Cuba's most well known dissident blogger, Yoani Sánchez, says she was simply walking down the street in Havana with three other people when two men she describes as Cuban agents in civilian clothes forced her inside an unmarked black car and beat her, telling her to stop criticizing the government, The Wall Street Journal reports.
A report by a watchdog group called the Inter American Press Association says the country's increased financial problems (due to a decline in tourism revenues and damage from several hurricanes) have for some reason prompted the government to work even harder to silence the growing dissident blogger movement.
The group said Cuba currently has 26 journalists in jail, and it cited 102 incidents against Cuban journalists in the past year, including beatings, arbitrary arrests and death threats. Sánchez is said to be the first blogger affected. She wrote about her experience on the Huffington Post:
Near 23rd Street, just at the Avenida de los Presidentes roundabout, we saw a black car, made in China, pull up with three heavily built strangers. "Yoani, get in the car," one told me while grabbing me forcefully by the wrist. The other two surrounded Claudia Cadelo, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and a friend who was accompanying us to the march against violence. The ironies of life, it was an evening filled with punches, shouts and obscenities on what should have passed as a day of peace and harmony. The same "aggressors" called for a patrol car which took my other two companions, Orlando and I were condemned to the car with yellow plates, the terrifying world of lawlessness and the impunity of Armageddon.
Sánchez, 34, writes about daily life in Cuba, including all of the frustrations that come with it. She said in an interview with the blog Mediaite, "I don't think their attack is against the person of Yoani Sánchez, but rather against the blogger phenomenon, a phenomenon of different opinions that is taking place in Cuba." She continued, "They still haven't understood the potential of the Web, and that these repressive measures do nothing but increase the number of hits on my blog."
The Cuban government hasn't commented on the attack.