Friday, August 20, 2010

Cuban blogger starts digital magazine

Posted on Friday, 08.20.10
Cuban blogger starts digital magazine
Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo said `Voces' is `a vehicle for the rainbow of
opinions in this critical moment that Cuba is going through.'

An independent Cuban blogger has launched the island's first digital
magazine, with a variety of contributions from well-known authors in and
out of the country but free of ``any type of -isms.''

``It's a vehicle for the rainbow of opinions in this critical moment
that Cuba is going through,'' said Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, editor of
Voces, or Voices.

``We want a more rational Cuba, without any type of -isms,'' the
38-year-old Pardo said by phone from his home in Havana.

The magazine's debut Monday marked yet another expansion of the island's
blogosphere, where Cubans are increasingly writing about everything from
their frustrations with daily life to dissident activities and praise
for the government.

About 200 Cubans, usually journalists working for official media, write
blogs that have government approval and about 100 others identify
themselves as ``independent'' bloggers, expressing a range of criticisms
of the country's communist system.

Voces' first issue carried 22 articles by authors such as popular Havana
bloggers Yoani Sánchez and Claudia Cadelo, Miami essayist Emilio
Ichikawa, Havana writers Ena Lucia Portela and Wendy Guerra and Ivan de
la Nuez, Antonio Jose Ponte and Juan Abreu, who all live in Spain.

``The group of writers they have are among the best young Cuban voices
anywhere,'' said Ted Henken, a Baruch College professor who follows the
island's bloggers and writes his own, El Yuma.

Sánchez's article in Voces, commenting on Fidel Castro's recent public
appearances, noted that ``the man who was known as No. 1, the maximum
leader, The Horse, or by the simple personal pronoun `He,' now appears
shorn of his former charisma to confirm that THAT Fidel Castro --
fortunately -- will not return.''

With 66 pages in PDF format to allow faster downloads, the magazine uses
eye-catching graphics and high-resolution photos, all in black and white
except for a color cover photo of the vastness of the ocean off Havana.

By Wednesday, Voces had received more than 700 visitors in just one of
the several blogs that posted it, and Pardo said copies were circulating
in Cuba on CDs, flash drives and the domestic network known as the

Though the Cuban government blocks access to dissidents' blogs, people
on the island can access the magazine on proxy servers, using the
country's many computer clubs and computers at government offices. Pardo
said a friend with a printer also had run off five hard copies of the
magazine, with the hope they would be photocopied and passed on to other

A 38-year-old graduate in biochemistry from the University of Havana,
Pardo said he left the field 10 years ago and has been working as an
independent photographer, writer and blogger.

He also produces the blog, Boring Home Utopics, which describes itself
as ``the Collective Memories from a Unique Man in the Brave New
Zoociety'' and Pardo as a ``postographer'' who ``resides and resists in

Pardo said Voces, which he hopes to issue monthly, has no editorial
policy and welcomes writers with all kinds of opinions.

Asked about the possibility that Cuban authorities will try to block him
from publishing a second edition, he told El Nuevo Herald that he was
optimistic. ``This is a magazine that is nowhere and everywhere,'' Pardo
said. ``Now we'll see if this yeast ferments and we can make a delicious

Voces can be viewed at

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