Having broken through one long-standing barrier, Yoani Sánchez, the pioneering figure in Cuba’s independent blogosphere, is looking to smash another. “It seemed like an impossible dream, but here I am,” Sánchez told a gathering today at CPJ’s New York offices. After being denied travel authorization at least 20 times in the past, Sánchez is in the midst of her first trip abroad in a decade. And now, Sánchez said, she plans to launch a new publication upon her return to the island nation. Though the project is still in conception, she hopes the result will be modern and innovative in look and content, carrying everything from comprehensive sports coverage to critical opinion columns.
If she succeeds, it will be another landmark for the writer behind Generation Y. That blog, which revolutionized the Cuban information landscape when it debuted in 2007 by offering critical analysis and reporting, is still mostly inaccessible for the average Cuban. Cuba has very few private Internet connections, state-run Internet cafés are highly censored, and hotel connections are prohibitively expensive for most citizens. The launch of a new, broad-based news publication, especially if it were one that could be widely read in Cuba, would have significant implications for press freedom. After all, all authorized domestic news media in Cuba are controlled by the Communist Party, which recognizes freedom of the press only “in accordance with the goals of the socialist society.”