International News

Yoani Sánchez, Cuba's Best-Known Blogger, Arrested at Activist's Trial

Yoanni Sánchez is a true oddity in Cuba -- a young political activist famous worldwide for penning a blog critical of the Castro regime. Sanchez's courage has earned praise from President Obama and a place on Time magazine's "100 Most Influential" list, all while dodging government censors by emailing her Generacion Y posts to friends outside Cuba, who upload them to the web. 

This morning, the blog has gone dark as Sánchez reportedly has been arrested while attending the politically charged trial of another young activist.

The 37-year-old writer was arrested in the city of Bayamo while attending the manslaughter trial of Spanish activist Angel Carramaro, according to, a local news source connected to the government.

Carramaro has been charged in the death of Oswaldo Paya, a high-profile dissident who died in a suspicious one-car accident on July 22. Critics of the Castros have suggested they engineered Paya's death, but the government has charged the 27-year-old Carramaro, claiming he was driving recklessly.

Sánchez, presumably, traveled to Bayamo to support Carramaro. Her last post on Generacion Y came on Monday. writes that she was arrested because she had come "with the intention of creating a provocation and a media show."

It's not the first time the blogger has run afoul of Castro's police. Sanchez was arrested and reportedly beaten in 2009 during a street demonstration in Havana.

It will be interesting to see how President Obama deals with Sánchez's arrest amidst his reelection fight; he's taken a more conciliatory approach to the Castro regime than President Bush, but has also personally praised Sánchez's work. 

In 2009, he supported her efforts to "empower fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology." 

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink