The dissident blogger

Cuban journalist Yoani Sánchez challenges censorship with her articles, where she criticizes the policies of the communist regime. (14ymedio.com)

Cuban journalist became the voice of the opposition, critical of the Castro government

Cuba has been an isolated country for a long time. It was not easy to get information on politics, economics or on the Cuban society, especially because the government itself was in charge of limiting the contact of Cubans with the outside world.

For years, the regime has controlled the entry of foreigners to the island and the departure of Cubans to the rest of the world. The media, led by people related to the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC), are used to spreading propaganda of the government and praise the virtues of communism.

But this control and censorship clashes with the emergence of the Internet and new technologies. In the 21st century, controlling everything that is published on the networks is impossible, even for a government.

Cuban journalist Yoani Sánchez took advantage of that window of freedom to tell the world what life in Cuba was really like. In 2007 she started writing a blog called Generación Y, where she reported the violation of freedom by the Cuban government.

The purpose of her chronicles was to make a critical portrait of the Cuban reality: shortage of products, low wages, repression masked behind the principles of the Revolution.

Through her articles, Sanchez tried to escape censorship and dismantle the official version given by the regime.

Same happens with public education, for example. According to Cuban authorities, Cuba’s educational system is “one of the best in the world”, although it is of no use when the salaries in companies (owned by the government) are not enough to live on.

In Cuba, “engineers prefer work as taxi drivers, teachers go beyond just to work in a hotel and in stores you can find a neurosurgeon or a nuclear physicist behind the counter”, as Sánchez explains.

At first, to escape censorship, Yoani would pretend she was a tourist in Internet booths, to send her texts to foreign servers from where they could be published (the Castro regime controls everything that is published on servers on the island ).

In 2008, Generación Y won the Ortega y Gasset prize in the category of digital journalism and Sánchez was elected one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine. Her blog has received numerous awards in recognition of freedom of expression.

Today, Generación Y blog has become 14ymedio.com, a digital newspaper made in Cuba that talks about the current situation of the Caribbean country beyond the one stated officially.

In spite of computer attacks and the criticism of the defenders of the Cuban regime, the newspaper continues to publish with the purpose of putting the official information into question.

Cuba is living what many consider to be an “historical” moment: the relay of the Castro in the presidency. Sanchez believes that it is a strategy of the regime to simulate a change and then everything will remain just the same, but she will not stop writing about what happens in Cuba to make a change.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report

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