In a country where one voice has dominated the political landscape for over 45 years, a University of Havana graduate has been successfully leading her own digital revolution one blog post at a time. Yoani Sanchez is the voice behind the award-winning blog Generation Y, a bilingual site that chronicles the daily struggles and bittersweet experiences of living in modern day Cuba. Being a blogger in the island is a tough task, especially since owning a personal computer and publishing anything outside of the revolutionary ideal isn’t necessarily encouraged.
Despite facing these adversities, the site has a steady readership of over 2 million and with the growing popularity came even more problems. In 2008, the Cuban government shut down her site, but with international support and a new URL she continues to run her blog today. However, in November of 2009 she faced a direct attack after being abducted, beaten, and detained by “secret police agents.”
Sanchez describes her experience as:
“They squeezed my wrists very hard, beat me in the back in the kidney area, and when people stepped in to do something, they said we were counter-revolutionaries…Clearly, the beating hurts even more a day later; I am still really affected by all of this, but it is not going to stop me from writing my blog.”
Being able to publicly challenging the one-sided political discourse that functions like an imaginary veil was proven to be virtually impossible from within the island. Sanchez has successfully dismantled a system that threatens and censors anything outside of the Revolution’s beliefs. As a Cuban American who has traveled to Cuba numerous times, I am greatly inspired by Sanchez’s determination and insight. I believe that if anyone has a right to speak about Cuba’s current state, it should be Cubans from the island. Change can come from slowly unveiling the truth and creating universal discourse. Technology and access to publishing tools will allow for Sanchez’s movement to continue and influence others to break the silence.
I leave you with an excerpt from her blog post titled “Mustard Colored“:
“Yes, my city is mustard, spicy and sour, seasoned by the old, increasingly distant from modernity. A sample at natural size, where there are days in which one would it like to be — like in the Model of Havana — made of plastic, or cardboard, but not suffering from so much ruin.”
Support Sanchez’s word and read her blog Desde Cuba/Generation Y! Sound off about your thoughts on her digital revolution. Do you think Cuba’s politics are changing?
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