Despite two arrests in a month, a defiant Cuban blogger is right back at it, criticizing the Havana government as part of a drive that has made her famous abroad even if she is little known at home.
Yoani Sanchez took to social media on Friday and had little to say about the eight hours she spent in detention, but she did say she was delighted with her role as regional vice chair for Cuba of the Inter American Press Association’s (IAPA) Press Freedom Committee.
The Miami-based media watchdog named her to the post on Thursday while the 37-year-old activist was held in a Havana police station with other opposition figures, trying to find out about dissidents picked up a day earlier.
Those 16 people were freed on Thursday night and early on Friday.
When Sanchez was freed, she tweeted to her 355,423 followers: “Once again I can walk along the streets of Havana after being detained for several hours. I am fine. Thanks for your support!”
Bloggers close to Cuba’s communist regime regularly attack Sanchez on social media. Oddly, her recent arrests were announced by her main detractor, a blogger who goes by the name of Yohandry Fontana.
Yohandry (www.yohandry.com), who tweets all day, just as Sanchez does, defended her arrest.
“She was arrested for provoking Cuba on orders from the US ... hours after” US President Barack Obama won re-election on Tuesday.
Sanchez, whose blog Generacion Y is translated into 15 languages, had been arrested on Oct. 5 in the southeastern city of Bayamo and was freed 30 hours later in Havana. She had tried to cover the trial of Spanish political activist Angel Carromero, the driver in a road accident that left leading Cuban opposition figure Oswaldo Paya dead in July.
Sanchez’ arrest was covered profusely by Yohandry.
Sanchez tweeted on Friday that one of the main challenges of her new role at the IAPA will be to prepare a detailed report on freedom of the press in Cuba.
Although she is an international celebrity, Sanchez is almost unknown in Cuba, especially outside Havana. In Cuba, the Americas’ only one-party Communist regime, it is illegal to speak out against the government, news outlets are controlled by the state, access to the Internet is tightly controlled and there is no broadband.