ProBox participates in forum that unveils Cuba’s citizen reality

ProBox participates in forum that unveils Cuba’s citizen reality

Published on 14 Sep 2023

El Toque, GAPAC and ProBox discuss in a #VirtualForum on Cuba

On September 6, ProBox, in alliance with Gobierno y Análisis Político A.C. (GAPAC) and El Toque, held a virtual conversation on the narrative that the Cuban regime wants to impose on social networks and its disconnection with what Cubans live in their daily lives.

The social reality lived in Cuba does not match most of the times with the trends positioned in social networks. The island faces two versions: the daily one with the harsh political, economic and social conditions; and the digital one that, from the fiction that the Díaz-Canel regime wants to impose, seeks to create a false portrait of a country that two years ago raised its voice in protest.

This disconnection of what is talked about in social networks in Cuba with what the citizens of the island live daily responds to a very well planned communication strategy by the regime and was the main topic in the Virtual Forum “The Cuban social reality vs. the state fiction online” held on September 6 by ProBox in partnership with Government and Political Analysis AC (GAPAC) and El Toque.

The event not only analyzed the socio-political implications of the Cuban case in the South American region, but also heard the testimonies of independent journalists residing on the island, such as Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, and the experiences of Hilda Landrove and Eloy Viera Cañive, who in addition to being representatives of the allied organizations, are both Cubans in exile.

Despite censorship, citizens’ issues are leaked in the networks

Although the Cuban government imposes a narrative on social networks that shows the virtues of the regime and disseminates social protest, it does not always succeed. An example of this was the #SOSCuba trend that managed in 2021 to become a global trend at a time when the island was experiencing repression due to the largest citizen protest in recent years.

During her participation in the forum, the executive director of ProBox, Mariví Marín Vazquez, pointed out that the citizen conversation in Cuba, in the midst of the July 2021 protests, managed to position itself in a very important way as to surpass the same conversation driven by the regime during those days.

“Our study of the #SOSCuba trend showed that 85% of the content around the hashtag presented authentic behavior, while the hashtags positioned at the same time by the regime, such as #PatriaOMuerte (Homeland or death) were mostly inorganic, so they were possibly being driven by bots or people paid to replicate this content,” said Marín.

The study that ProBox has been developing on the narrative on social media platforms shows that the pattern of authoritarian regimes is clear and responds to specific objectives.

“For them it is very important to manipulate all the information they cannot control. Regimes care a lot about how people talk about them on social networks and that is why they invest time and resources in contaminating the digital conversation so that the issues denounced by civil society are more difficult to find in the face of all this propagandistic and manipulated content,” says the Executive Director of ProBox.

How was Cuba Twitter handled in 2022?

During the forum, Marín also presented the organization’s main findings on the political conversation that Cuba managed on Twitter during 2022:

  • The Díaz-Canel regime promoted the most trends (#), and was supported by the Venezuelan regime’s Ministry of Communications.
  • Cuban social protest remained active with tags such as #SOSCuba and #CubaEsUnaDictadura (Cuba is a Dictatorship).
  • The main reasons for protest were: political prisoners, blackouts and street demonstrations.

For more information on socio-political manipulation on social media, you can follow us everywhere at @ProBoxVE.

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