The regime is now using free Internet access to lure people to its
BORIS GONZÁLEZ ARENAS | La Habana | 3 de Noviembre de 2016 - 19:10 CET.
On Monday, 17 October, 2016 Josefina Vidal, a leading Cuban official
involved in negotiations with the US, showed up at the University of
Havana for a public appearance before students there. Vidal was supposed
to talk about the US embargo, and dispel hopes of improvements for Cuba
as a result of negotiations in which, contradictorily, she has been one
of the main agents.
To turn people out the Cuban Government resorted to offering free
Internet via Wi-Fi in the location where their official was going to
speak. Young people from various higher, secondary and technical
education facilities communicated with each other via SMS to announce
the unique opportunity of a connection they could actually afford; in a
country where the minimum wage is around ten dollars per month, one hour
of Internet costs around two dollars, or one-fifth of that. The
Government's intention was clear: to attract thousands of young people
to the university square where Vidal was, "just coincidentally," going
to be speaking.
To implement this there were two trucks that, once the official had
finished speaking, withdrew, as if part of her entourage.
Yuniel Labacena Romero, the official news editor who would cover the day
for Juventud Rebelde, was not bothered by this. To do her job it was
enough for her to get some photos of young people looking at their
phones, and another with Josefina Vidal sitting on a stool wearing a
simple pullover, in contrast to the elegant clothing she normally dons
for intergovernmental meetings.
The spectacle of mass congregations are a necessity for the Castro
regime. Totalitarian powers tend to lead marches before they lead
governments. A contempt for rules, and a cult of hysteria and hostility
towards dialogue are manifested in everyday life after been first
experienced in these types of tumultuous happenings.
But the human temperament requires repose, which leads to more prudence
and better judgment. For the powers that be, exalted by crowds, both of
these are dangerous developments. With previous sources of public
mobilization exhausted, totalitarian governments need to employ new
instruments. Wars are formidable occasions for this. The height of
totalitarianism has always coincided with military conflict. In
peacetime, however, it is necessary to devise other methods, though
their motivations are less extraordinary and results less effective.
Tragic dates, sporting victories and favorable votes are part of the
mobilization tools used by the Castro regime, which is now testing a new
one: free Internet.
"When a hornet's nest stings" was the title of the article published by
Juventud Rebelde to describe the university function. The author
compared the activity to that of a swarm of insects, which can be very
dangerous when attacking all together. It also claimed that fluttering
about there (I suppose like a kind of bumblebee) was Susely Morfa
González, the first secretary of the Union of Young Communists (UJC),
best known for a video that went viral during the last Summit of the
Americas in Panama, in which she claimed, frantically, that she had
travelled to that country on her own savings.
A few days ago a friend of mine informed me that of the 50 Economics
graduates from her daughter's class graduating in June of 2015, only 13
remained in Cuba. Her daughter knows this because she is in Spain, where
she is, undoubtedly, able to connect to the Internet without any
obstacles to track her classmates' transnational whereabouts. And those
who turned up at that university square were probably seizing the
occasion to check out destinations where they might go after they
graduate, as these wasps are, no doubt, more focused on flying off than
This is a great shame, as under normal circumstances our university
graduates would be essential to the future of our country. But Castroism
continues to build an insurmountable wall between them and that future.
Source: The regime is now using free Internet access to lure people to
its political events | Diario de Cuba -