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Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez says her digital newspaper is launching soon

Posted on Tuesday, 04.01.14

Cuban Yoani Sanchez says her digital newspaper is launching soon

Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez says her planned digital newspaper is just
weeks away from its debut, with a dozen staffers getting last minute
training and looking for novel ways to distribute the reports with text
messages, emails and digital memory devices.

The publication, which she prefers to call a “new media,” will include
the usual news as well as investigative reports, sports, interviews and
profiles, Sánchez told the Hispanicize conference Tuesday at the
Intercontinental in downtown Miami.

She coyly declined to reveal the name of the publication — a risky
endeavor in a country where the communist government controls all
newspapers, radio and television outlets — but said she hopes it will
launch in late April or early May.

“I am not a career , but I have become a on the
run. That is my passion. I believe in the force for change that is
information. I dream of working in a newsroom,” she told a luncheon
where she was awarded the “Latinovator” prize.

Distribution will rely on cell phones and emails because Cubans have
more mobile phones than computers — a meager 74 per 1,000 according to
the latest official figures, she said — and easily available memory
devices such USB flash drives, DVDs and CDs.

She hopes the publication will be inserted into so-called Combos, which
are DVDs and other large memory formats recorded with massive amounts of
information like movies and telenovelas and regularly passed around
hand-to-hand in Cuba these days.

The staff is also working on several backup ways of distributing the
reports and getting around government censors, Sánchez added. Other
publications often send their reports to supporters abroad who then send
them back to the island electronically.

Government officials will likely try to crack down on her digital
newspaper, Sánchez told a news conference after the award luncheon,
perhaps by blocking its distribution, slandering its staffers or feeding
them false information.

Arresting the writers would be “clumsy,” added the author of the
Generación Y, although several independent journalists have been charged
under Law 88, known as the Gag Law, with “publishing false news against
world peace.”

Sánchez drew laughs when she noted that since the Cuban government
refuses to issue work permits for independent journalists — those who do
not want to work for the state monopoly — she obtained a license for
the closest type of work, typist.

Conference organizer Manny Ruiz introduced her as “a model for using her
voice as a journalist and human being through the social media.” The
conference was launched in 2009 as a way to connect major companies with
the Hispanic consumer market.

On Cuba’s new foreign law, approved by its parliament over
the weekend, the blogger said she remains skeptical of a government that
has seized the properties of even politically friendly investors in the

“This is a government that has shown it acts because of convenience and
does not respect private capital,” she said. Sánchez added, however,
that people abroad should support the nascent sector of private micro
businesses known as “self employment.”

“Economic autonomy is political autonomy,” she declared.

Asked about , Sánchez said Nicolás Maduro appears to
be following some of the Cuban government’s traditional ways of dealing
with its critics — refusing to recognize them, throwing them in
and blaming others abroad.

She added that some Cubans 50 years and older fear that the collapse of
the Maduro government — and his subsidies to Havana estimated at up to
$10 billion a year — will unleash a crisis in Cuba like the one that
followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Its
shrank by 35 percent when the Soviet subsidies stopped.

Other Cubans believe that a change in Venezuela could force the Raúl
Castro government to open the country’s doors further to private
economic activity and perhaps even political freedoms, she said.

Sánchez added that Cuban government controls are so tight, and the
social fabric of the country is so damaged after more than 50 years of
Castro rule, that she does not foresee the possibility of similar
anti-government protests breaking out there.

Source: Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez says her digital newspaper is
launching soon – Cuba – –

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