After 12/7/2011, this blog will no longer be updated, although content will remain. Please visit my new blog at Hidden Latitudes.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Generacion Y

Who is this woman?

She is 34 years old. She was, in 2008, voted one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. But you won't see her on CNN, or read her in the New York Times. Because Yoani Sanchez lives in Cuba. And she blogs about Cuba. And the Cuban authorities don't like that—or her. Here's a brief bit of bio:

In September 2000, I went to work in a dark office at Gente Nueva publisher, meanwhile arriving at the conviction—shared by most Cubans—that with the wages I earned legally I could not support my family.  So, without concluding my social service, I asked to be let go and dedicated myself to the better-paid labor of freelance Spanish teacher for German tourists visiting Havana.  It was a time (which continues today) when engineers preferred to drive a taxi, teachers would do almost anything to get a job at the desk of a hotel, and at store counters you could find a neurosurgeon or nuclear physicist.  In 2002, disenchantment and economic suffocation led me to emigrate to Switzerland, from where I returned—for family reasons and against the advice of friends and acquaintances—in the summer of 2004.
In those years I discovered the profession I continue to practice today: computer science.  I discovered that binary code is more transparent than affected intellectualism, and that if I’d never really come to terms with Latin, at least I could work with the long chains of HTML language.  In 2004 I founded, with a group of Cubans all based on the Island, Consenso, a magazine of reflection and debate.  Three years later I work as a web master, columnist, and editor of the site Desde Cuba [From Cuba].
In April 2007, I entangled myself in the adventure of having a blog called Generation Y that I have defined as “an exercise in cowardice” which lets me say, in this space, what is forbidden to me in my civic action.
To my surprise, this personal therapy earned me, in a short time, the attention of thousands of people around the world.  Thanks to the virtual citizens’ network that has woven itself around GY, I have been able to update this blog every week.  Since March 2008, the Cuban government has enforced a computer filter that prevents seeing my blog from public Internet sites in Cuba.  So I need the solidarity of friends off the Island to post my texts on the web.  Thanks also to other volunteer collaborators, Generation Y is translated into fifteen languages.

Her posts are stories of everyday Cuban life, which is often harrowing and dispiriting. Yet she remains strong, even despite personal harm, and gets the word out. Please listen. You can find her at  Generation Y.

—Wayne S.

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