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[liberationtech] Seeking laptop for Cuban opposition leader

Yosem Companys companys at
Fri Aug 12 07:30:14 PDT 2016

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your message.

Unlike you, Sam did not warn about "supporting counterproductive and
inappropriate technology support to anti-governmental efforts in Cuba" but
rather that "opposition leaders are directly or indirectly helping to
transform Cuba into a... racist basket case." The former is a
liberationtech issue; the latter is not because it has no technological
component to the argument and is simply making a blanket accusation with no
data to support it..

We definitely welcome self-criticism about inappropriate technology
support. But that is a separate issue from Maria Werlau's request. Maria
has a longstanding reputation as a Cuba expert and is a leading member of
the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy, which has for a very
long time forged ties with the Cuban government to discuss issues related
to US-Cuba relations. Maria kindly requested computer support for an
activist and was met with an off-topic message.

As I noted below, if folks want to have a discussion about inappropriate
technology support, they are welcome to do so by starting a new thread on
that subject. Otherwise, they need to stay on topic in response to Maria's
request. But to meet Maria's request with accusations of her wanting to
support turning Cuba into a racist basket case are inappropriate. These
accusations neither address Maria's request nor do they initiate a debate
about appropriate technology support.


On Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 7:00 AM, peter miller <peterm at> wrote:

> Yosem, members of the liberationtech community — I find the exchange below
> both chilling and foreboding for us all.
> The list moderator posts along a message from someone with no
> organizational affiliation noted requesting an equipment donation for an
> unidentified Cuban opposition leader, receives a critical note from a list
> member, and responds with threats and sanctions to the critic for being "ad
> hominem, or otherwise inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic," all done
> with the justification that some unidentified opposition leader is
> "fighting for change in what is recognized to be an authoritarian regime."
> Sam Anderson’s warnings are especially to the point here.  The US has
> already suffered major embarrassments for its counterproductive and
> inappropriate technology support to anti-governmental efforts in Cuba:
> witness the revelations of covert USAID fiascos — akin to such operations
> being undertaken by the Peace Corps — involving Alan Gross, the faux
> twitter Zun Zuneo farce, and rap musician subterfuge.  Especially for a
> list that goes by the name and presumably the principles of
> "liberationtech," some self-criticism about inappropriate technology
> support ought to be welcomed rather than threatened.
> in solidarity, ----peter miller
> -----Original Message(s)-----
> Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2016 11:20:16 -0700
> From: Yosem Companys <companys at>
> To: liberationtech <liberationtech at>
> Cc: Maria Werlau <mariacwerlau at>
> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Seeking laptop for Cuban opposition leader
> Guideline #3 on our list says, "To maintain civil discourse, we have a
> zero-tolerance policy for anyone who posts ad hominems, or otherwise
> inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages. Doing so will get you
> permanently moderated." See:
> The focus of this thread was to provide technical help to an activist
> fighting for change in what is widely recognized to be an authoritarian
> regime.
> Please stay on topic or start a new thread, assuming the topic below is
> made less offensive and relates in some way to Liberationtech. (It
> currently does not.)
> Thanks,
> Yosem Companys
> One of the moderators
> On Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 11:11 AM, S E ANDERSON <blackeducator at>
> wrote:
> > Did you know that "opposition Leaders" are directly or indirectly helping
> > to transform Cuba into a political//economic/cultural/environmental
> > racist basket case like Puerto Rico,, Panama or the Dominican Republic?
> In
> > other words, the US is behind these socalled "opposition leaders"..
> >
> > In struggle,
> >
> > Sam Anderson
> >…
> >
> > Sent from Samz & Rosemariz iPad
> >
> > On Aug 3, 2016, at 9:47 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at>
> wrote:
> >
> > From: Maria Werlau <mariacwerlau at>
> >
> > Esteemed colleagues,
> >
> > An important opposition leader on the island, one of the best in Cuba,
> > needs a laptop computer. It can be a used model as long as it is in good
> shape.
> >
> > If you have used laptops at your workplace that you would like to put to
> > good use, this would be an effective way to do so.
> >
> > Please contact me if you can be of assistance.
> >
> > Best and thank you,
> >
> > Maria
> >
> >
> > Maria C. Werlau
> > Office Tel. (973)701-0520
> > Mobile (973)219-7000
> >
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