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Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth about Cuba Todayby Yoani Sanchez
Synopses & Reviews
Yoani Sánchez is an unusual dissident: no street protests, no attacks on big politicos, no calls for revolution. Rather, she produces a simple diary about what it means to live under the Castro regime in Cuba: the difficulty of shopping and chronic hunger; the art of repairing ancient appliances; the struggle for real news and the burdens of reading the party newspaper; the fear of admission to hospitals that lack the supplies for basic sterilization; and a life structured by a propaganda machine that pushes deep into the media, the public square, and the schools. Each sensitive dispatch is a brutal and honest depiction of Cuban life today.
For these simple acts of truth telling--which are published online at Generation Y, and collected here in English for the first time--Sanchez is treated as a domestic radical: she is summoned by the police; her friends are threatened; she was recently kidnapped and beaten. The state newspaper has gone so far to call her "a spy in the pay of capitalism."
Her ultimate concern, however, is for her friends in prison, and for the many who have fled, and for all those who have ceased to believe in the future of Cuba. Here the situation is elegantly expressed from the perspective of important and compelling new voice, one that has already found a worldwide audience online.
She's been kidnapped and beaten, lives under surveillance, and can only get online—in disguise—at tourist hotspots. She's a blogger, she's a Cuban, and she's a worldwide sensation.
Yoani Sánchez is an unusual dissident: no street protests, no attacks on big politicos, no calls for revolution. Rather, she produces a simple diary about what it means to live under the Castro regime: the chronic hunger and the difficulty of shopping; the art of repairing ancient appliances; and the struggles of living under a propaganda machine that pushes deep into public and private life.
For these simple acts of truth-telling her life is one of constant threat. But she continues on, refusing to be silenced—a living response to all who have ceased to believe in a future for Cuba.
About the Author
YOANI SÁNCHEZ, a University of Havana graduate in philology, emigrated to Switzerland in 2002. Two years later, she decided to return to Cuba but promised herself she would live there as a free person and started her blog, Generation Y, upon her return. In 2008, Time magazine named her one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World"; it named Generation Y one of the "Best Blogs of 2009." Spain honored her with its highest award for digital journalism, the Ortega y Gasset Prize. In 2011, Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored her with the International Women of Culture Award. She lives with her husband, independent journalist Reinaldo Escobar, and their son in a high-rise apartment in Havana overlooking Revolution Square.
M.J. PORTER lives in Seattle, where she is a partner in a transportation-consulting firm. She co-founded the cooperative website, HemosOido.com, where volunteers now translate the work of more than thirty Cuban bloggers into English, German, French and Danish.
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History and Social Science » Latin America » Cuba