Some Cuban bloggers becoming more defiant of Castro government

When a dozen Cuban bloggers wanted to stage a protest last month, they simultaneously tweeted, texted and posted messages like "Freedom."

One later used a blond wig to sneak into a government building and complain against censorship of the Internet. And the next day, she posted a video of her complaint on her blog.

Carefully, but with daring determination, some Cubans whose blogs once focused largely on the frustrations of daily life are moving toward sharp-edged commentaries and activities that some fear will eventually lead to a crackdown by the communist government.

"We do not have a common position . . . but yes, some people have been doing actions that go beyond the click and the keyboard and try to exercise the rights of a free person," said Reynaldo Escobar of the Havana blog Desde Aquí (From Here).

Some bloggers indeed have become "more assertive, more confrontational, more pushing the limits -- and pushing their luck," said Ted Henken, a Baruch College professor who is writing a paper on the social implications of the Cuban blogosphere's growth.

In fact, on Friday the best known of the Cuban bloggers, Yoani Sánchez, reported that she and another blogger were detained and beaten severely by state security agents, apparently to keep them from joining a peaceful march in Havana organized by young musicians.

Cuba's blogosphere is tiny for an island of 11.5 million people. About 200 blogs have official approval and 100 don't, among them dissident journalists and human rights activists, according to a recent report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

But about 15 bloggers have captured widespread attention at home and abroad -- sometimes becoming better known than political dissidents -- with posts that challenge the government and break its monopoly on information entering and leaving the island.

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