Yoani Sánchez Wins CEPOS Freedom Award / News Bulletin

CEPOS’ Freedom award goes to the Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez along with DKK 300,000

Source: CEPOS Website

CEPOS, An independent Danish think tank, has instituted an annual freedom award. This year, the prize will be awarded to the Cuban dissident, Yoani Sánchez who, through her blog ’Generación Y’, demands the right to exercise her freedom of speech when criticizing the current conditions in Cuba. By doing so, Yoani risks facing imprisonment for years, a fate experienced by other Cubans who have dared to utter the mildest critique of the Communist regime.

CEPOS Director Martin Agerup and Yoani in Havana

“Despite the huge personal costs, Yoani Sánchez has shown amazing courage by expressing her honest and personal opinion of the society she currently lives in. Single-handedly and at great personal expense, she has managed to keep focus on one of the world’s most suffocating dictatorships. CEPOS wishes to show admiration of her courage and dedication by awarding her this prize,” said CEPOS Director, Martin Ågerup, who met with Sanchéz in Cuba this week.

In 2007 Yoani Sánchez started writing her blog ‘Generación Y’ which quickly gained so much attention – both locally and globally – that the Cuban government decided to block access to the blog from all public computers in Cuba. Yet thanks to the World Wide Web, Yoani Sánchez’ words and thoughts haven’t been hushed; moreover each one of her blog contributions is continuously translated by volunteers into over 15 different languages.

Yoani Sánchez activism has meant that she is relegated to a life of scrutiny and harassment at the hands of the Cuban authorities. She doesn’t hold a real job, but manages to support herself by periodically working as a translator for German tourists. Ordinary Cubans do not have access to the internet, so when she started blogging, she had to buy access to the Internet through hotels where foreign tourists stay. The price for a single hour online corresponds to a quarter of one month’s salary for a normal Cuban.

Yoani Sánchez warns against seeing her blog as an evidence of freedom of expression in Cuba.

“On the contrary, it should be more seen as an act of rebellion. Yet with neither the prevalence of freedom of speech nor that of a technologic infrastructure, it has still been possible to communicate with the outside world”.

CEPOS has invited Yoani Sánchez to Copenhagen to attend the award ceremony in the near future.

“Sanchéz has on earlier occasions been denied an exit permit, including to this year’s Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway, but this time she both hopes and expects that the Cuban authorities will let her come to Denmark in order to accept the award in person”, Martin Ågerup concludes.

Information about CEPOS, The Center for Political Studies

CEPOS is an independent Danish think tank promoting a society based on freedom, responsibility, private initiative and limited government.

CEPOS was founded in 2004 by prominent Danish business people, thinkers and cultural personalities and started its work on March 10th 2005.

CEPOS wishes to contribute to more personal and economic freedom, rule of law and democracy as well as a limited government sustained by healthy civil institutions such as family, civil associations and cultural life.

CEPOS wishes to reform and limit direct and indirect economic support from the public authorities to the population. Government support shall benefit only the disadvantaged and will be abolished for people who can support themselves.

CEPOS encourages competition, supports free markets and global free trade, and opposes government subsidies to businesses.

CEPOS does not work at the request of any political party, public authority, commercial enterprise, organization or individual.