May 5, 2011

Yoani Sánchez: "I consider myself a citizen"


This week we published Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth About Cuba Today by Yoani Sánchez. In 2007 Yoani started the blog Generation Y, which was one of the first blogs to speak frankly about life in Cuba. Yoani’s blog is political in the sense that to write truthfully about the quotidian in Cuba is a political act. It has brought her many headaches, intimidations, kidnappings, beatings, and countless other hardships. Yoani counted on these things when she started the blog, but she made a promise to herself that she was going to live as a free person.

The unintended consequence of starting the blog has been widespread international recognition. For instance, here’s a short list of the prizes and acknowledgements she’s received since starting Generation Y 4 short years ago:

Below is an interview she recorded for the 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum. She was invited to participate but was of course denied an exit visa by the Cuban government. Highlights from the interview include the following quotes:

“I have become a blogger because I started feeling inside of me an accumulation of questions, stories to tell, social dissatisfactions with no way to channel them. I decided that the internet was not one option among many, but the only possibility.”

“The blogosphere is a very difficult phenomenon to control by the totalitarian regimes. It’s an evasive and flexible phenomenon that mutates into the forms that are very difficult to stop…. I like to say that bloggers are like a flu that end up infecting a lot of people.”

“I consider myself a citizen. Why don’t I consider myself an opponent? Well, because I’m not politically active in a party, I don’t have a platform or a program for change, I’m simply a person that expresses herself.”