“This country is one big prison with walls built of ideology”
Issued on: Modified:
Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez was awarded Latin America's most prestigious prize in journalism in July this year. Going to pick it up however, would be impossible. Yoani is forbidden from leaving the country. Just before the awards ceremony was to take place, she went to the immigration centre. Here's what she had to say to the officer...
Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez was awarded Latin America's most prestigious prize in journalism in July of this year. Going to pick it up however, has proved impossible. Yoani is forbidden from leaving the country. Just before the awards ceremony was due to take place, she went to the immigration centre - to no avail.
Writer, blogger and linguist, Yoani Sanchez was named one of the most influential people on the planet by Time Magazine in 2008. A year later, she received the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University - a reward highly aspired to by Latin American writers.
Her blog, Generación Y, generates more than 14 million page views per month. According to the Cabot Prize jury, "Generation Y has put the rest of the world in touch with Cuba - at least digitally. (...) It is a pitch-perfect mix of personal observation and tough analysis which conveys better than anybody else what Cubans' daily life - with all its frustrations and hopes - is really like."
She filmed this video on a trip to the office of immigration and migration in Havana, October 12. At 00:25 the image stalls. The audio recording continues. Translation and subtitles by FRANCE 24.
Yoani posted the video on her blog along with the following comment:
I was naive. Right up to the last minute, I thought that the government would change their mind and let me out in time for the awards ceremony, which took place yesterday [Oct. 16].
I'd saved this footage from a trip to the immigration office on October 12. Today, seeing as the situation hasn't changed [Yoani has been prohibited from travel for a year now]; I decided to publish it, in particular for all those who have gone through similar situations. Due to high emotions and having so much to get out, it's quite hard to understand what I'm saying. But I feel better for having told those people in uniforms exactly what I think of them and their absurd restrictions."