It’s not an exaggeration to say that the events in Egypt and Tunisia have many tyrants and dictators across the world in worry-fits. The successful popular uprisings that were fueled by the oppressive heavy-hand of those governments were in turn generated by the Internet and social media. If you’re a dictator the last thing you want is for people to talk freely to each other and make plans.
So it didn’t surprise me to see the reports out of Cuba. We’ll take the source into account, but, Fox News Latino says:
In a 53-minute video leaked last week, a Cuban counter-intelligence staffer warned an audience of Castro government officials that pro-Democracy organizers in Cuba and the United States were using social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to foment a political uprising in the island nation.
“The technology in itself is not a threat, but the threat is what the people who use the technology can do with it,” the lecturer said in the video, identified by the Miami Herald as 38-year-old Eduardo Fontes-Suarez. “The Internet is a battlefield.”
So it’s ON! One of the Cuban bloggers that were sited in the report was Yoani Sanchez, who criticizes the Castro regime in her blog Generacion Y. I’ve been following Yoani on Twitter (@yoanisanchez) for about a year and plan to follow her tweets even more closely. Especially now since the Cuban government did what I’d consider counterintuitive, from the Castro regime’s standpoint:
But the Cuban government has taken steps that seemingly contradict the premise that they fear the Internet. On Tuesday, Cuban authorities recently unblocked Sanchez’ blog, allowing it to be accessed and read within the island for the first time.
The truth, though, is that the pro-democracy movements in the middle east have sparked the imagination of people across the globe who see the possibility of peaceful revolution and change. Couple that with the Internet’s global reach and you have a situation that would make any tyrant shudder.
And while we have yet to understand the full implications of the Egyptian revolution and the impact it will have in the region and the future, it’s still a great thing to witness.
The wonder of the Internet is that we can share our excitement and opinions with people from all over the world. Yoani has a great post about the events in Egypt. Give it a read.
[Photo courtesy Generacion Y]