Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cuban blogger receives Spanish award

Yoani Sanchez, a 32 year old Cuban woman, won a Spanish journalism award for her blog that largely criticized the Cuban Communist government. She couldn't attend the award ceremony in Spain to accept the prize because the Cuban government refused her request to travel to Madrid for the ceremony.

In response to this, she said "Nothing of what I have written in these 13 months speaks as loudly as my absence from this ceremony," Sanchez said in a tape recording. She said the fact she had to address the group through a recording was "the clearest evidence of the defenselessness of the Cuban people with respect to the state."

She was awarded the Ortega y Gasset Prize in digital journalism for creating the blog called "Generation Y," which gets more than 1 million hits a month, mostly from abroad.

She said the international recognition would not give her "immunity, because in Cuban society one is never immune from the State. But it does allow me to carry on more strongly with this small protective shield that the prize gives me."

Cuban authorities have made no sustained effort to shut down Sanchez's blog, although pro-government sites accuse her of accepting money from opposition groups.

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