Cuba takes its battle to the blogosphere

Cuba is counter-attacking its cyber-foes with government backers calling them mercenaries and CIA agents, but sometimes admitting it's difficult to fight Internet critics like well-known blogger Yoani Sanchez.

"There must be a defense, but how?" wrote one government supporter on "If you [answer] them, you validate them. If you ignore them, you confirm them. If they are repressed, they are empowered. And if they are not repressed, they are also empowered."

The answer seems to be to counter-attack. Half-a-dozen posts referring to a "media war" and the need to "man the trenches" in "defense of the revolution" have popped up on pro-government blog sites in the past three weeks.

Most of the posts took direct aim at Sánchez and her Generación Y blog, and were published after she posted President Barack Obama's replies to her questions on Nov. 19. But the posts left no doubt that all of the 15 or so other bloggers who regularly criticize the Cuban government are viewed as dangerous subversives.

"Those who want to restore capitalism receive financial and technical support, from both inside and outside the island, to build a counterrevolutionary front," wrote Enrique Ubieta, editor of the Cuban magazine La Calle Del Medio.

If bloggers "have, as the only goal of their acts, the toppling of their adversary, the seizure of power; if there's an express intent to subvert, then we speak of confrontation and the right of the revolution to defend itself," wrote Vladia Rubio, a writer in the official Granma newspaper.

Most of the counter-attacks were posted on the Cuba-based Cambios en Cuba blog, where a cartoon shows Obama ripping open his shirt, Superman-style, to reveal the Sánchez blog's logo, and another shows her as a "cyber-clown."

Several blogs implied she lied when she complained that state security agents had beaten her in mid-November, and that the many international prizes she has wonwere arranged by powerful anti-Castro interests to lend weight to her criticisms of the Cuban system.

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