Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez Refused Travel Visa to Receive Ortega y Gasset Prize


Ortega y Gasset Prize Winner Yoani Sanchez

I do not think it is particularly surprising to report that Cuban authorities have refused permission for a travel visa to Generación Y blogger and Ortega y Gasset prize winner for digital journalism Yoani Sanchez to go to Spain to claim her prize.  I reported on the announcement of the award last month, now the news is "official" -- how ugly that word sounds now -- that she will not be permitted to leave Cuba.  This action comes as a tremendous disappointment to everyone who has followed Yoani's blogging; I'm actually afraid to put her blog on the sidebar for fear I will unnecesarily draw the wrong kind of attention to her, but it only serves as further proof of the realities of the supposed "changes" we read are coming for post-Fidel Cuba from leftist blogging sites all over the internet.  Welcome back to reality, little has changed.  Except for the fact that there is a courageous voice speaking very softly through the short blog snippets she posts to let the world know she is there.

Yes; she really is there. Yoani Sanchez was named to Time magazine's list of the "100 Most Influential People" for 2008, a rare honor for someone who began blogging from obscurity less than two years ago, but an honor that clearly raises her profile.  If you would like to read a quick essay that expresses the significance of Yoani's blogging from the perspective of freedom-loving Cuban exiles, check out the article at KillKastro that really gets to the heart and soul of what Yoani represents spiritually to Cubans on and off the island.  The Babalu Blog follows Yoani as closely as anyone, in both English and Spanish.  You can find several entries on their homepage as of today, but you might want to check out their "Yoani Roundup" post to get links to a quick overview of several sources.  And as always, Marc Masferrer's Uncommon Sense blog keeps track of anything and everything to do with Cuban journalists and freedom of expression on the island.  He has two recent posts worth examining;  A Dangerous Woman and No White Card for Yoani.

If you read Spanish, there are a number of places to look, but let me give you two quick links to help.  Penúltimos Días has a heart-rending "open letter" written to Yoani by Ernesto Hernández Busto from Barcelona expressing beautiful affection and sadness that she may not be present to pick up her prize; I wish everyone could read it to get a sense of how Yoani is really touching something deep inside people who understand the dangers of the path she walks.  And not surprisingly, Martha Colmenares continues to track Yoani's story.

Yoani Sanchez is a true blogger-hero who does as much as anyone to bring dignity and meaning to this passion for online expression so many of us share.  We will continue to look to her for inspiration.  And we will also hope and pray that someday she and other Cubans will be able to travel abroad, expressing by their presence on and off the island that basic human right of free movement, which is only one of so many human rights denied them today.

¡Felicitaciones Yoani!



Martha Colmenares said...

Lo he enlazado.
Cordiales saludos. Martha

Anonymous said...

Keep it up.
Doing a nice job

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