The blog from Havana– “Generation Y”— is Yoani Sanchez’s courageous effort to let the world know about the daily life and frustrations of ordinary Cubans.
She provides sketches of daily life in Cuba–“a dreary, enervating routine of food shortages, transportation troubles and narrowed opportunity.” Other major themes are the need for political and economic changes in Cuba and the Cuban regime’s efforts to stifle her criticisms of the government.
A collection of her blog posts from 2007 through 2010 has been published as Havana Real. Two of them prompt comments based upon my three church mission trips to Cuba since 2001.
Most Cubans struggle to survive. Those who have jobs generally make around $20 to $30 per month. They still have rationed basic food essentials at subsidized low prices, but as the blog emphasizes, many of these rationed essentials are very small quantities and are not really always available, and the government recently has talked about ending or reducing these pitifully limited rations. One day, Yoani’s mother called her to report that there was toilet paper available at a distant market, but that Yoani needed to hurry to get there because the “tp” would soon be gone. On my last trip to visit our partner Presbyterian church in the city of Matanzas, its pastor told us that he was not able to buy any “tp” for our visit and stay in the church’s dormitory. He, therefore, asked the members of the congregation to give the church any extra “tp.”
Not surprisingly Yoani has negative reactions to Cuban political speeches that talk about the Cuban Revolution’s being “eternal.” She says she avoids using words like “eternal,” “always” and “never.” The word “eternal”, she says, means something that “lasts into the future ad infinitum,” but also something that “has no beginning.” There is little, if anything, that meets those requirements. She concludes with these words of wisdom, “It’s a relief that all the things in this world’s days are numbered.”
In addition to her own blogging, she helps organize and present workshops in Cuba on creating blogs on “wordpress.com.”
Yoani has won many international awards for her blogging: one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World and Best Blog (Time Magazine), Ortega y Gasset Prize for digital journalism (Spain), one of the 100 Most Notable Hispanic Americans (El Pais Spanish newspaper), World Press Freedom Hero award (International Press Institute) and Young Global Leader (World Economic Forum).
“Generation Y” honors those people like Yoani whose have names containing the Greek Y letter, so unusual in Spanish, but relatively common in Cuba in the 1970’s and 1980’s when Cuba was under Russian or Soviet influence.
 Rohter, In Cuba, the Voice of a Blog Generation, N.Y. Times (July 5, 2011).
 Sanchez, Havana Real (Brooklyn: Melville House 2011).
 Id. at 361-63.
 Id. at 31-33.
 Id. at 2.