Operation Truth

Note: we are working on a translation of the video

For years I’ve wanted to ask Eliécer Ávila certain questions. Since I first heard him speak and present himself in January of 2008, I was tempted to ask about what it really meant to be a member of Operation Truth, what role did a soldier of the web play. But time passed, events piled up, difficulties arose, and only in August of last year were we able to have a conversation about it. What he told me exceeded my expectations and confirmed my fears that the ideological battle has shifted, in part, to cyberspace. So all those theories of trolls taking shape in the laboratories of State Security, of olive-green hackers and blogs created for the sole purpose of diverting attention, were corroborated with this interview.

Glued to their keyboards and screens with a pre-established script, our kilobyte police leave an easily detected trail. Their main strategy is not to rebut arguments or counter ideas, but to denigrate and discredit the citizen who criticizes the system. “Shooting the messenger” summarizes the premise of those who focus not on what was said, but on who said it. Every word that Eliécer shared with me encapsulated in a significant way part of what has happened to me in the last six years, since I opened Generation Y. Sometimes, I confess, I thought they were paranoid delusions in my mind, but now I have no doubts: the Cuban authorities are spending thousands of hours on the internet and unimaginable resources each year to counter some peaceful citizens who are simply offering our opinions.

These lines are probably being read by Operation Truth’s new militias, so I want to take advantage of this to send them the following message, “I know you are there, indeed, you can’t hide that you are there. The work you do is the work of repression, the work of restricting the freedom of Cubans. Instead of silencing others, you should defend your ideas boldly, not hiding behind pseudonyms and taking advantage of technological superiority. If you really believe in what you promulgate you wouldn’t have to appeal to such despicable methods to make your case. Don’t crush, convince. Don’t try to annul those who think differently, better you learn to live with them.”

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114 thoughts on “Operation Truth

  1. Just so everyone knows. Cuba Libre tried to post comments on this site from Varadero but he found out that that this site is not working in Cuba.

  2. 291 RCR said: “can anyone give be the website of a Brazillian newspaper that is covering Ms.”the glass is half full”Sanchezs world troting propaganda vacation”

    HERE ARE JUST A FRACTION OF ALL THE NEWSPAPERS IN BRAZIL WHO ARE COVERING YOANI SANCHEZ’ TRIP DEAR! IF YOU CLICK THE LINK YOU CAN SEE MORE! JE JE JE!

    Blogueira cubana Yoani Sánchez chega à Bahia
    Globo . com-6 horas atrás

    Blogueira Yoani Sánchez chega ao Brasil e é recebida por …
    Último Segundo – iG-5 horas atrás

    Yoani Sánchez acha “lindo” protesto em que teve cabelo puxado
    Jornal do Brasil-2 horas atrás

    Yoani Sánchez desembarca no Brasil e diz que não vê avanço do …
    Globo . com-6 horas atrás

    Blogueira cubana Yoani Sánchez chega ao Brasil
    Revista Época-8 horas atrás
    A dissidente cubana Yoani Sánchez chegou na madrugada desta segunda-feira (18) ao Brasil, primeira etapa de uma viagem de 80 dias que …

    Blogueira cubana Yoani Sánchez chega a Bahia nesta segunda (18)
    Ibahia . com-6 horas atrás
    A dissidente cubana e blogueira Yoani Sánchez chega nesta segunda (18) pela manhã a Feira de Santana, onde participa de debates e …

    Yoani Sánchez é recebida com protesto em Salvador
    R7-6 horas atrás
    Após rápida passagem por Recife (PE), a opositora cubana Yoani Sánchez desembarcou na manhã desta segunda-feira (18) no Aeroporto …

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=pt-BR&gl=br&tbm=nws&q=yoani+sanchez&oq=yoani+sanchez&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i400.3515.5371.0.7963.13.2.0.11.0.0.203.326.0j1j1.2.0…0.0…1ac.1.NgUdHsKi_Lw

  3. CUBAN DISSIDENT YOANI SANCHEZ EVEN IN NEW YORK CITY!
    FRIDAY, MARCH 15 Hemmerdinger Hall, New York University, 100 Washington Square East
    4:00 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
    4:30 KEYNOTE: Yoani Sanchez

    8:00 VIDEO PROGRAM: DESPERTAR (2011) and OPERACION ALFA (2012)
    Ricardo Figueredo Oliva /53 Washington Square East.

    SATURDAY, MARCH 16 The New School, 55 W. 13th St., Room 5311
    12:00-2:00 THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN CUBA: ITS RELEVANCE AND IMPACT
    Panelists: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Ted Henken, Ariana Hernandez-Reguant
    Moderator: Coco Fusco.

    3:00-5:00 CUBA IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT: SOCIAL MEDIA AND POLITICAL CHANGE
    Panelists: John Kelly, Yoani Sanchez, Nitin Sawhney, Thomas Werner
    Moderator: Sean Jacobs

    7:00 DIRECT FROM HAVANA, CUBA: PABLO MENENDEZ AND MEZCLA NYC

    SUNDAY, MARCH 17 The New School, 55 W. 13th St., Room 531

    12:00-2:00 THE DEVELOPMENT OF AUTONOMOUS CULTURAL AND PUBLIC SPHERES IN CUBA TODAY
    Panelists: Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, Ana Dopico, Pablo Menendez, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo Moderator: Chris Stover

    3:00-5:00 PLENARY SESSION WHAT’S NEXT? CUBA’S EVOLVING POLITICAL AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
    The Revolution Recodified is a three-day conference at The New School and New York University about the impact of digital technology in Cuban culture and society. For more than a decade, Cuban artists, musicians, independent journalists and librarians have teamed with computer scientists and engineers on the island and in the diaspora to foment a socially engaged and politically independent culture using digital technology. The conference will explore the ways that digital technology is transforming Cuba’s cultural and political landscape by challenging the state’s longstanding monopoly on communications media and its hegemonic control of cultural production and distribution.

    YOU CAN CLICK LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO MAKE RESERVATIONS! LETS NOT LEAVE YOANI ALONE AGAINST THE ORGANIZED GROUPS OF CASTROFASCISTS IN NEW YORK. PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN NEW YORK AND POST ON YOUR WEB SITE, FACEBOO AND TWITTER!

    http://therevolutionrecodified.wordpress.com/

  4. CUBAN DISSIDENT YOANI SANCHEZ EVEN IN NEW YORK CITY!
    FRIDAY, MARCH 15 Hemmerdinger Hall, New York University, 100 Washington Square East
    4:00 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
    4:30 KEYNOTE: Yoani Sanchez

    8:00 VIDEO PROGRAM: DESPERTAR (2011) and OPERACION ALFA (2012)
    Ricardo Figueredo Oliva /53 Washington Square East.

    SATURDAY, MARCH 16 The New School, 55 W. 13th St., Room 5311
    12:00-2:00 THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN CUBA: ITS RELEVANCE AND IMPACT
    Panelists: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, Ted Henken, Ariana Hernandez-Reguant
    Moderator: Coco Fusco.

    3:00-5:00 CUBA IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT: SOCIAL MEDIA AND POLITICAL CHANGE
    Panelists: John Kelly, Yoani Sanchez, Nitin Sawhney, Thomas Werner
    Moderator: Sean Jacobs

    7:00 DIRECT FROM HAVANA, CUBA: PABLO MENENDEZ AND MEZCLA NYC

    SUNDAY, MARCH 17 The New School, 55 W. 13th St., Room 531

    12:00-2:00 THE DEVELOPMENT OF AUTONOMOUS CULTURAL AND PUBLIC SPHERES IN CUBA TODAY
    Panelists: Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, Ana Dopico, Pablo Menendez, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo Moderator: Chris Stover

    3:00-5:00 PLENARY SESSION WHAT’S NEXT? CUBA’S EVOLVING POLITICAL AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
    The Revolution Recodified is a three-day conference at The New School and New York University about the impact of digital technology in Cuban culture and society. For more than a decade, Cuban artists, musicians, independent journalists and librarians have teamed with computer scientists and engineers on the island and in the diaspora to foment a socially engaged and politically independent culture using digital technology. The conference will explore the ways that digital technology is transforming Cuba’s cultural and political landscape by challenging the state’s longstanding monopoly on communications media and its hegemonic control of cultural production and distribution.

    For more information please contact: Coco Fusco fuscoc@newschool.edu

    YOU CAN CLICK LINK FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO MAKE RESERVATIONS! LETS NOT LEAVE YOANI ALONE AGAINST THE ORGANIZED GROUPS OF CASTROFASCISTS IN NEW YORK. PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN NEW YORK AND POST ON YOUR WEB SITE, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!

    http://therevolutionrecodified.wordpress.com/

  5. Comrade 291 RCR has a point:

    The fascist emperors do get a lot more press than the oppressed. It’s called cult of the personality.

    Yoani does get a lot of press from Castro’s army of fake bloggers though. They can’t get enough of her.

  6. Very interesting article, exposing who was behind an attempt to wage a protest against Yoani. I’m not surprised. Yoani’s responses to the protesters are great.

    Cuban dissident blogger met by small protests in Brazil

    RECIFE, Brazil | Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:52am EST
    (Reuters) – Cuba’s best-known dissident, blogger Yoani Sanchez, was greeted on Monday by a small group of protesters calling her a CIA agent upon arriving in Brazil, the first stop on a whirlwind tour that will take her to a dozen countries.

    A smiling Sanchez brushed off the student demonstrators who sympathize with Cuba’s communist government, saying she wished Cubans had the same freedom to protest back home. Sanchez’s arrival in Brazil kicked off her first trip abroad since the Cuban government finally granted her a passport after more than 20 refusals in the past five years.

    The protesters, about eight leftist students from a local university, shouted “Sell out” and “CIA agent” as Sanchez arrived in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife, according to a Reuters photographer who was at the airport.

    “Viva la democracia! I want that democracy for my country too,” she responded.

    The Cuban government labels dissidents as mercenaries on the payroll of the United States, its decades-old ideological foe. Sanchez, a 37-year-old Havana resident, has incurred the wrath of Cuba’s government for constantly criticizing its communist system in her “Generation Y” blog, http://www.desdecuba.com/generaciony, and using Twitter to denounce repression.

    Sanchez, who was starting an 80-day tour, was granted a passport two weeks ago under Cuba’s sweeping immigration reform that went into effect this year. She has won several international prizes for her blogging about life in Cuba but has been unable to collect them until now.

    “I am so happy. It has been five years of struggle,” Sanchez told local media.

    “Unfortunately, in Cuba you are punished for thinking differently. Opinions against the government have terrible consequences, arbitrary arrests, surveillance,” she said in an interview with GloboNews television.

    Sanchez’s visit touched a political nerve in Brazil, where the left-leaning government of President Dilma Rousseff is often criticized for not taking a more critical stance with Cuba’s one-party system and the repression of political dissent there.

    According to local news magazine Veja, Cuban diplomats recently met with militants from Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party in Brasilia and asked them to organize protests against Sanchez during her stay in the South American country. One junior official in the Rousseff administration was present at the meeting, Veja said.

    The report prompted some opposition legislators in Congress to accuse the Rousseff government of tacitly endorsing a Cuban-led smear campaign against Sanchez. One senator, Alvaro Dias, said he would demand that the government formally explain its role in what he called the “unacceptable monitoring” of Sanchez.

    In the interview with GloboNews, Sanchez said recent reforms undertaken by President Raul Castro have been positive but minimal, such as the lifting of bans that prevented Cubans from buying new cars and other goods.

    “There is a difference between the reforms we dream of and the reforms that are being carried out,” she said. “We dream of freedom of association, freedom of expression, but it does not look like we will get this too soon.”

    Sanchez, considered Cuba’s pioneer in social networking, told Reuters earlier this week in Havana that she planned to travel to Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, and visit the headquarters of Google, Twitter and Facebook in the United States.

    (This story has been refiled to fix a typo in the first word.)

    (Reporting by Helia Scheppa; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Todd Benson and Sandra Maler)

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/18/net-us-cuba-blogger-brazil-idUSBRE91H0CZ20130218

  7. My link doesn’t seem to be working, but:

    Correio Popular, a Brazilian newspaper, has an article on their front page entitled “Blogger Yoani Sanchez arrives in Brazil.” Just Google it.

  8. I am sure all will want to read todays Head Lines in Aljazeera….Correa gives thanks to Chavez who gives thanks to Fidel for victory in Ecuador election……can anyone give be the website of a Brazillian newspaper that is covering Ms.”the glass is half full”Sanchezs world troting propaganda vacation.

  9. Yoani,

    Now that you can read your blog, I want to tell you how much of an inspiration you have been to us and all the Cubans who know your work.

    I don’t always agree with you, but admire your honesty and peaceful determination under the jackboot of the fascist beast.

    Give our best wishes to all the writers on desdeCuba. They have a lot of readers and well-wishers who never post comments.

    Have a great trip.

  10. Actually the woman wasn’t bad for a Cuban airport worker, I’ve had a lot worse. Plus, she knows she’s being watched so smiling at Yoani would be unwise.

    How about getting rid of those exit checkpoints. No that Raul says you can leave Cuba with a passport, there really is no point, is there, unless it’s all a lie?

    I hope none of the millionaire Marxist revolutionary brigade ambushes her on her trip.

  11. Bravo Yoani! How sad that a mature woman has trembling knees just to go through passport contol. I noticed in the footage she has some missing teeth to spoil her smile. That’s the face of poverty for you. I wish someone would give her some free dental treatment where she’s going and she can return to Cuba looking beautiful.

  12. PHOTO OF LA FLACA ARRIVING IN BRAZIL AIRPORT! THERE IS AN ARTICLE IN A SPANISH LANGUAGE WEB SITE/DIARIO DE CUBA WHERE THERE ARE ACCUSATIONS BY THE OPPOSITION PARTY OF Dilma Rousseff THAT THE LEFTISTS IN THAT COUNTRY ARE TRYING TO SABOTAGE YOANI SANCHEZ’ PRESENTATIONS IN THAT COUNTRY WITH THE HELP OF THE CUBAN EMBASSY THERE! THE CASTROFASCITS ARE SWEATTING BRICKS!

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