of  violent Cuban exile groups who had bombed tourist spots in Havana.  Their job was to help prevent more bombings. Cuban intelligence re-circulated what their Florida agents learned to the FBI, who on one occasion used the agents’ data to seize a boat docked on the Miami River filled with arms and explosives and destined for Cuba.

In 1998, the FBI arrested the Cuban spy ring members. They got charged with conspiracy to commit espionage, but not with espionage. Gerardo Hernandez, their coordinator also got charged with conspiracy to commit murder, on the false assumption he had provided Havana with the flight schedules of Brothers to the Rescue planes that invaded Cuban airspace and got shot down, killing 2 pilots and 2 co-pilots. The government had no evidence to back up its charges. Indeed, Jose Basulto, leader of the Brothers group had announced the flight schedules. But a Florida jury convicted Gerardo and the judge gave him two consecutive life sentences. The others also received long prison terms. As Cuba compared the five to the worst cases of flase political imprisonment, Yoani offered a  banal pretext for freeing them.

Similarly, she reduced the political and moral significance Cuba’s government attached to the issues of Guantanamo and the embargo.

The irony of Yoani, virtually crowned by anti-Castro forces, including the US media and Congress, as the virtual Queen of Dissidents is that she made the key points the Cuban government has been making for more than a decade. But no one seemed to hear them. Neither government officials nor the press corps acknowledged them. The media focused on occasional interruptions of her speeches by angry leftists instead of reporting the contents of her talks. When she arrived in Congress and at the White House she received celebrity status, meaning the Members and White House staff celebrated the visit of an important person, paying little attention to the coincidence of her points and those of the Cuban government.

Not one mainstream story caught the irony of having Cuba’s leading dissident stating the very case the Cuban government has been presenting for years.

Yoani represents for the US media the technological age of communication, sending her weekly internet column, which she does from Cuban hotels for a small fee, and by flash drive from the US Interest Section and from other embassies. She spins each column as an attack on the communist government for failing to provide more efficient welfare state services to her and her son.

The princess of technological communication made her triumphant debut. But apparently, no one in power or belonging to mainstream media cared about what she said. The Cuban government, however, should be proud of her, nevertheless. She made their case, in different language, to the US Congress and White House and to the public. Alas, eyes saw, but ears closed.

Saul Landau’s FIDEL and WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP are available on dvd from cinemalibrestudio.com

Nelson P. Valdes is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 22, 2019
George Ochenski
Breaking the Web of Life
Kenneth Surin
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Helter Skelter
Enrique C. Ochoa – Gilda L. Ochoa
It’s About Time for Ethnic Studies in Our K-12 Schools
Steve Early
A GI Rebellion: When Soldiers Said No to War
Clark T. Scott
Sanders And Bezos’s Shared, Debilitating, Basic Premise
Dan Corjescu
The Metaphysics of Revolution
Mark Weisbrot
Who is to Blame for Argentina’s Economic Crisis?
Howard Lisnoff
To Protect and Serve
Cesar Chelala
A Palestinian/Israeli Experiment for Peace in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
No Deal Chaos: the Brexit Cliff Face and Operation Yellowhammer
Josue De Luna Navarro
For True Climate Justice, Abolish ICE and CBP
Dean Baker
The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone
August 21, 2019
Craig Collins
Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?
Colin Todhunter
Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Michael Welton
That Couldn’t Be True: Restorying and Reconciliation
John Feffer
‘Slowbalization’: Is the Slowing Global Economy a Boon or Bane?
Johnny Hazard
In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.
Tom Engelhardt
2084: Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Condescension and Climate Change: Australia and the Failure of the Pacific Islands Forum
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
The Dead Letter Office of Capitalist Imperium: a Poverty of Mundus Imaginalis 
George Wuerthner
The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)
Stephen Martin
Geopolitics of Arse and Elbow, with Apologies to Schopenhauer.
Gary Lindorff
The Smiling Turtle
August 20, 2019
James Bovard
America’s Forgotten Bullshit Bombing of Serbia
Peter Bolton
Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy
James Phillips
Calm and Conflict: a Dispatch From Nicaragua
Karl Grossman
Einstein’s Atomic Regrets
Colter Louwerse
Kushner’s Threat to Palestine: An Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Nyla Ali Khan
Jammu and Kashmir: the Legitimacy of Article 370
Dean Baker
The Mythology of the Stock Market
Daniel Warner
Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?
Frederick B. Mills
Monroeism is the Other Side of Jim Crow, the Side Facing South
Binoy Kampmark
God, Guns and Video Games
John Kendall Hawkins
Toni Morrison: Beloved or Belovéd?
Martin Billheimer
A Clerk’s Guide to the Unspectacular, 1914
Elliot Sperber
On the 10-Year Treasury Bonds 
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail