The morning of Tuesday January 17th began with the home of independent dissident blogger Luis Felipe Rojas, in San German, Holguin, surrounded by a tight police vigilance operation, which consisted of armed and uniformed forces of the National Revolutionary Police, the Political Police, and the Rapid Response Brigades. The vigilance was so strong that even the eastern Lady in White Mildred Sanchez Infante was arrested as she was trying to arrive to the home of Rojas.
But why so much vigilance for a journalist, someone who just reports what they see or what their conscience dictates? The answer, Rojas supposes, is that he has been teaching workshops on new technologies and journalism tactics to numerous dissidents from Holguin throughout the past month.
The dissident explains that “within the Eastern Democratic Alliance, we have agreed on assuming the task of getting these new technologies into the hands of human rights activists whether or not they are independent journalists, or whether or not they have a blog in which they express their ideas, and to teach them to become the sources of news, reporting about arrests, etc“.
Through the numerous workshops, the author of ‘Crossing the Barbed Wire’ aspires to also “educate citizens on the basics of journalism so that human rights activists learn to make denouncements, write news, and simply use the new technologies“.
Rojas has published a summary of some of the most recent technological workshops he has taught in one of his latest blog entries. On Monday, January 16th, he taught another course to members of the dissident groups Republican Party of Cuba and Republican Youth Impact at the home of independent journalist Jose Ramon Pupo Nieve. “We practiced the same techniques. It was a mix of ideas, so that activists could debate and learn how to use alternative tools“, explained the blogger.
Ironically, after offering numerous workshops on internet and programs such as Twitter and blogs, Luis Felipe Rojas noticed that on the morning of the 17th his cell phone had been blocked. “I could not send out any multimedia information- in other words photos, videos, and audios“, denounced Rojas, directly accusing the state-run Cuban phone company known as Cubacel. “It is all the responsibility of the Cubacel corporation which is directed by State Security, whom have denied me service as a measure of repression and censorship. It is State Security themselves who decide who will enjoy benefits in this country and who will not“.
Once again, the Cuban dictatorship has shown that it feels a profound fear not only of public demonstrations but also of the free flow of information.