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New on the Freedom Collection: Ernesto Hernández Busto

Article by Lindsay Lloyd February 1, 2013 //   3 minute read

Vea esta entrada de blog en español aquí.Watch the new interview with Ernesto Hernández Busto, a Cuban essayist, journalist and blogger and a recognized authority on technology and democracy. Mr. Hernandez discusses how new technologies are posing a challenge to the regime in Cuba:  “To what extent do the new media really affect dissidents?  To what extent can they shake up governments?  Can they push authoritarian regimes to a crisis point?  I believe in the Cuban case there are reasons to be optimistic.  It´s not just that new technologies are a new way of spreading information, but they also generate a different logic for the protests, a logic that is starting to be copied or imitated by the traditional dissidents because they have realized that it works.  Whether the government keeps quiet or represses, the consequences are still negative for them in the short term.” Technology, according to Mr. Hernandez, has opened new doors for the Cuban opposition:  “Traditional dissident movements in Cuba have been trying for many years to make their demands visible, fair demands without a doubt, demands that have been suppressed for obvious reasons.  The dissident in Cuba would not have been able to generate an international reaction, and at the same time, would not have been able to connect with exiles in the same way.  So I think the fact that now there are people from a new generation, people from a ‘new phase,’ so to speak, linked to the new technologies, has created an important effect.  A turning point, I think.” As a young man, he became active in the Paideia movement, a group of artists and writers that sought to reform cultural policy in Cuba.  The response of security forces to this group of young intellectuals influenced his decision to emigrate.  At the age of 21, he left Cuba “to escape the oppressive atmosphere of a totalitarian society, which was suffocating in all areas of life.” Since 2006, he has edited and published Penúltimos Días (www.penultimosdias.com), one of the most important websites on Cuban issues, with more than 70 contributors in 12 countries and over 10 million page views.  His blog is widely recognized as among the most authoritative and comprehensive websites covering events in Cuba. Watch the interview with Ernesto Hernandez Busto here. Vea esta entrada de blog en español aquí.   This blog post was written by Lindsay Lloyd, Program Director of the Freedom Collection.