From Scripps Howard News Service:
Exiled Journalist Encourages Citizen Reporting in Cuba
Journalist Normando Hernández was imprisoned for seven years in Cuba after criticizing the country’s communist government.
Today, he is the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, where he studies how independent journalists may combat totalitarianism across the globe.
“The main road for a civil society is to inform citizens,” Hernández said through an interpreter at an NED luncheon Tuesday. “The Cuban government will not allow anything. We must take responsibility.”
Hernández suggested that the time is right to inspire change in the communist regime. He showed videos of rallies in Havana and elsewhere of Cuban citizens waving flags and shouting the Spanish words for freedom and justice, “Libertad!” and “Justicia!”
“These actions were impossible to take place 10 years ago,” he said. “They occur in public places, and citizens react positively to them.”
Hernández compared current independent media in Cuba to the Soviet policy of glasnost, which encouraged governmental openess and transperency.
The glasnost policy, however, was instituted by Mikhail Gorbachev’s government, while Fidel and Raul Castro have had nothing to do with the current change in Cuba.
“While all of this is incredibly significant,” Brandon Yoder, an NED program officer, said. “I think we are forcing the analogy if we go any further.”
Hernández suggested that starting small, hyper-local newspapers on the island would inspire action on the part of Cuban citizens. To encourage “citizen jouranlism,” he invoked another Soviet model, the Samizdat, a grassroots newsletter that spread information that the Soviet government did not want published.
“If citizens were given the real information, I guarantee that the Castro brothers would not be in power for another 47 hours,” he said. “These citizens could do journalism in the most basic sense, they could also participate in citizen journalism as we know it."
These newspapers, Hernández said, would help educate Cubans and give them facts that could in turn inspire social change throughout the country.
“When most Cubans are asked to define freedom, they do not know what it means. When they ask what is democracy, they are not sure. They do not know human rights,” he said. “The simple answer is, let’s help Cubans empower themselves.”
- ► 2013 (455)
06/10 - 06/17
- Encourage Citizen Reporting in Cuba
- Obama Should Stand Against Cuban Repression
- Nearly Two Dozen Ladies in White Imprisoned
- Speaking Truth to Cuba’s Despots
- Iranian Drones and Russian Kalashnikovs
- Health of American Hostage Worsens
- The Testimony That Enraged Castro
- Menendez & Rubio Talk With Antunez Upon Release
- Castro Official At Senate Hearing Revealed
- Thank You, President Uribe
- WSJ: Antunez's Courage, Castro's Payback
- Nelson Letter on Antunez's Arrest
- Today on "From Washington al Mundo"
- Must Watch: CNN Report on Antunez's Arrest
- European NGO's Call for Antunez's Release
- ING to Pay $619 Million for Sanctions Violations
- Chairman Kerry Statement on Antunez's Arrest
- Must Watch: On the Senate Floor
- Menendez Calls For Visa Ban and Investigation of A...
- Rubio Calls for Antunez's Release
- Mack Calls for Antunez's Release
- Ros-Lehtinen Calls for Antunez's Release
- Rivera Calls for Antunez's Release
- Senate Witness Arrested and Brutally Beaten
- Jacobson's Defense of the Indefensible
- O'Grady: Castro Endorses Obama
- Hiding Behind "Daddy"
- Repression Steadily on the Rise
- ▼ 06/10 - 06/17 (28)
- ► 2011 (1032)
- ► 2010 (1043)
- ► 2009 (933)