Dissident Blogger Launches Cuba's First Independent Media Outlet in 50 Years

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Yoani Sánchez, the dissident Cuban blogger, has launched the country's first independent media outlet in the last 50 years, which she promises will be a platform against the government. Sánchez first rose to fame with her Generation Y blog, a similarly critical platform against the Cuban government that will be folded into the new website. 14ymedio, an online-only "newspaper," doesn’t have a print version, but article topics range from homelessness to tips on dry and damaged hair. She told the AP that the 14ymedio isn’t anti-Castro; rather, it’s “committed to the truth, to Cubans’ everyday reality.”

14ymedio – a play on the the website's inaugural year 2014 and “medio,” which is "media” in English – has also been tweeting tributes to other Cuban journalists and a declaration that 14ymedio is Cuba’s complete, detailed, and updated “cultural billboard.” Sánchez is destined to be a lone blogger, for now, as the distribution of independent mass media is banned under Cuban law, and — because newspaper publishing is not an authorized business — she cannot hire a staff.

According to a BBC report, critics say that the website won’t reach many Cubans inside the country due to restrictions on Internet access. Al Jazeera America’s Alfonso Serrano  reports that Internet access costs around $4.50 an hour. The site was hacked within an hour of launching, but appears to have recovered. However, as many repressive regimes have learned, fighting back against dissidents only increases their power. In response, Sánchez tweeted, “"Bad strategy by the Cuban government to redirect our site from Cuba," she wrote on Twitter. "There's nothing more attractive than the forbidden."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.