10 Cuban Bloggers You Should Know

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The Miami New Times' Erik Maza has compiled a list of, "Ten Cuban Bloggers You Haven't Heard Of."

His list is right on point. Please check them out, as they undertake great risk to inform the world about Cuba's realities (most have English translations, which we've linked):

Yoani Sanchez is on the cover of Italian Wired this month. In the three years she's been online, the 32-year-old blogger has become Cuba's Arianna Huffington.

​She's now a twitterer, a blogger on the actual Huffington Post, and her blog gets 14 million page views a month, according to the New York Times.

Last year, she even interviewed Obama. But there are other Cuban bloggers toiling away behind computers. Here are some you've never heard of.

1. Octavo Cerco: If Iranians used social networking sites, like Twitter, to organize street action, Cubans use their blogs. Claudia Cadelo, a young French teacher, updates her blog on a near daily basis, like a stock ticker, with the slightest political tremors en la isla. She says she's followed by secret police. A badge of honor, for sure.

2. Boring Home Utopics: La Habana is really like Great Expectations' Miss Havisham. This is the place to see it in all its decrepit glory. Orlando Luis Pardo, a photog, first took to the web when a state publisher dropped a book of his after he criticized the government online. He decided instead to publish the whole book on the blog, and now runs it as photolog.

3. Penultimos Dias: When you've fallen behind on your island news, go to Ernesto Hernández Busto's blog. It's a regularly updated aggregator of all things Cuban. Published from Spain, it's probably the best written of all the blogs, with regular contributions from censured writers still living in the country.

4. Laritza Diversent: Another young blogger, Diversent advises Cubans what their legal rights are under the country's spotty, rarely adhered to, constitution. Last year she blogged on the Huff about police beatings.

5. Re-evolucion: Sometimes it's easy to read these blogs and shrug them off: Depressing! But Alain Saavedra's is written in the young, pissed-off voice of the hip hop DJ that he is. On a recent post, he ragged on a youth concert sponsored by the government because it didn't invite any reactionary bands, like Porno Para Ricardo. Coincidentally, Saavedra was one of the people who received Porno front-man Gorki Aguila when he returned to La Habana last month.

6. The Voice of El Morro: Only 11 percent of the population has access to the internet. The government only grants free passwords to a small group, and for the other half it's unaffordable. Think of El Morro as Cuba's digital soapbox. It's a collection of grim testimonies from random residents, like a woman whose husband is on a hunger strike.

7. Voces Tras Las Rejas: In 2003, some 20 journalists were arrested for writing critical stories on the catastrofuck that is daily life in Cuba. The crackdown earned the nickname the Black Spring. All of the people arrested are still in jail, but they update this blog with stories on what it's like to be a political prisoner.

8. Desde Aqui: Of the 200 estimated blogs, some 25 of them have a journalistic bent, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Reinaldo Escobar, who used to be a reporter for the state press, has been furiously covering the recent spate of protests in the wake of dissident Zapato Tamayo's death, paying special attention to Las Damas en Blanco that inspired Gloria Estefan's march on Calle Ocho.

9. Fake Cuban News: Recent headline: Russia's Centers for Medical Sciences Ready To Embalm Fidel When Necessary. Been reading our death-meter, have you?

10. El Auditorio Del Imbecil: All the blogs use the inter-webs to mock El Maximo and rail against the inadequacies of the government. But Ciro, a 31-year-old Jason Mraz-ish musician, does it in song.