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sábado, 9 de mayo de 2015

LGBT nation and Otaku brotherhood in Cuba

A study of two communities excluded from the Cuban national culture discourse thought their blogs. 

By Sheila Padrón Morales and Yasmín S. Portales Machado

Abstract: 465 words 

Cuba have a very low internet access. Cuban government explain this due to the lack of resources for infrastructure development and the USA Embargo. To compensate this, the government had establish that most of Cubans only have access to the national intranet (.cu web sites) and charges with very high fees the cybercafés with free internet access, owned by the state telecommunication monopoly, ETECSA.

Blogs edited by Cubans residents in the island exist since 2005, in free blogs platforms like Blogia, BlogSpot and WordPress. Most of them devoted to politics and news. In September 2013 the blog platform cubava.cu open to free inscriptions. Being the only space of online self-publication technically accessible from the all country, the democratization impact was absolute: in less than a year the Cuban blogosphere doubled in size and spread in subjects. Between the groups that take advantage of this were LGBT activist and Otakus (Japanese anime and manga fans).

This two groups are marginal subcultures in Cuban society, which is still strongly homophobic, have cultural roots in Africa and Spain, and a strong dependence of USA cultural products. This hegemonic model of the national culture is defended in the state public policies and the discourse of most of the cultural specialist. LGBT and Otaku advocates are annoying because they challenge the model. While the LGBT groups fight against cultural, legal and social homophobia, Otaku groups argue their right to consume pop Japanese product (anime, manga, videogames, roll games) without been labeled has “childish” or with “proclivity to violent behavior”.  Booth groups are starting to create independent spaces for documentation, dialogue and action. This places for interchange are mostly virtual –e-zines, chats, blogs, Facebook groups–, due to the strict state control of the public spaces and the media.

Cuban new cultural policies most recognize this emergent social identities and add it to the “official” national culture, in order to maintain the significance and bonding meaning of this idea for the new generations, or they will risk a fracture in the national identity.

Studies about Cuban online communities are scarce. Most of the research about Cuban blogosphere (Ted Henken, Elaine Diaz, and Yudivian Almeida) is focused in the impact of political blogs contents in the government actions. Only two papers had research the tensions between the post of individual blogs and a community political agenda in LGBT activist (Sandra Alvarez) and women bloggers (Yasmín Portales). They are not research about the Otaku Cuban Community.

The study of the Cuban LGBT and Otaku blogs will give evidence based knowledge about the editors profiles, the communities internal dynamics, the strategies they had develop to establish national range networks, the extension of this groups in the Cuban society, and the arguments they use to defend their belonging to the XXI century Cuban national culture.

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