When I came to the United States from Argentina in 2005, I lived in the South. I remember going to Goodwill and finding a vintage poster from the 1950’s that said, “Cuba: Holiday Isle of the Tropics.” I bought it for 25 cents and hung it near my bed. Besides my touristic poster, and the music from Buena Vista Social Club, the little information I got about Cuba from the United States came from official Cuban websites in Spanish. Most of these outlets were regulated by the Communist party and didn’t mention much about anything besides official agenda news.
But things have changed. Raúl Castro took over for his ailing brother Fidel Castro in 2006 and while the Internet is still slow on the island, it’s now more accessible and censorship has lessened. Fusion Net recently reported that in the past 10 years, the percentage of Cubans using the Internet has raised from about four percent to 25 percent. Journalist Victoria Burnett wrote for the New York Times in December, “In recent years, especially in Havana, Cubans have begun talking more openly about the economy, the political leadership and the restrictions they resent.”
Most Internet content considered “anti-revolutionary” is filtered and blocked, but even the limited access to personal blogs and social media has allowed Cubans to enrich the virtual environment with a diversity of online voices. While the Cuban government denies that discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation is a problem in the country, online Cubans are finally able to make public their experiences dealing with sexism, racism, afro-Latina invisibility, and homophobia.
[Read the rest at Bitch Media]