Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fresh Hope for Change in Cuba

Stephen Schlesinger Author and Fellow at the Century Foundation

Fresh Hope for Change in Cuba
Posted: 10/22/2013 10:14 am

Yoani Sanchez, the 38-year-old blogger from Cuba, received her
long-delayed Maria Moors Cabot Award from Columbia University last
night. She had originally earned the honor in 2009 for her fearless
reports on conditions in Cuba but the Cuban government barred her from
traveling to New York City to get it. Over the years, Ms. Sanchez has
won worldwide acclaim for hosting the "Generation Y" blog which tells
about the realities of life in the island nation.

A spirited, forthright individual, she has pushed a crusade forward to
pry open the limits of freedom in her home country. Because the Castro
regime regularly censors her blog, she usually emails her entries to
friends abroad who then post them on-line where Havana cannot erase
them. In her remarks last night, she said that the award meant
heightened responsibility on her part for her future role in Cuba: "The
responsibility of knowing that I am exercising journalism within a very
battered society.

In a country where a strict control over information has been erected as
one of the most important mechanisms of political control. A society of
barricades, where sharing one's opinion, reporting, doing an interview
can immediately tar one as untrustworthy, as someone to be spied on and
silenced. But, as in any society rife with censorship, I perform
journalism in a nation where a simple chronicle, an op-ed column, or
even a brief article of reportage also has the power to reveal reality,
to liberate....The responsibility to assure that the press contribute to
finding solutions, to generate all those debates that we haven't been
able to have in Cuba for decades. The responsibility to rescue those
moments of history that were stolen from us." Her defiance has inched
open space for civil discourse beyond what anybody might have expected.
The Cuban government has tacitly recognized that things have changed in
the post-Fidel Castro era by allowing her to travel around the globe and
speaking freely about her dissent in Cuba.

Source: "Fresh Hope for Change in Cuba | Stephen Schlesinger" -

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