Freedom House Calls for Release of Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez
Freedom House calls on the Cuban government to immediately release Yoani Sanchez, Cuba’s most famous blogger, and to end its stranglehold on freedom of information on the island.
Sanchez, along with her husband and another activist, was detained on Friday while traveling to the eastern city of Bayamo to cover the trial of a Spanish citizen, Angel Carromero who is facing trumped-up charges of vehicular manslaughter by the Cuban authorities. Carromero was the driver in a suspicious car crash in July that led to the death of renowned Cuban activists Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero. This latest arrest is part of a concerted effort on the part of the Cuban government to squash dissent and suppress information surrounding Payá and Cepero’s mysterious deaths. In July, over 50 activists were arrested on their way to Payá’s funeral.
Sanchez, 37, is Cuba’s most recognizable face, crusading against Cuba’s information blockade and drawing tens of thousands of followers worldwide through her blog and savvy use of social media. Her efforts to shine a light on Cuba’s injustices present a serious threat to the Cuban regimes’ efforts to quell dissent and control its international image. The regime has systematically attacked Sanchez for pushing the boundaries of freedom of information in Cuba and has repeatedly refused to grant her a visa to travel to receive various international awards. According to Freedom House’s recently released 2012 Freedom of the Net report, Cuba is one of the most repressive countries in the world on internet freedom.