Cuba's Irreversible Internet

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Media Outlet: the Huffington Post

Laritza Diversent, a Cuban lawyer, once explained why she wrote a blog. She said that her daily realities were not reflected in the Cuban media. She started blogging to "show my country as I see it and feel it."

Those words illustrate the power of the Internet in Cuba. In countries where the state controls the media narrative, the Internet allows ordinary people to tell their own stories. Over the years, determined activists like Laritza have made great efforts to get online. They would save their writing on flash drives and then post their blogs from hotels or embassies. But they are a minority. Because Internet access has been so limited and expensive, most ordinary Cubans have remained disconnected. As a result, their voices are not heard outside of the Island.

Ernesto López, a photographer from Havana, put it this way: "The Cubans who are online are mostly government officials and a few dissidents. Neither represent the majority of the Cuban population who have our own Cuba, the Cuba of all of us."

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Emily Parker is a Future Tense Fellow and was a Class of 2014 Fellow with the Fellows Program at New America. As a fellow, she wrote Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2014).