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Tweeting to Havana

HAVANA – I was taking my usual morning swim, but this time on the roof of the Parque Central hotel in Havana, where the sun does not rise until 6.30 a.m. even in May. In the dim light, I saw a man poolside. He told me that the pool opened at nine. I apologized. He shrugged and let me stay.

But he did not leave. The day before, I had met with two, well, not quite activists, but people who are unhappy with conditions in the country. Our conversation had taken place in the hotel’s lobby; at the table next to us, two men seemed more interested in our business than their own. Could this man at the pool have something to do with that meeting?

It was not inconceivable, though it was unlikely. I would not have been a good target, and the conversation had been frustratingly mild. I kept swimming as paranoid fantasies formed in my head.

In fact, the two passive dissidents had said little. What did they want? Well, more freedom; the ability to be published and heard in Cuba. Orlando Luis Pardo (@OLPL), a blogger, had published four books, but now no publisher in Cuba will talk to him.