The Future of Cuban Bloggers?

You may have never heard of it before, but Generation Y is the most prominent website in Cuba, which is saying a lot given that internet access in the socialist country is severely restricted. But all around bad ass Yoani Sanchez, the masterful writer behind Generacion Y, doesn’t let that phase her.

Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and winner of the 2008 Ortega y Gasset award for digital journalism, the blogger was gearing up for the first ever 2-day blogging workshop to be held on the island when she was apprehended by local Cuban authorities. As reported by Mother Jones, Sanchez was summoned to appear before state security officials, and recently posted the police warrant that was issued and detailed the threats she received when she showed up for her appointment. Sanchez says the Cuban police, whom she refers to as “intimidation professionals” told her, “We want to warn you that you have transgressed all the limits of tolerance with your rapprochement and contacts with counter-revolutionary elements…The activities planned for the coming days cannot be carried out.”

Sanchez wasn’t the only Cuban blogger to be called in by state officials; Claudia Cadelo was also summoned but was not able to appear due to illness. The Cuban government appears to be tightening its controls over the blogosphere and internet, imposing new measures last week ordering service providers to “prevent access to sites where the content is contrary to the social interest, morals or good customs.”

The bloggers who planned to attend the conference held their meeting online instead of meeting in person and facing possible arrest. As it stands, many of the Cuban bloggers can only indirectly contribute to their own sites. Sanchez sends her musings to friends all over the world who then translate and update her blogs in a slew of different languages. None of Yoani’s writings are overtly critical of the Castro regime or of socialism, but rather illuminate daily life in Havana, a world that has in many ways been cut off from outside influence and where citizens are all too familiar with feelings of frustration and longing.

The Cuban government has been shameless in it’s jailing of independent journalists it considers to be “counter-revolutionary” but has yet to jail any bloggers.