Video Shows Cuban Youth Discontent or Freedom of Speech?

This news is admittedly over a week old, but I couldn’t let this slip by without drawing you attention to it. An anonymous source sent the BBC a tape of an encounter between Cuban IT students and the head of the country’s parliament, Ricardo Alarcon and what is seen might be shocking for some. Students ask some very tough questions. The video is in Spanish, but if you don’t speak it, I’ll try to summarize after the jump.

The tape’s content shows what appear voices of discontent and dissent within the university community on the island. One student complains that it takes the average worker two days of labor just to buy a toothbrush.

Another says “It seems to us a revolution cannot advance without a plan. “I’m sure it exists, we just want to know what it is.”

The question of why Cubans aren’t allowed to travel internationally is asked by one student who says he wants to visit the place where his hero Che Guevara died. He wants to know why he can’t eventually take his children to the spot.

The question of why regular Cubans can’t enter hotels for tourists is also raised.

None of the questions are answered in a very satisfactory way, in my opinion.

Many of these questions are the same ones that some of us who live outside of Cuba and are admittedly ignorant to what goes on on the island ask ourselves. But there are two sides to every story. Apparently the students got together and taped, with website Cuba Debate, an explanation for what happened on the video, calling it “media terrorism” and saying that they were victims of media manipulation. The following video shows one of the students on the first tape — who international press was reporting had been jailed because of his comments — free and refuting claims that he had somehow been chastised for his comments. The second video is a continuation of the first.

The students claim that this is example of how free debate in Cuba can happen and praise the fact that in their country they have access to high-ranking officials such as Alarcon, something they say could only happen in Cuba. They also say their words were used by international media for propaganda, but in truth their critiques are typical of the kind of constructive debate that happens on the island and proof of freedom of speech in Cuba.

What do you think?

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