Posts Tagged ‘Cuba’


Migrants: Where from, where to and local impact

Originally posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World

If you ever wondered why there is a better selection of tortillas in your local store or why getting good garam masala is suddenly much easier, the Pew Research Group has a quick way to look at immigration and emigration.

The Pew Group has a GREAT interactive graphic to look at immigrant and emigrant movements during the past 25 years at Origins and Destinations of the World’s Migrants, from 1990-2015

Along with an interactive map, the Pew Group added a table so you can see with real numbers migration movement.

I’ll let the Pew Group explain what its wonderful graphic depicts:

The figures in this interactive feature refer to the total number (or cumulative “stocks”) of migrants living around the world as of 1990, 2000, 2010 or 2015 rather than to the annual rate of migration (or current “flows”) in a given year. Since migrants have both an origin and a destination, international migrants can be viewed from two directions – as an emigrant (leaving an origin country) or as an immigrant (entering a destination country).

According to the United Nations Population Division, an international migrant is someone who has been living for one year or longer in a country other than the one in which he or she was born. This means that many foreign workers and international students are counted as migrants. Additionally, the UN considers refugees and, in some cases, their descendants (such as Palestinians born in refugee camps outside of the Palestinian territories) to be international migrants. For the purposes of this interactive feature, estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants living in various countries also are included in the total counts. On the other hand, tourists, foreign-aid workers, temporary workers employed abroad for less than a year and overseas military personnel typically are not counted as migrants.

And for those wondering, the total number of migrants living in the United States in 2015 came from:

  1. Mexico – 12 million
  2. China – 2.1 million
  3. India – 1.9 million
  4. Philippines – 1.7 million
  5. Puerto Rico – 1.7 million
  6. Viet Nam – 1.3 million
  7. El Salvador – 1.2 million
  8. Cuba – 1.1 million
  9. South Korea – 1.1 million
  10. Dominican Republic – 940,000
  11. Guatemala – 880,000

Remember, this is the TOTAL number of people from these countries living in the United States, NOT the number arriving in 2015. And I would personally put the migration from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland as internal migration rather than international. (That is why I have a Top 11, rather than Top 10). Seems the United Nations has its own way of looking at these things.

And in case you are wondering, in 2015 there were 180,000 people from Iraqi living in the United States and 70,000 from Syria, both up from 40,000 each in 1990.

Local reporters can follow-up on this information for a local angle by using material from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For example, I know from the American FactFinder, there are a lot of Ethiopian restaurants in Fairfax County, Virginia (population 1.1 million) because Ethiopian immigrants are the largest African group in Fairfax – 6,000 out of 31,000 African native-born residents.

You can get good papusas because Salvadorans make up the largest single group of Latin American residents — 32,000 out of 102,000 from Latin America.

We all know Annandale, Va., is known as Little Seoul. Well, the Census numbers bear that out, of the 170,000 people born in Asia in Fairfax County, 30,000 are from Korea. But what should be evident to anyone paying attention, the Indian and Vietnamese presence is also big. Fairfax has 29,000 people who were born in Indian and 23,000 born in Vietnam.

Not to leave out Europe, but let’s face it, the numbers are weak compared to the rest of the world. Fairfax has 25,000 people born in Europe. The single largest group are the Germans with 3,600.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a foreign story, start in your own neighborhood.

Belarus Fines Freelancer For Working With Foreign Media

There is so much happening in the world and news organizations have limited resources. The smarter news groups reach out to freelancers to fill the gaps in reporting around the world.

Belarus — one of the last hard-core holder overs of Stalinist rule after the collapse of the Soviet Union — enacted a law that forbids Belarus journalists from working for foreign media.

Now the government has fined freelance journalist, Larysa Shchyrakova about US$245 for breaking that stupid law.

The European Federation of Journalists is calling on the Belarus government to withdraw the fine and repeal the law.

Belarus ranks right at the bottom of press freedom according to Freedom House, with a score of 93 out of 100 for media repression and control. It also has a political freedom rating of 6.5, with 7 representing an absolute lack of any freedoms.

From the Freedom House 2015 Press Freedom report on Belarus

Despite constitutional provisions for freedom of the press, criticism of the president and the government is considered a criminal offense, and libel convictions can result in prison sentences or high fines. There are no effective legal guarantees of public access to government records. Judges, prosecutors, police officers, tax officials, and bureaucrats from the Information Ministry regularly use politicized court rulings and obscure regulations to harass independent newspapers and websites.

That puts Belarus in the same neighborhood as Chad, China and Cuba.

RSF Internet Enemies List: Few Surprises

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World

Reporters Without Borders has a great list of governments that are “Enemies of the Internet.”

And there are no real surprises. The hostility governments in places such as Burma, China, Cuba exhibit toward freedom of speech, press and expression is well documented. What I like about the RSF Internet list is the detail it provides about those governments.

For example in China we learn more than just the Great Firewall is functioning but also that the number of Internet users in the country exceeds the population of the United States (384 million Chinese Internet users v. 308 million people in the United States.)

We also learn that the average cost of one hour of Internet cafe time is US$2/hour. To me this is interesting because the average MONTHLY wage in China is US$219-274.

And we learn that 72 “netizens” are in Chinese jails, among them Nobel Peace Prize winner Lio Xaiobo who is serving an 11-year jail term for writing his opinions on the Internet and helping launch Charter 08.

We also see more details about the censoring of information in China and its impact on a generation of Chinese:

On the eve of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square events, a dozen websites such as Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Flickr, Opera, Live, WordPress and Blogger were blocked. The information blackout has been so well-enforced for the last 20 years that the vast majority of young Chinese citizens are not even aware that the events of June 1989 ever happened.

Other countries listed as enemies of the Internet are:

  • Burma: Two high-ranking government officials sentenced to death for having e-mailed documents abroad: Net censorship is a serious matter in Burma. Massive filtering of websites and extensive slowdowns during times of unrest are daily occurrences for the country’s Internet users.
  • Cuba: Despite a few improvements, Internet access actually remains beyond the reach of most of the population because of its high cost and low connection speeds. The regime, which maintains two parallel network, is now taking aim at a small blogger community that is becoming increasingly active.
  • Egypt: Since early 2007, the government has been reinforcing Web surveillance in the name of the fight against terrorism, under the iron fist of a special department of Egypt’s Ministry of Interior. Facebook is monitored, rather than blocked, so that activists can be observed or arrested. Authorities are monitoring their people’s emails and telephone calls without any court order, by virtue of the Telecommunications Law, which requires Internet service providers to supply them with the necessary surveillance services and equipment.
  • Iran: Censorship is a core part of Iran’s state apparatus. Internet surveillance has been centralized, thereby facilitating implementation of censorship.
  • North Korea: Let’s start with an average charge for one hour’s connection at a cybercafé at US$8.19 with an average monthly salary of US$17.74. The large majority of the population is not even aware that the Internet exists. An extremely limited Intranet has been created, but few can access it.
  • Saudi Arabia: Websites that broach the subject of religion, human rights or positions taken by the opposition are rendered inaccessible. Far from denying it, the authorities maintain that their censorship decisions are justified and claim to have blocked some 400,000 websites.
  • Syria: The country is reinforcing its censorship of troublesome topics on the Web and tracking netizens who dare to express themselves freely on it. As a result, social networks have been particularly targeted by omnipresent surveillance.
  • Tunisia: The Internet is seen as a potential threat to the country’s stability and image and is thus the target of pernicious censorship. Very strict filtering, opponent harassment and Big Brother-like surveillance enable the authorities to keep tight control over the news media.
  • Turkmenistan: Very strict filtering is now focused on critical publications likely to target local users and potential dissidents. Opposition websites and regional news sites covering Central Asia are also blocked. YouTube and LiveJournal are rendered inaccessible.
  • Uzbekistan: This country is deprived of independent media outlets. The authorities impose a very strict Internet censorship, while refusing to admit it publicly. Website filtering, sanctions and intimidation are used against potential critics of the regime. Netizens have learned to practice self-censorship.
  • Vietnam: The government claims to filter only content that is obscene or endangers national security, but censorship also affects opposition websites or those that are in any way critical of the regime. Censorship primarily involves blocking website addresses, and particularly concerns sites in Vietnamese.

Then there are countries the RSF is keeping an eye on, such as Australia:

Under the guise of fighting child pornography, the government wants to set up a filtering system never before seen in a democracy. The State of South Australia has passed a law prohibiting online anonymity in an electoral context.

And South Korea:

The authorities are using the criminalization of defamation against their critics and do not hesitate to make examples of them. Since June 2008, a dozen Web surfers have been briefly arrested and interrogated for having posted online comments critical of the government within the context of these demonstrations.

Cuban blogger looks at WikiLeaks issue

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Yoani Sánchez, award-winning blogger in Cuba, had an interesting look at the whole WikiLeaks situation.

One point is the one made over and over by diplomats and observers of the global scene:

What happened in recent days will significantly change how governments manage information and also the ways through which we citizens get a hold of it.

But then she looks at the domestic situation in Cuba.

But also — let’s not fool ourselves — those regimes that are based on silence and the lack of transparency, will reinforce the protection of their secrets, or avoid putting them in writing….This lesson has already been practiced for decades, if not, when the day comes that those Cuban archives will be declassified, I will be searching them to see if they record the name of the person who decided to execute the three men who hijacked a ferry in 2003 to emigrate.

And she is right. The last thing any dictator wants is for a paper trail to exist of who did what during the periods of repression. Because one of these days, the dictators will fall. And those who tortured and killed in the name of that dictatorship will have to be held accountable.

I can hardly wait to see what Yoani has to say about Ecured.

Cuba releases its version of Wikipedia

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Freedom of speech and press go hand in hand with freedom to access information. In the democracies the battle has always been to pry loose information from governments by the free press.

In a society with a free press, people depend on an independent media to tell them what is going on. And by and large there is a trust that what is reported is not vetted by some lackey for a political or economic reason.much less on rumors.

In other countries where the media are controlled by the government, rumors take the place of the media for getting information. (I still recall when the Chinese government was banning all discussion of SARS how rumors in southern China ran rampant. One particular rumor was that this strange new disease was the result of the accidental release of an experimental virus being developed by the Chinese and US intelligence services. Yep. Some folks actually believed that.)

Even in the dictatorships, however, people are finding ways to use the Internet to find information that might be contrary to official government dictates.

So what does any self-respecting dictator do? He sets up a “reference” site so people can see online “facts” that back up the government line.

The latest effort comes from Cuba.

Cuba launches online encyclopaedia similar to Wikipedia

Ecured was developed, says the Cuban government “to create and disseminate the knowledge of all and for all, from Cuba and with the world.”

It wants people to know things from an organization that is democratic, non-profit and opposed to colonization. (Amazing how dictators twist words. Like, I always figured if a country had to call itself a “people’s republic,” it was neither.)

The new service launched today (Dec. 14).

Some news organizations report that the entry on the USA is that the country has historically taken “by force territory and natural resources from other nations, to put at the service of its businesses and monopolies.”

And current Cuban leader Raul Castor is a visionary and charismatic political and revolutionary leader. EcuRed adds that Raul plays and important role in the sovereignty and independence of Cuba.

Nothing like a little fair and balanced information.

p.s. Damnedest thing is that I can get to the main page but any searches come up with an error message. Guess the server in Cuba is being overloaded with people looking for a non-colonial view of the world.

CPJ issues awards

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Last week the Committee to Protect Journalists held its annual awards dinner in New York City.

Honored for their work in defending free press were Dawit Kebede of Ethiopia, Nadira Isayeva of Russia, Laureano Márquez of Venezuela and Mohammad Davari of Iran.

The organization also released its annual report.

While the CPJ looks at the whole world, its 201o report selected Somalia, Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Pakistan, Mexico and Azerbaijan for special attention because of the threats to journalism and journalists in those countries.

Of exit visas and world views

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World

For American’s the idea of needing to get permission to leave the country is alien. I mean really really alien.

For those of us who travel out of the country on a regular basis, think about the process:

  1. Get passport
  2. Get airline ticket
  3. Check in at ticket counter
  4. Hand passport to ticket agent as ID
  5. Pass through security
  6. Get on plane

In just about every other democracy you usually have to add an additional step between #5 and #6: Pass through immigration control. In other words, you have to get an exit stamp in your passport.

Now think about the non-democracies.

Cuba, for example.

There is a major step right at the beginning.

Blogger and free speech advocate, Yoani Sánchez, is being honored by a number of groups this year, including the International Press Institute.

Unfortunately for Yoani, she cannot attend because her very first step is to get permission to leave the country. And, once again, she was denied the right to travel.

Take a look at Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 13.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

And yes, Cuba is a signatory country.

I can understand governments keeping people out. (I don’t agree with it but I do understand that each national government has the legitimate power to control who comes in.)

But to restrict access to the outside world?

Restriction of access to the outside world is wrong. Whether it is the denial of an exit visa or denial of access to an uncensored Internet.

Unfortunately there are other ways of limiting information that do not involve censorship or government action.

Too many American news organizations do not see the importance of reporting international events. They do not see the important links between global and local events/personalities. The end result are readers and viewers who do not understand the world around us.

Local reporters and editors need to understand that the United States is not an island cut off from the rest of the world. The fact that the United States is a nation of immigrants should be enough of an explanation as to why keeping an eye on the rest of the world is important.

Unfortunately too many of the new immigrants “don’t look like us” or our immigrant families. (Yep, I’m talking about the failure of a lot of white folks to understand the immigration issue.)

Immigrants come to the United States for a number of reasons: economic, political, social. But whatever the reason they come here. And yet consumers of American news read/hear little about what is happening on other shores that could affect that immigration flow.

Think about why there are only and estimated 690,000 Brazilians in the United States versus a couple of million Central Americans.

The border access issue is only a small difference. There are real political, social and economic reasons why there are more Central Americans than Brazilians in the United States.

But not that anyone would know about these differences reading most newspapers or hearing most broadcast news reports.

But back to Yoani…

She is a brave woman speaking out for freedom of press, speech and expression. Her experiences have taught her there is a larger world out there that affects her life. And all this despite a repressive government and controlled media.

It would be nice if the Americans could also learn more about the world from their free media.

Getting news in Cuba — Or not

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

Generation Y blogger Yoani Sanchez has a great piece on why she can’t use her new radio. (Interference)

It all has to do with the steps taken by the Cuban government to block “subversive” broadcasts. (That is, anything NOT by the Cuban government.)

Putting the foxes in charge of the hen house, and why it matters

IFEX points out that of the latest additions to the United Nations Human Rights Council, five countries have dismal human rights records: Angola, Libya, Malaysia, Thailand and Uganda.

New members elected to UN Human Rights Council include five human rights violators

What else would you expect? China and Cuba are on the committee as well. And we all know what a great track record these countries have in human rights.

In fact, Reporters Without Borders notes that the presence of China and Cuba on the committee for years has shown that the argument of putting less democratic, less human rights loving countries on the committee will help change them is a non-starter.

Why should reporters in the United States care? And even more, why should local news organizations care?

Outside of the fact that this is information that helps figure out how the world works — or doesn’t — there are local angles that can be looked at.

Not all immigrants to the United States — legal or otherwise — come for economic reasons. Some — many — come for political reasons. And running away for political reasons usually includes human rights issues.

So, how about the immigrant communities that are growing in every town and city in the United States? What are the stories from these immigrants about why they came to the States?

If a reporter goes a Mexican immigrant group in Texas or an Indian group in Fairfax County, Va., chances are the main story will be one of coming for economic reasons — jobs. (But there are a growing number of Mexicans fleeing the drug wars as well.) But how about the Somalian Ethiopian community in Minneapolis? Or the growing Venezuelan community in Northern Virginia? Or the Vietnamese community in Louisiana?

Those are just off the top of my head. A reporter with an ounce of curiosity might be able to find out more in his/her own community.

So there is a reason to look at the human rights situations in other countries. Violations elsewhere in the world often lead to larger immigration to the United States. It is the duty of LOCAL reporters to get the reasons why people are moving into LOCAL areas and affecting LOCAL businesses and LOCAL politics. But all that LOCAL! LOCAL! LOCAL! can’t be covered unless there is also an understanding of the rest of the world.

Here are some additional organizations to help understand the human rights situation in the world:

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World

News in 140 characters from Cuba

Earlier I posted something from the WWW2010 about a Korean report on how Twitter was more of a news service than just a social network. (Twitter: A news service limited to 140 characters)

Well, it is nice to know that the scientific process backs up what some people already knew.

In Twitter: That Wild Beast, Cuban blogger and free press advocate Yoani Sanchez talks about Twitter as a news service.

It is true that we broadcast blindly and that we cannot read our readers’ replies or references, but at least we are reporting on the Island in 140 character fragments.

Always thinking in terms of conspiracies, agents and plots, [the Cuban police] haven’t noticed that the technologies have turned every citizen into his or her own mass media. It is no longer foreign correspondents who validate a given story in the eyes of the world, but rather, increasingly, it is our own forays on Twitter that are turned into informative references.

We saw in Iran and China how Twitter has become a major source for news unfettered by the national censors. Here again is validation of that.

First posted at Journalism, Journalists and the World.

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