Cables: 09HAVANA221, 10HAVANA9, 09HAVANA592
According to US government cables leaked by WikiLeaks, American diplomats based in Havana believe that the Cuban regime fears the country’s bloggers much more than “traditional” dissidents.
In a cable dated 15 April 2009, Jonathan Farrar of the US Interests Section in Havana said the dissident movement in Cuba has become as “old and as out of touch” with the lives of ordinary Cubans as the regime itself. “We see very little evidence that the mainline dissident organizations have much resonance among ordinary Cubans,” he wrote, adding that they nonetheless were the “conscience of Cuba” and deserved US support.
In a cable sent on 20 December 2009, Farrar said the Cuban government saw bloggers as its “most serious challenge.” Referring to Cuba’s netizens as “a group that frustrates and scares the [government of Cuba] like no other,” he said their reporting of the arrests and mistreatment they underwent constituted a useful political tool.
“The bloggers’ mushrooming international popularity and their ability to stay one tech-step ahead of the authorities are causing serious headaches in the regime,” Farrar wrote, adding: “We believe it is the younger generation of ‘non-traditional dissidents’ that is likely to have a greater long term impact on post-Castro Cuba.”
Another cable noted: “Younger individuals, including bloggers, musicians, and performing and plastic artists do not belong to identifiable organizations, though they are much better at taking ‘rebellious’ stands with greater popular appeal.”