Blogging from Havana

In the Cuba: Island of my heart myspace group I moderate we've been talking, among other things, about internet access Cubans living in the island may or may not have.

My sister sent me a link to a short YouTube video clip that talks about a blogger in Havana. The video clip also discusses the lack of internet access to Cubans.

Yoani Sanchez is the blogger. The Wall Street Journal reporter interviewing her tells us that for her to blog she "bluffs her way into internet cafes in tourist hotels that normally bar Cubans from entering...Cubans aren't allowed to have internet at home...public internet access available to Cubans is too slow to manage a blog...in October, her [Yoani's] blog had 1/2 a million hits. Her readers are mostly outside of Cuba..."

images of present day Cuba taken from the Wall Street Journal YouTube videoHonestly, I just can't get over how much today Cuba looks like what we normally think of as a third world country. Seeing Yoani walking thru the streets in Havana she might as well be walking through a destitude country. So much of the beauty, majesty, glory of Cuba seems to have gone with the wind of the government that has ruled it these almost past 50 years. ...Old Havana, drying clothes visible in crumbling homes that hint of a majestic age gone by...a butcher shop closed for siesta time is one no one in their right mind would want to buy any type of food, let alone meat from. It's filthy looking...can you imagine the diseases you're buying along with whatever meat you may be able to buy if your ration card says you're entitled to it and if there's any left after you've stood in line for hours???

Yoani Sanchez: Cuban blogger, blogging from HavanaI like what Yoani says towards the end of the video clip, "I think that each Cuban can do something to change things that they don't like. Some with more intensity and others with less. We need to be more honest about what one thinks...to try to act as if you were free even though there are political structures that tell you you're not..."

Even though I like that last statement I've been googling Yoani's name and folks are wondering whether she's for real. I know, I know, the never ending conspiracy theories!!! LOL. But really, ok, what she says is nice. But is it believable? Folks online are wondering if she's a plant of the communist government because, honestly, what are the odds that someone in Havana can keep up a blog critical of the Castros government? And others said if her being sent to jail would then validate her authenticity and others replied well that could also be set up to appear as if she's authentic and being persecuted for speaking the truth as so many other Cubans have done and ended up rotting in Cuban jails.

Bottom line is that Yoani is getting away with what historically has landed others in jail...or worse. According to the reporter Cubans aren't allowed to have internet access at their homes...they're normally barred from going to the internet cafes set up for tourists, yet Yoani manages to get in. If she's for real then may countless others such as her flourish and continue to broadcast what's going on in the island right now. If she's a planted PR piece, albet one that seems to criticize the current government, then may her cover be blown ASAP.

Here's her blog: Generation Y