The Voice of Cuba’s ‘Generacion Y’ — Ask-Her-Anything on Reddit [Updated]
[Update: We had a great conversation with Yoani and the Reddit community. Check it out here, and let us know what you think.]
In many ways, Cuba is a tough place to get to know, at least if you want independent perspectives. As we've written about here, there are many people (activists, bloggers, artists, skilled professionals) who have long been prohibited from leaving the country. (And citizens from its large neighbor to the north, of course, are prohibited from visiting by their own government.) Media is primarily controlled by the government, and independent reporting is a difficult and risky task (see Cuba near the very bottom of the Reporters Without Borders rankings of press freedom). Even music is tightly controlled, with musicians often barred from distributing or performing their songs; indeed, there have been recent cases where Cubans with political leanings that differ from the government have been jailed in part for simply listening to certain music.
This is true despite the existence of the internet. For one, Cuba has not had much of a connection to the information superhighway, as the percentage of Cubans with full access is estimated to be in the single digits. Text, audio, and video downloaded from the internet gets passed around on flash drives, and it is often only those who can afford exorbinant hourly fees to use slow wifi at hotels that can get online.
This difficulty makes an opportunity to speak with one of the foremost voices for free expression, democracy, and rule of law so valuable. Yoani Sanchez, a well known blogger, has gotten the chance totravel outside of Cuba for the first time in a decade, a development that surprised many, including Yoani herself. She is a leader in the courageous blogoshpere that has grown in Cuba despite the numerous obstacles, and in that role she has done as much as anyone to report on political and social developments in her country, amplify the voices of activists, and push for the major reform that is needed. She has wasted no time in traveling around the world to spread her message, and on Saturday, 16 March at 2:00 PM EST, Yoani will join Movements.org on Reddit—that active, rambunctious, and far-reaching online community—to discuss her work, her recent travels, and her hopes for the future in Cuba. Yoani "lives" on Twitter and her Generación Y blog, so this is a great opportunity for a new community to have an open discussion with her about Cuba. She also writes and tweets in Spanish, so we'll be doing real-time translation.
So, join us on Reddit—Saturday, 16 March, 2:00 PM EST—for the latest in our series of activist chats. We've spoken to young Saudi activists, North Korean defectors, and more, and this could prove to be our most lively one yet. And check back here afterwards for a wrap-up.
Meanwhile, here is a basic curriculum to learn more about Cuba, Yoani, and activism in Cuba:
Yoani's blog, Generación Y
(Learn more about the 'Ladies in White' in English.)
Some examples: Los Aldeanos are a banned but popular hip hop group,
& punk band Porno para Ricardo is banned for political and sexual lyrics.