I’ve been following the reactions of Cuban bloggers to last week’s Congress, and I’ve been surprised to find more commentary about the dynamics of the Congress itself than anything else. Many have criticized Party leaders for keeping the Congress closed to the public–this seems like a fair point. Certain documents, mainly the transcripts of Raul’s speeches, have been printed in the major dailes; Granma has records of certain Congress proceedings, but accessing these files online is all but impossible for most Cubans. It’s not clear to me what else is available for Cubans who don’t have Internet access.
One blog that I hadn’t seen until recently, Kimbombo que resbala, had some coverage of Cubans’ reactions to the Congress. Kimbombo has a favorable view of the government, but unlike many blogs of this kind, the author, Deisy Francis Mexidor, actually interviews people and asks for their opinions. I like it. Here is one of her posts on the Congress [es].
Then there are others, like Laritza Diversent, who suggest that the public has little interest in this information, since it may not matter much in the long run. Diversent was quoted commenting on this on the English translation site of Pedazos de la Isla:
“From my point of view, the Congress was totally insignificant, because they say one thing there but what they do in reality is something else. […] Taking these processes into account, they celebrate their Congress, they take their measures, and they reach agreements upon themselves. There is no restructuring of the Party and there is no democratic restructuring either. But none of this has any importance for the citizens of Cuba. It has no importance in comparison to the importance it has outside of Cuba. And this is precisely because very few Cubans are interested in politics, or simply they do not understand it. And they feel this way because of the “back and forth” of the government, while one day it says one thing, tomorrow it’ll say another, and so on. Because of this insecurity, we do not pay any attention to this Congress.”
Ouch. Diversent is associated with the “critical” or “dissident” bloggers who most often make the news–Yoani Sanchez, Claudia Cadelo, et cetera, but I think she’s often more cynical (perhaps more realistic) than some of her contemporaries, particularly when it comes to the Cuban public’s appetite for change. I appreciate her honesty.