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Posted December 05, 2008 by Cubana in Yoani Sanchez

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The Wall Street Journal
As Cuba approaches the 50th anniversary of its revolution this New Year’s Day, the island’s Communist government appears to be taking a harder line against a budding group of Cuban Internet bloggers pushing for greater freedoms.

On Thursday, Cuban blogger Claudia Cadelo, was summoned to appear at the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of domestic security. A day earlier, Yoani Sanchez, the nation’s most prominent blogger, was told by authorities that her activities had “crossed the limits of tolerance,” and was told she couldn’t hold a planned meeting this Saturday of local bloggers, according to Ms. Sanchez.

Ms. Sanchez, who writes a blog called “Generation Y,” is at the forefront of a small group of bloggers in Cuba who chronicle life on the island and occasionally vent against its government, which was run for the past 49 years by Fidel Castro until he stepped aside earlier this year for health reasons and handed power to his brother Raúl. Ms. Sanchez was the subject of a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal in December, 2007. The 33-year-old wife and mother has won several awards recently for her work, and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people this year.

After the meeting, Ms. Sanchez reported on her blog that she was told the following: “We want to warn you that you have crossed the limits of tolerance with your closeness and contact with counter-revolutionary elements. The activity that you were pursuing for the next few days will not take place.”

Cuba routinely jails writers and others it deems are acting against national interests. But Cuba’s government hasn’t jailed any bloggers. So few Cubans have Internet access that the bloggers are more widely read abroad than at home.

That could change at any time, however. A new government decree, published this week online, said that Internet service providers must “prevent access to sites where the content is contrary to the social interest, morals or good customs; as well as the use of applications that affect the integrity or security of the State.”

Ms. Sanchez, who couldn’t be reached on Thursday for comment, was organizing a reunion of local bloggers this weekend to discuss themes like technical aspects of blogging, according to Ernesto Hernandez, who edits a Barcelona-based blog called “Penultimos Dias,” or “Penultimate Days.” Ms. Sanchez was also planning to announce the creation of a new contest for Cuban bloggers, judged by an independent panel, he said. Top prize was one of two laptops that Ms. Sanchez recently won.

“Now, everything is on stand-by,” Mr. Hernandez said in an email message.

A government spokesman said he had “no information” about contact between bloggers and government officials.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 05, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The Havana Journal proudly support Yoani Sanchez’s freedom of speech. It is our pleasure to shine the light of injustice on the Cuban government.

    We have been politely encouraged several times in indirect ways that we should not be so harsh against the Cuban government because it would be “in our best interest” or because HavanaJournal.com will be banned in Havana or because certain people will no longer post here.

    Well, we are banned in Havana and certain people have stopped posting here. They choose to ignore Cuban government agents like VoyHavana on Trip Advisor and choose to ignore the Cuban government’s propaganda site that is HavanaTimes.org.

    To those who choose to go along to get along in Cuba we say “Goodbye” and enjoy life with blinders on.

    Freedom will come to Cuba and those like Yoani, Oswaldo Paya, Oscar Elias Biscet (but not Marta Beatriz Roque) and others will rise to open Cuba so it can be the great country it once was and can easily become again.

    Good luck Yoani. Now is the time to fight back more than ever. The world is watching you and wishing you success with your struggle to speak freely.



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  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 05, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    A little more detail about Yoani Sanchez’s detention and blogging in Cuba.

    “The Communications Ministry put into effect a law this week that instructs the island’s Internet providers to “prevent access to sites where the content is contrary to social interests, morals or good custom, as well as the use of applications that affect the integrity or security of the State.”“

    The Havana Journal is proud to be on that list. The Havana Journal has been blocked for years in Cuba as though the Havana Journal is a threat to the Cuban government.

    I am very happy to see the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post picking up this story.



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