The Third Festival of EcuRed contributors was held on May 28 and 29. Right after the second Festival a year ago, I wrote the following:
Today marks the beginning of the Second Festival of contributors to the Cuban online encyclopedia EcuRed, and I have a feeling that it’s doomed to not make headlines.
Months ago, a Click Festival, poorly attended by without a master, splashed across the front pages of the mainstream media, but it has fallen into oblivion since. When it comes to Cuba, everything is possible. If a handful of people meet to lie or bark –cats indeed bark, especially if they’re just a few– the international news agencies rush to cover the event. However, if more than one hundred people from all over the country discuss how to improve and enhance Cuba’s most visited website (most of them on a volunteer basis), hardly anyone will know about them.
“Talk nonsense and travel with the CIA”, I heard someone say recently. Welcome to this upside-down world where what you say outranks what you know and more fame comes from what you collect than from what you share. “To serve in silence and from the bottom”, as Rubén Martínez Villena advocated, is old-fashioned. But a hundred thousand visitors per day, including many foreign correspondents based in Cuba, do more and better than a few phrases with no grip on reality and which the wind and time will surely polish off eventually.
Nowadays EcuRed boasts an average of more than 200,000 daily hits, and over 80 Cubans from all provinces will come to the meeting of its contributors. And yet, the media is too busy fabricating the legend of a newspaper read by just a few which everybody knows who’s paying for except the same media in charge of turning it into a news item.