CUBA

Time Magazine honours our Observer in Cuba

Blogger Yoani Sanchez, who's been commenting on Cuba for the Observers since its launch, has been selected by Time Magazine as one of "the world's most influential people". Fidel Castro, on the other hand, didn't quite make it.

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Blogger Yoani Sanchez, who's been commenting on Cuba for the Observers since its launch, has been selected by Time Magazine as one of "the world's most influential people". Fidel Castro, on the other hand, didn't quite make it.

Yoani Sanchez, 32, reacts to the accolade by Time Magazine. Her blog.

I was really surprised. To see my name alongside those of Vladimir Putin and the Dalai Lama! But I never asked for this fame. I'm just a normal person, talking about ordinary life. And that's probably what made my blog successful. I don't speak directly about politics. I'm just honest about how many Cubans live. It might seem astonishing to see my name there and not Fidel Castro's. But his time has passed.

My blog gets four million hits a month. It's become a place where Cuban and foreign web-users can meet and converse. At the beginning I had a lot of insults, but I think that the level of conversation has really progressed. Of course, a lot of Cubans are still scared to post comments, in case they get found, but they're getting involved more and more.

Unfortunately, my blog has just been banned in Cuba, at least in the cybercafés and hotels that I use. Because of that I have to send my comments by email to friends abroad, where they can post them for me. They also send me back comments posted on the site and I then have to reply [5300 comments were added to her last post].

The authorities have never cracked down on me. But I've been invited to Spain to receive an award. And obviously, I haven't been given the go-ahead to leave the country. It's two weeks I've been waiting now. And my plane leaves tomorrow..."

Yoani, at home, taken in February