Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
A few days ago, on Tuesday 27th and for a couple of hours, more than a hundred people (most of them young) exchanged ideas about the events of July 11th in the country. In a panel -organized by the La Manigua collective and transmitted in its voice chat under the leadership of psychologist and activist Karima Oliva Bello- we listened to the remarks of Verónica Medina (actress and vice-coordinator of La Madriguera), Iramís Rosique (member of the Editorial Board of La Tizza and specialist of the Network in Defense of Humanity) and José Ernesto Nováez (journalist and writer, coordinator of the Cuban Chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity). I don’t know if they have participated in a voice chat on Telegram, a messaging application that (like the popular WhatsApp or the Cuban Todus) which allows the gathering of communities in a virtual “living room” in which they “converse” in real-time, thanks to the exchange of audio messages.
After the initial comments by the panelists, the exchange was open to the participation of more than a hundred listeners who gathered for the occasion. Then a range of ideas flowed that covered, among many other issues, aspects as diverse as the pointing out of errors in the political and/or cultural work within disadvantaged populations; assessments of the relevance or error of having eliminated spaces for collective development such as the scholarship system or the pioneer camps; the substitution of political work (discursive, explanatory, dialogic, pedagogical) for superficial administrative vision (which stops at the management of figures, flows and operations); the need to undertake a profound renovation of structures of popular power such as the CDRs, the FMC and the Poder Popular itself; the obligation for the state and political apparatuses to continuously revive their interactions with the citizens. This is needed so that, in the midst of a relentless economic, political, ideological and cultural war against Cuban socialism, any sign of estrangement, distance or alienation between the population and these directive bodies is prevented.
In addition, there is the need to reinvent the discourses and ways of communicating; the request to eliminate any demand for an active revolutionary policy that continuously rectifies problems of vulnerability, poverty, marginality and their cultural, behavioral, social and educational consequences, social integration and personal fulfillment; the need to increase the participation and, in general, the leading role of young people in society, whether in concrete actions or in the reflection and dissemination of new ideas; the demands on the mass media regarding the importance of showing a more active role, as well as greater immediacy and depth in the analysis and dissemination of the country’s problems, the continuous presence of such problems/demands in the various party instances, the efforts bu State agencies to solve or mitigate them and, most importantly, the placement in the foreground of the communities’ responses; the need to change models of action and/or communication to make the fight against corruption, state bureaucracy, “campaigning” and the weaknesses of the media itself more transparent.
A day earlier, on July 25, this same voice chat had connected us live with the arrival at the Capitol in Washington of the members of Puentes de Amor, a project of solidarity with Cuba and the fight against the blockade, coordinated by Carlos Lazo in the United States. Weeks before, in another transmission, also made from the space of social networks, the collectives of Bufa Subversiva, Brújula Sur, Cimarronas, Horizontes Blog and La Tizza met to create the “collaborative broadcasting channel” Malas compañías. There they developed another very interesting discussion, which they titled Comunidad lgtbiq+ en Cuba. Where are we and where are we going?
These are names of new spaces for the presentation and discussion of ideas, as well as actors to postulate them. In communicational terms, the transformation leads to the obligation to assimilate and produce for a world in which greater speed, diversity and integration between text, audio, still images and video messages are imposed. In addition to the above, a world where exchanges become more challenging, captivating and interactive the greater the dialogicity.
On the one hand, I am interested in listening, and I confess to having enjoyed these exchanges of opinion in territories that require me to abandon my clumsiness in the handling of digital communication technologies, and to quickly incorporate myself into the many options offered by the universe of social networks, blogs, websites, podcasts, voice chats and other alternatives for establishing contact. I believe that there is an enormous potential that political and mass organizations, state entities, neighborhood structures and the most diverse projects of social transformation need to assume, integrate into their work and daily practices, and make the critical analysis of problems, communicative transparency, participation and social dialogue in the country increasingly diverse, extensive, deep and significant in its transformative character.