A rare war of words is raging in Cuba.
An hour after joining Twitter, Mariela Castro -- president Raúl Castro's daughter and possible successor -- promptly got into an all-out digital girl fight with Cuban dissident Yoani Sánchez.
Castro called Sánchez and other opposition bloggers "despicable parasites," but Sánchez didn't back down. Here's how it played out.
"They tell me that Mariela Castro has opened an account on Twitter," Sánchez tweeted yesterday shortly after after Castro joined the social networking site. "One question for her: When will Cubans be able to break free of [all] restraints?"
Then she tweeted Castro directly: "Welcome to Twitter pluralism @CastroEspinM. Here, no one can silence me, deny me permission to travel nor impede my entry."
"Your focus on tolerance resurrects old power structures," Castro bizarrely responded. "To improve the value of your 'services,' you need to educate yourself."
Sánchez kept on questioning the president's daughter, who has advocated for gay and lesbian rights on the island. "Another little question for @CastroEspinM. How can you ask for selective acceptance for one issue [gay rights]. Acceptance is total, or not?"
Castro didn't answer. Instead, she took an indirect swipe at Sánchez in another post. "Friends who follow me, thanks for your messages," she wrote. "I appreciate also the mediocre-minded and bored for sharing my tweets with others."
The Twitter flap could have long-ranging consequences for Cuba, a country where freedom of expression has been quashed for decades. Is it a sign that Cuban authorities are lightening up?
Almost as important: who won the spat?
On that, it seems, the internet has already spoken. Castro currently sports less than 2,000 Twitter followers. Sánchez? Almost 200,000.
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