Yoani Sanchez, a University of Havana graduate in philology, emigrated to Switzerland in 2002, to build a new life for herself and her family. Two years later, she decided to return Cuba, promising herself to live there as a free person. Her blog Generation Y is an expression of this promise. Yoani calls her blog ‘an exercise in cowardice’ that allows her to say what is forbidden in the public square. It reaches readers around the world in over twenty languages. Yoani's new book in English, Havana Real, is available here in paperback and Kindle editions.
In November 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, wrote that her 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." Time magazine listed her as one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2008, 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."
She has received much international recognition for her work, including: the Ortega y Gasset Prize, Spain’s highest award for digital journalism; the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University; the World Press Freedom Hero Award from the International Press Institute; and the Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands. Foreign Policy magazine named her one of the 10 Most Influential Latin American Intellectuals in 2008, and one of The World's Top Dissidents in 2010.
Yoani lives with her husband, independent journalist Reinaldo Escobar, and their teenage son Teo, in a high rise apartment in Havana, overlooking Revolution Square. There they host the “Blogger Academy” to help grow the Cuban blogosphere; some of the results of this work are available in English at Translating Cuba. She blogs about daily life in the Castros' Cuba at Generation Y.