Thanks to journalism professor and former Dallas Morning News reporter and Havana bureau chief, Tracey Eaton, as well as his blog, Along the Malecón, I have been following Yoani Sánchez for a few years via twitter and her blog, Generación Y. Yoani is known for telling the world what it is really like to live daily under the Castro regime in Cuba. She has done this by writing blog entries and then emailing them to people outside of Cuba who then post them to her blog for her. The blog has grown tremendously through the years and is translated into 17 languages.
Yoani was born in 1975 and went to Cuban schools when the Soviet regime was heavily subsidizing Cuba. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the money to Cuba stopped. She graduated from university with a degree in philology and specialized in contemporary Latin literature. Yoani left Cuba for Switzerland in 2002, as did her husband and son. When she returned to Cuba two years later, she had to destroy her passport in order to stay, as she had been out of the country for an extended time without permission. She and her family were granted a waiver and resettled in Havana. She began blogging and used her real name. At the same time she and others formed a magazine called Consenso, reflecting on affairs in the country. After being denied numerous times to leave the country again temporarily, in 2013 she was allowed to travel to Europe and South America for some conferences on social networks, human rights, and journalism.
During the years of blogging, Yoani has dealt with her blog being shut down by the regime, she was accosted by government authorities and beaten, and arrested for no reason so she could not write about an important story. Yoani is one of my modern day heroes.
Important links to find out more about Yoani: