Como Los Censurados Practican La Censura

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Blogger is blocked by anti-internet censorship site

(Una version en Ingles de este articulo se encuentra AQUI)

He sido bloqueado por un usuario de Twitter que dice ser un canal para los que no tienen voz y son oprimidos en Cuba. Esto nunca me habia sucedido a mí.

Yo confundi este sitio, cuyo eslogan dice: “La prensa libre es la madre de todas nuestras libertades y de nuestro progreso bajo la libertad” y que retuitea este tipo de mensaje: “Internet es nuestra fuerza, no nos pueden callar!” con un lugar donde la discusión honesta sobre las cuestiones importantes se podía llevar acabo y donde la crítica justa y constructiva sería bienvenida.

Parece que me equivocaba.

Al parecer ofendi a alguien cuando me queje de chistes chocantes y homofóbicos, de comentarios racistas y de propaganda de la ultra-derecha Estadounidense. Yo no he podido encontrar ninguna otra razón. Y para comprender mejor lo que pasó, voy a hacer un breve recuento de los acontecimientos que llevaron a mi “prohibición”.

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How the Censored Practice Internet Censorship

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Blogger is blocked by anti-internet censorship site

(A Spanish version of this post is HERE)

I’ve been blocked by a Twitter user who claims to be an outlet for the voiceless and oppressed in Cuba. This is a first one for me.

I mistook  this site, which displays this slogan: “The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty” and that retweets this kind of message:  “Internet is our force, they can not silence us!” for a place where honest discussion about important issues could be had and where fair and constructive criticism would be welcomed.

It appears that I was mistaken.

I must have gotten on somebody’s bad side for complaining about crude, homophobic jokes, racist remarks and U. S. Right Wing propaganda. I could not come up with any other reason. So in order to better understand what happened, I’ll do a brief recounting of the events that led up to my “banning.”

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Internet Technology to the Rescue

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From today’s New York Times, good news for oppressed societies yearning to — use the internet — be free:

Seeking to exploit the Internet’s potential for prying open closed societies, the Obama administration will permit technology companies to export online services like instant messaging, chat and photo sharing to Iran, Cuba and Sudan, a senior administration official said Sunday.

On Monday, he said, the Treasury Department will issue a general license for the export of free personal Internet services and software geared toward the populations in all three countries, allowing Microsoft, Yahoo and other providers to get around strict export restrictions.

Here’s the (imperfect) translation, for my Cuban blogger friends:

Buscando tomar ventaja del potencial del Internet para abrir sociedades cerradas, la administracion del Presidente Obama permitira a compañias tecnologicas exportar servicios de internet como mensajes instantaneos, chat y compartimiento de fotos a Iran, Cuba y Sudan, un representante de la administracion dijo el Domingo.

Hoy Lunes, el Departamento de Estado aprovara una licensia de tipo general para la exportacion de servicios gratuitos y software (?) dirijido a los ciudadanos  de estos tres paises, permitiendo a Microsoft, Yahoo y otros provedores evadir las estrictas restricciones de exportacion.

There’s more (en ingles)

The Havana-Brussels Freedom Link (Updated)

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Conference image © 2010 by Gregory Engels

UPDATE: The audio of the conference is now available HERE (Please repost freely)

The Greens/European Free Alliance, a European parliamentary group, held an online conference in Brussels today titled “Blogging for Democracy – Cuba, the European Union and the influence of Web 2.0”

It featured Cuban bloggers Yoani Sánchez (Blog: Generacion Y), Claudia Cadelo (Blog: Octavo Cerco), Luis Pardo (Blog: Lunes de Post-Revolución), Miriam Celaya (Blog: Sin EVAsion), Reynaldo Escobar (Blog: Desde Aquí) and others.

The Cuban bloggers took turns addressing the conference. The discussion focused on the need for:

an open debate about the situation in Cuba and the Blogger Movement as a possibility to raise one’s voice regardless of the media censorship in Cuba. The conference also challenges how EU policy on Cuba is seen on the island and what future role the EU should play.

I followed the proceedings through the live-blogging of Henrik Alexandersson on The Embedded Citizen. He did a great job transcribing the conversation — even with multiple telephone line disconnects — taking place at the European Parliament building.

His blog’s comments section also served as a platform for discussion and a conduit to forward questions to the speakers and the Cuban bloggers on the phone — apparently 20 of them in a room somewhere in Havana.

Here is a portion of his great reporting:

– Phone lines working.

– Franziska Brantner, German Greens, greats everyone welcome and says hallo to Cuban bloggers. She states that it is important that we face the difficult Cuba issue.

– Cristian Engström, Swedish Pirate Party, talks about how the internet (web sites, blogs, forums, Twitter etc.) helps people in oppressed parts of the world to organise in opposition. He also underlines that the Internet also is important for transparency and openness in our part of the world.

– Manuel Desdin is talking about how Cuban bloggers have taken citizens journalism to a new level – and that this really is changing the Cuban society.

– Benoît Hervieu, Reporters sans frontièrs, tells us how bloggers in Cuba often must try to use the hotels wireless networks. He tells us how the regime bullies bloggers and filter the Internet. Even “ordinary” journalists have the same problem. He is afraid that this will get worst the next few months.

– He continues by telling us that the Cuban Regime are going more nervous and aggressive. But he thinks that contacts between Cuba oppositionals and people in the outside world might hold back this development.

– Susan Dennisson, Amnesty, touches on several aspects of Cuban oppression. When it comes to the technical aspects of Internet in Cuba, she would like to know if the EU can help in any way.

– SD also tells us that Cuban Post Offices have started to provide (limited) Internet access.

– Phone line down. Redialing in progress.

I was told that an audio recording of the event will be available soon. I’ll post it as soon as it becomes available. The hashtag to follow on Twitter for this event is #cubanbloggers. There are more photo’s of the conference on Gregory Engel’s Flickr page. He has a post of the event on his blog as well.

The conference ended in a hopeful note:

– All 20 bloggers around the phone in Cuba says hallo to you all – and hope that we will stay connected. With better connections.