Yoani Sánchez, a winner of the 2015 ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award, is a trailblazing Cuban blogger and founder of the country’s first independent daily digital news service.
She has overcome censorship, arrests and poor Internet access to give the world a rare glimpse of daily life under Cuba’s communist regime and to open the door for other independent voices.
Sánchez first gained an international following for her blog, Generation Y, which began in 2007 and is now translated into 17 languages. She hurdled the obstacle of poor connectivity on the island, where access is both expensive and limited, by emailing her blogs to friends outside of Cuba who posted them on the Internet. She has been arrested and detained by the Cuban government for her writings.
In May 2014, Sánchez launched 14ymedio, Cuba's first independent daily digital news outlet, and she began training a new generation of journalists. The news service covers political and economic developments as well as social and cultural activities.
In 2008, Time Magazine listed her as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People, stating that “under the nose of a regime that has never tolerated dissent, Sánchez has practiced what paper-bound journalists in her country cannot: freedom of speech.”
President Barack Obama wrote in 2009 that her Generation Y blog “provides the world a unique window into the realities of daily life in Cuba” and applauded her efforts to “empower fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology.”
A University of Havana graduate in philology, she is the author of “Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth About Cuba Today.” She also was a 2014 Yahoo! Fellow at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.