Foreign Policy’s Editor-in-chief, MoisÃ©s NaÃm, wrote an interesting article in The Times the other day about Fidel Castro’s blog. While the article delves into the political and economic future of Cuba, which interested me as a writer and student, there is perhaps a different angle to the story that interested me as a blogger. It allowed me to wonder whether what blogger’s don’t say/mention on their blogs can be just as telling about what they do say/mention on their blogs.
Maybe there are lessons in blogging to be learned from soon-to-be ex-Comandante, Fidel Castro:
About a year ago Fidel Castro started blogging. Every week or so he posted his â€œReflections of the Commander in Chiefâ€. While not strictly a blog, in his internet musings â€œEl Comandanteâ€ does what bloggers do: he comments on the news, chastises enemies (Bush, Aznar), extols friends (Hugo!) or rambles on subjects he cares about (sport and politics).
On Tuesday his most recent post, which as usual was also published in Granma, Cuba’s leading newspaper, was a bit different: â€œI will neither aspire to nor will I accept, I repeat, I will neither aspire to nor will I accept the positions of President of the State Council and Commander in Chiefâ€, Castro wrote. Not many bloggers make history with their early morning postings. Moreover, in this history-making post El Comandante did reassure his readers that while he was relinquishing power they should not worry: he was keeping his blog. He would just change its name to â€œReflections of El CompaÃ±ero Fidelâ€.
Bloggers know that one of the risks is inadvertently to expose too much about themselves. And Fidel was not immune: he too revealed a lot in his postings, often through omission. Indeed, his postings are as informative for what they skip as for what they include.
In Fidel’s blog, for example, RaÃºl Castro was never mentioned. It was only last Tuesday, after months of voluminous blogging, that Fidel felt the need to refer to RaÃºl, who happened to be his younger brother, the acting president, head of the armed forces and his rumoured successor. Even then Fidel only mentions his brother to emphasise that when he had to hand over power to him: â€œRaÃºl… who is also the head of the armed forces thanks to his own merits [my emphasis] as well as other party and state leaders had been reluctant to see me go from my positions, despite my frail health.â€
RaÃºl’s invisibility in Fidel’s blog is a manifestation of the secretive power struggle to define Cuba’s future… [source]