Cuba: Leaving the Country is not so easy …

I love Cuba. Beautiful people, beautiful landscape, great food;-) 10 years ago, maybe 12, I travelled the island extensively, staying as much as I could with locals – I always felt welcome, safe and @home. I remember making phone calls was a big issue then! The landlines were still poorly developped. And of course Internet and social media weren’t a topic then … But this has changed. Everywhere. So in Cuba.

Today Cuban bloggers have done well to document the political, economic, and technological obstacles that prevent still most Cubans from using the Internet. Even though there is a wide range of “anti” Cuban government stories out there. And the government is watching it!

So nobody really believes that it was coincdence that Yoaní Sánchez, Cuba’s most famous blogger, who has received countless international awards for her activism, was detained briefly and beaten by Cuban authorities on November 6, along with fellow bloggers, Claudia Cadelo and Orlando Luís Pardo Lazo. The three were on their way to an anti-violence march in the Cuban capital, Havana.

Yoaní’s blog is extremely popular for anyone interested about Cuba, and has been often featured as an example of cyber-dissidence in Western media such as The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, Público or BBC Mundo. Since Fidel Castro’s retirement from the Cuban Presidency in Februray and with the world’s eyes turned on Cuba, Generación Y’s popularity has increased even more, reaching 4 million visitors in March and 1,600 comments in her latest post. Probably for that popularity, Yoani’s blog was recently blocked by the Cuban authorities, outraging Cuban bloggers in the diaspora and blog readers in general.

Yoani has also been refused permission to travel outside of Cuba at least six times in the past two years alone, she has not been able to attend a single one of the respective award ceremonies. Yoani Sánchez practices what paper-bound journalists in her country cannot: freedom of speech. Here is a brief video statement from her, produced after she wasn’t allowed to travel to Frankfurt Book Fair in October:

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