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Cuba: Havana Hosts Social Networking Festival

The Festival Clic or “Click Festival” was hosted last week in Havana, Cuba, organized by bloggers on the island, most notably Yoani Sánchez, author of the blog Generación Y [es] and founder of the Cuban Blogger Academy.

The event had the support of the Spanish social web event EBE [es] and the independent Cuban organization Estado de SATS [es], which generally evades government control, organizing debates, conferences and expositions about the future of Cuba and its transition towards democracy.

In a post on her blog [es], Yoani Sánchez presented the objectives of the  event, which she considers to not be obliquely political; but rather, focused more generally on the blogging community:

The event is driven by various organizations, groups and individuals of civil society, but doesn't pander to any of their particular interests. Its character is technological, not ideological.

El logo del Festival Clic

With this festival, the organizers hoped to counteract other events revolving around social media that have been organized by the Cuban regime and made possible by journalists and bloggers who toe the government line. Sánchez wrote:

We won't use any type of political segregation, nor will we use an ideological criterion for selecting participants — and we surely won't participate in the exclusionary tactics that other Cuban blogger and Tweeter conventions have suffered.

Without specifically citing it, Sánchez was referencing the convention Blogazo x Cuba: Primer Encuentro de Blogueros en Revolución, which was celebrated in Matanzas and organized by the pro-government blog collective La Joven Cuba.

The event's final declaration made the organizers’ political agenda explicitly clear, expressing unfavorable opinions of bloggers who criticize the regime, dissidents who have been dubbed “mercenaries” by the pro-government community. The event also generated an intense debate between bloggers tolerated by the regime.

The Festival Clic was held from June 21st until the 23rd and included sessions focusing on Twitter, netizens’ rights, and the current situation of digital publications in Cuba. There will also be workshops exclusively dedicated to technology.

 

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