Our readers will recall the hatchet job Val Prieto did on Yoani Sánchez in The Wall Street Journal in Nov. 2007. Now Babalú's "Founding Editor" has set up Yoani again, but this time he donned a velvet glove to do it. Val's praise, though, is as caustic as his calumnies, and whether he praises or disparages her, his goal is always the same — to bury her. With "friends" like Val, Yoani hardly needs the DGI.
What is Val's latest offense to Yoani?
He nominated Generation Y for a 2008 Weblog Award, not as best blog but for some regional award being disputed by several blogs of dubious distinction in the Hispanic blogosphere. Nominating Yoani for the "Best Latino, Caribbean or South American Blog" is like proposing a Nobel Prize-winning physicist for the Westinghouse High School Science Competition. Babalú won the 2006 Weblog award in that category and perhaps Val wishes to elevate its status by having Yoani as a "laureate" too. He could have done the same thing himself simply by declining the award.
But that's not the worst of it: Generation Y is actually trailing in the voting and may lose to some blog called Dólar Paralelo! Among the other nominees: Inca Kola News; popnografía; and Musique Automatique. Yoani, to her credit, has not mentioned her nomination for a Weblog Award on her blog; otherwise, she would surely have 5 million votes instead of 713. Still, more humiliating than winning the Weblog Award with such competition would be losing it.
So we must urge you to vote for Generation Y in order to spare her the humiliation of losing and Val the satisfaction of having her lose.
Voting for the Weblog Awards closes on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM (EST). The Weblog Awards allows you to vote every 24 hours for your candidate, so vote now and vote often, as if you belonged to ACORN or lived in Chicago:
The Venezuelan financial blog Dólar Paralelo still leads Generación Y by some 400 votes. If this trend cannot be reversed Val will have dealt Yoani the first defeat that the intrepid Cuban blogger has ever suffered. Ironic certainly that it should come courtesy of Val Prieto, not Fidel Castro.
Currently in third place, Inca Kola News is surging and may overtake Generation Y for second place. This is a disgrace and a disaster. I am not blaming Dólar Paralelo or Inca Kola News. Obviously, this is their category and it is Generation Y that is out of place. The blame for this lies squarely with Val Prieto who thought that Generation Y should be classed with and compete against Inca Cola News and Dólar Paralelo. Still, keep voting.
The ominous trend continues.
Commenter Marabu makes an interesting observation. With popularity contests such as the Weblog Awards, which can be as easily manipulated as, say, the competition for "American Idol," whoever can command the most telephones or computers, is the kingmaker. The DGI, which has at its disposal more computers than does the entire Cuban population, can "anoint" any contestant in any poll, or, as in this case, prevent an enemy of the regime from winning by stacking the votes in favor of his opponents. To place Yoani in such a compromised position amounts to delivering her to the tender mercies of the DGI. I am not saying that Val Prieto has done this intentionally, but, to all practical effects, it makes no difference if he did since the outcome is the same.
Perhaps it is only a coincidence, but as coincidences go it appears to be rather more convenient than fortuitous.
The only blog besides Yoani's with sufficient readership and clout to induce a sizable number to vote for Generation Y and thwart Val's machinations has been put out of commission. Penúltimos Días is not a Google-driven blog like Babalú, which receives most of its hits from high school kids writing reports (hence the paucity of its comments). Penúltimos Días has a core Cuban following which is large enough and knowledgeable enough to realize what is at stake here and invested enough in the future of Cuba to come to Yoani's rescue.
If it was indeed the DGI's plan to humiliate Yoani by contriving to deny her this ridiculous award by hook or crook, then it was necessary to silence the only powerful ally that could have redressed the balance in her favor. Hopefully, Penúltimos Días will be able to get back online before the voting for the Weblog Awards concludes on Tuesday.
If you have not already voted do so now; and even if you have voted, remember that you can vote again every 24-hours.
The lead has now widened to 500 votes and nobody seems to care. Perhaps that is the price of Yoani's success, which is being paid to her in the only currency that Cubans (or many Cubans anyway) dispense to those who overshadow them. Call it the homage of envy. No doubt many other bloggers beside Val would regard her defeat as a welcome realignment of the universe even if it brings them no closer to the sun. Our history and our curse, forever recycled.
Don't forget to vote today.