Friday, February 22, 2013

Cuba: Yoani Sánchez - Blogger, mercenary or traitor?

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

And so the international tournée of the Cuban "blogger" Yoani Sánchez gets under way. Who? The 37-year-old who has made hundreds of thousands of dollars spreading bad will and muck-raking against her own Government in Cuba and who has said absolutely nothing about its very positive humanitarian record.

Yoani Sánchez claims that she represents the Cuban people, yet earns from her foreign mentors the equivalent of 1,488 years of the Cuban mínimum salary. It's a bit like the village Priest claiming he should be the Pope, or the head of the local "I saw the Virgin Mary's Spaceship, twice" society claiming to be the President.

Let us be honest. Yoani Sánchez created her "blog" Generación Y in 2007 and has since then sent thousands of communications presenting a negative image of Cuba to her friends outside the country, who then post her comments onto the blogsite. The idea is to humiliate her country and tarnish its image in the international community.

No mention of the fact that the "system" in her country, Cuba, allowed her father enough social mobility to start his life as a labourer on the State railroad system and then move on to be an engineer. No mention of Cuba's healthcare programme overseas, in which Cuban medical expertise and medical facilities are made available for free in developing countries. No mention of Cuba's exportation of its education system and literacy programmes which have taught thousands upon thousands of people to read in tens of languages around the world.

No mention of Cuba's democratic system, which, were she to bother to explain it properly, would appear not to be anti-democratic but rather, the very paragon of democracy.

But why should Yoani Sánchez bother explaining anything as it is, when she can make a pretty penny writing sentences such as this: "Writing a travel log is as difficult as studying for a math test in a nightclub" in an article entitled Brazil... Ah! Brazil? But...but...but if Cuba is so oppressive, why did the authorities allow her to pass unhindered from José Marti airport, Havana, on her world tournée, knowing full well what she intended to do?

And let's be honest here. In the USA, she would have been imprisoned for doing the same thing, for 20 years (instigating the overthrow of the Government or established order), or 10 years (proffering declarations affecting the relationship of the country with others) or 3 years (maintaining correspondence with foreigners with the intention to influence regarding a conflict or controversy with the USA). In Italy her activities would have seen her incarcerated for between 3 and 10 years, in Spain, between 4 and 15.

So how can this Yoani Sánchez, who claims the Cubans are repressed but manages to go globe-trotting with income far and above higher than any average mortal, who claims that the Cuban people don't have access to the Internet but manages to make hundreds of thousands of dollars by slagging off her country, be taken seriously?

Maybe she should go back to the nightclub?

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