Cuban digital journalism, trans-politics in Thailand, and anti-World Cup protests

Cycling through The Guardian to work on my next assignment (an analysis of anti-immigration sentiment in the United Kingdom), a handful of scattered world news caught my eye. One of particular interest to me was the opening of Cuba’s first digital newspaper, by blogger Yoani Sánchez. Suppression of freedom of speech is one of the greatest criticisms of the modern Cuban government, and it seems that Sanchez has experienced her own challenges in getting her writing out.

This news is exciting to me, because it feels like a reminder that writing and recording are important, and the act of practicing them is a worthwhile one. I wish the project good luck in bringing plurality to the political conversation in Cuba. The newspaper, 14ymedio, will be launched on May 21, according to Sanchez’ blog. Sanchez’ original blog, Generation Y, has been translated into English.

To supplement BBC’s coverage of political unrest in Thailand, I’ve begun reading The Bangkok Post. It’s an English newspaper, and in fact Thailand’s oldest newspaper. I’m not writing anything about the political situation in Thailand today – although I might at a later date, but I’ve been scouring the Post pretty regularly, and came on some news I wanted to share. Thailand’s first ever “gender diversity” clinic for youth is opening in Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok. The article is a little vague about what specific services would be offered at ages below 16, although Dr. Jiraporn does reference “standard practices” in other countries. I think it’s a progressive step – even if the best service they offer is counselling, support and advocacy from a medical background, I think those would be valuable for young people who working on finding their gender identity.

Cities across Brazil are erupting in protest against the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup. The grievance of the protestors is the government’s immense investment in stadiums and supporting facilities, instead of funding social services for the country. More specifically, lack of investment in housing seems to be the largest grievance. Notable is the fact that the protests took place in Brasilia and Sao Paolo, not only host city Rio de Janeiro. The World Cup takes place on June 12 – I can only expect that protests will increase in intensity leading up to it. I hope that the protests remain peaceful, but I am heartened by the political activity of the Brazilian people  and their willingness to go to the streets to express their anger and frustration.

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