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 Yoani Sanchez
Yoani Sanchez, 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. This year, First Lady 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.
Praise for Havana Real
"An important new voice, both literary and political."
—Larry Rohter, New York Times
"Perhaps the greatest hope for Cuba exists in the simple fact that Sanchez, a seriously disillusioned child of the revolution, chooses to stay there and pressure for change from within, while so many others choose to flee."
—Miriam Zoila Perez, Ms. Magazine
"With her vivid portraits of family and friends, including Cuba’s determined dissidents, Yoani Sanchez dissolves the abstractions used to fuse individuals into generic masses. Little wonder that state media have labeled her and her friends 'cyber commandos.'"
—Mary Speck, Washington Post
"Raw journalism at its best...Enlightening, engaging and brave, this is a must-read for anyone with an interest in Cuba--or for anyone who nurses romantic notions about this tiny, brutal communist state."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Other books offer a glance at Cuba still under a Castro, but none can compare with this remarkable diary of a life most can only imagine... unequivocally highly recommended not just just for all who are interested in Cuba today, but for fans of memoir, non-U.S. women's perspectives, and all who are concerned with human rights."
"A heckuva writer... A sharp-edged snapshot of life in Cuba."
—Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
Praise for Yoani Sánchez
“Under the nose of a regime that has never tolerated dissent, Sánchez has practiced what paper-bound journalists in her country cannot: freedom of speech. . .”
“Ms. Sánchez paints an unflinching, and deeply personal, portrait of the Cuban experience.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Filled with personal observations and sardonic social commentary . . . [Sánchez’s] bleak poetry does not focus overtly on politics, but instead conveys the texture of daily life in a crumbling totalitarian system.”
—The New York Times
“[Sánchez] provides the world a unique window into the realities of daily life in Cuba . . . empower[ing] fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology.”
“What has probably unnerved the regime is not so much her attacks on the Castro brothers as her vivid description of daily life. . . . Where does this woman get her courage?”
—The Washington Post
"She has used technology to promote positive change. She has created an interactive space for the exchange of ideas and free expression. She has given voice to the concerns and aspirations of her fellow citizens…. And so her words, despite her government’s best efforts, are being translated into other languages, are being picked up and spread around because freedom knows no boundaries. And she deserves our thanks for demonstrating that again and again."