Paz y amor. Peace and love. That was the message that some 200 young people chanted in Havana while holding placards calling for “no more violence” as passing cars honked their horns.
Not among them: Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez, who was on her way to the Friday demonstration when she and another blogger, Orlando Luis Pardo, were hauled into a car by three men, likely state security agents. The pair was dragged into the car, beaten black and blue in the head and chest before being dumped miles away from the demonstration as if they were trash. (You can watch a short video of the protest at desdecuba.com/generationy)
In a Sunday blog post, Ms Sánchez, who is walking with a crutch because of back pain post beating, summed up the “blame the victim” attitude that premeates after 50 years of dictatorship: “The dozens of eyes that watched as Orlando and I were forced into a car with blows would prefer not to testify, and so they put themselves on the side of the criminal.’
`The culprit’s accomplice’
“The doctor who does not make a record of an act of physical mistreatment, having already been warned that in this `case’ there must be no document to prove the injuries received, is violating his Hippocratic oath and, with that wink, becomes the culprit’s accomplice.”
With one million hits a month worldwide, Ms Sánchez’s “just the facts, ma’am” approach to exposing Cuba’s reality on her Generation Y blog surely has the communist regime’s attention. She has won prestigious journalism awards for her blog — in Spain and from Columbia University. Her heroic work is known internationally, yet few Cubans know about the growing blogger movement on their island because the government does not allow access to the Internet.
At 32, Ms. Sánchez is among a new generation of truth tellers, born into a revolution that has quashed every basic human right even as the Orwellian Human Rights Council of the United Nations ignores Fidel and Raúl Castro’s abuses of power. As Human Rights Watch noted after Ms Sánchez was beaten, the international community should condemn Cuba’s attacks on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression — the “only country in the region that continues to repress virtually all forms of political dissent.”
What do the Castro brothers have to fear from a rail-thin young mother who writes about her life there and has become a voice for those living in fear?