Monday, June 25, 2012

Citizen Insomnia

Citizen Insomnia / Luis Felipe Rojas
Luis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.

As I write this post, the "#FestivalCLIC" (or 'Click Festival') is
underway in Havana–a citizen undertaking to try and channel information
between Cubans in the island. May Cuba connect to the world, and the
world connect to Cuba, or as the graffiti-artist El Sexto says: "Gimme
Cable", alluding to the lack of connectivity.

I was not able to attend this event in Havana due to transportation
inefficiency and other atmospheric pressures. I would have liked to
comment about alternative publications which I have felt very close to
within the past couple of years.

For some weeks now, a restless cyber-activist has been drowning our
phones with messages which contain news and reports about the most
current happenings in regards to Cuba. His name is Alfredo Viso, and he
is a former Cuban political prisoner who now resides in New Jersey.

Through an option provided by Cubacel (somewhat similar to 'SMS to
Cuba'), Viso created an account with which he communicates with us, and
at the same time, we can respond to him through an SMS for the price of
0.9 cents CUC. We could not do it any other way. Another very
interesting resource is a service which allows you to leave a voice
message in a mailbox. It's free and you can talk for 1 minute. From
Cuba, one can call the number: 11914388003514, after the signal we
identify ourselves, we leave a message, and if necessary, we dial again,
identify ourselves again, and continue our denouncement. From there,
numerous friends take on the task of distributing it throughout the

What happens is that, even with his hyper-activity, Alfredo Viso cannot
do it all. He needs other hands to join him in solidarity to send us all
news about Cuba. That's what he is asking, that the solidarity multiply
itself towards the inside. "May the initiatives rain down", he told me
the other night through a message of 140 characters.

The mentioned "Click Festival" has already been accused of being an
antecedent of an invasion of the island: the same old resentments, the
same arguments. A few days ago, they had prohibited Viso the possibility
of continuing to send message from his cell phone to Cuba, so he was
doing it from his computer.

The same machinery of censorship, the same mower of new ideas, the same
nineteenth-century argument of feeling that we are going to be invaded,
used to leave citizens out of place and later sentence them with the
accustomed impunity.

Translated by Raul G.

24 June 2012

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