Posted: December 4, 2008 by lamayor in Blogs, Communism, Cuba


By LAMayor

Read the title of this post again.


We bloggers don’t really need them to do what we do.  We live in freedom.  We can spout our criticisms in our comfy living rooms with wireless broadband access without fear of a knock on the door late at night.  We’re not all so lucky.  That said, let me introduce to Yoani Sanchez.

Ninety-eight pound soaking wet, this brave Cuban woman speaks truth to totalitarian power everyday in a country where no one dares sticks their head out for fear of having it chopped off.  Yet at Generacion Y, this woman with BALLS puts them out there, Devil may care.

Don’t know who she is?  Well, read this . . . .

More important, under the nose of a regime that has never tolerated dissent, Sánchez has practiced what paper-bound journalists in her country cannot: freedom of speech. The pieces she has been clandestinely sending out from Internet cafés—while posing as a tourist—are often funny, elegantly written and poignant. Her subjects have included the shortage of lemons, the turgid proceedings of the Cuban parliament and the slowness of meaningful reforms by Raúl Castro.

This is a woman who, without rancor but with the firmness of voice steeped in truth, fearlessly documents what she sees everyday.  She clandestinely blogs at Internet cafes and is unknown in her own country because the regime’s filters block her.  No matter though.  She still scares the shit out of the regime.

Like what happened yesterday (in Spanish).  Translation below . . . .

Round One

I swear I haven’t driven through a red light, haven’t bought cheese on the black market for at least two months, haven’t left any store without paying. I don’t particularly recall breaking laws these days, not even having passed myself off as a foreigner to use the Internet in some hotel.

Not withstanding, Reinaldo [her husband] and I have been summoned to appear at the police station on 21 and C in Vedado tomorrow morning. I ask myself whether I should take my toothbrush or whether it is only a terse reprimand I will receive.

I share the official document I received today from a sweaty official who climbed fourteen floors of stairs- since I haven’t had an elevator in a month.

At nine AM I’ll know what it’s about . . . expect my report after two.

Wednesday’s Reprimand

Nine AM and a bored-looking official looks at the summons we have presented at the door of the station on 21 and C. He leaves us seated on some benches, waiting about forty minutes which Reinaldo and I spend discussing matters that get lost in everyday life. At quarter to ten, they take my husband, asking first whether he has a cell phone. Ten minutes later, they return him and take me up to the second floor.

The encounter is brief, the tone energized. There are three of us in the office, and the one with the singer’s voice introduces himself as Agent Roque. At my side, the younger one watches and says his name is Camilo. They announce that they are with the Interior Ministry. They are not interested in listening. There is a script on the table and nothing will distract them. They are professionals of intimidation.

The subject I expected: we are approaching the date of the blogger meetup we have been organizing, with neither secrecy nor publicity, for the past six months and which they proclaim must be cancelled. About a half hour later, when we [Reinaldo and Yoani] were away from uniforms and photos of leaders on the walls, we tried to reconstruct what was said.

We want to advise you that you have transgressed the limits of tolerance in your closeness and contact with elements of the counterrevolution. This disqualifies you totally to conduct dialogue with Cuban authorities.

The activity scheduled for the next few days cannot take place.

We, for our part, will take all measures and will lodge the pertinent charges and take the necessary actions. This event- in these moments which the nation is living, recuperating from two hurricanes- will not be permitted.

By this time Roque is finished speaking. He winds up screaming, and I seize the opportunity to ask him for all of it in writing. Being a blogger who presents her name and face has led me to believe that others should be willing to place their identity next to what they say. The man has lost the rhythm of the script- he was unprepared for my librarian’s quirks. He stops reading what was written and yells more forcefully that “they don’t have to give me anything.”

Before they excuse me from the place with a “leave citizen,” I get the chance to tell them that they cannot sign their name to what they have told me because they do not have the courage to do so. The word “Cowards” bursts from me through laughter. I go down the stairs and hear the sound of chairs being rearranged back into place. Wednesday has ended early.”

Like I said, BALLS.

Yoani Sanchez won Spain’s Premio de Ortega y Gasset (their Pulitzer Prize) and the BOB’s Jury Prize for Best Blog.  All freedom loving people, especially Americans, should support her and shout her name from the rooftops.  We at Disloyal Opposition proudly feature her on our blogroll and urge you to check her out and recommend her to your friends.  Most of all, pray for her and for the freedom of not just the Cuban people but all who live under unbearable oppression yet have the BALLS to stand up and tell them where to stick it.

(Yoani blogs in Spanish but features occasional English translations.)

  1. cacoop says:

    Unbelievable. Makes me want to learn Spanish. FYI – first link is broken.

  2. Luis Mayor says:

    The more I read about this Cuban girl, Yoani Sanchez, the more I think she should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. (Not a chance in hell knowing that the Nobel is ran by lefties of the worst kind). There is no doubt that this lady is an incredible fighter for freedom with “cojones” to spare.
    May God bless her!!

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