The Future of Freedom in Cuba

On May 19, 2013, I attended “The Future Freedom in Cuba,” at the CATO Institute in Washington, DC.  The speakers were very prominent Cuban independent journalists fighting for the democratization of Cuba; Yoani Sanchez, an avid blogger and Orlando Lazo, free-lance writer and established first Cuban online news website. Both of the speakers were arrested, harassed, and beat for trying to let the truth of the “real” life in Cuba escape. The event started with Yoani Sanchez expanding on her personal experience with the heavy control of the Cuban government on internet censorship and media site banishment. Sanchez’s stance on the governments attempt to stop communication was based on her opinions that with the mass use of sites like Twitter, will break down the Cubans intangible walls of censorship. A prominent idea that Sanchez presented was that the more people who get the information of Cuba’s society out, that the information has the potential to corrode the regime of silence. The second speaker Lazo is not afraid to do anything to get his voice heard and has been punished multiple times for speaking out against the Cuban regime. Lazo stated that “language is a tool that has been taken away since the Castro regime.”  Lazo felt as though the government has tried to oppress the Cuban people in every way possible, and the Generation Y youth are not afraid to speak out and fight for change. In agreement with Sanchez, Lazo feels that these various media sites are an outlet and “free-zone” for people to get the information out and get more involvement. During the question and answer segment of the event, Sanchez was asked what her views on the embargo were, and she explained that the “embargo was used as an excuse for everything.” She expanded by stating that the Cuban government uses the embargo as the cause to why they are imposing certain policies and actions towards the citizens. In closing, both speaker Lazo and Sanchez spoke on their fears of the people giving up the fight to spread the world and just abandoning the country. Sanchez stated that the people should not want to simply run away, but to stand as one and gain support, to democratize the nation that can do so many things, if the support was there.

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