Growing Cuban Blogosphere Celebrates With First Blog Awards

I feel a mix of exhaustion and happiness because yesterday, finally, the award ceremony for the first Cuban blogger contest, A Virtual Island, took place. The last few days leading up to this magical 09.09.09, I barely had time to sleep, deep in the preparations and deliberations. The end result made up for the dark circles under my eyes, because all of us who gathered at the awards ceremony felt we were witnessing something special. Now the word "blogger" is no longer, for us, a rare combination of letters, rather on this Island its connotations are increasingly clear. It means to get the information, to break the monopoly of the official media over the news, to let out what we have been silent about for years, while we go through an accelerated course in citizenship in cyberspace.

I am particularly pleased that among the winners of the most important prizes have been brave and talented women. The Cuban blogosphere definitely comes in a skirt and I find this better than if it were garbed in a military uniform.

You can read the jury's decision here, and here are the prizes.

* Award for Best Blog: Claudia Cadelo, Octavo Cerco

* Prize awarded by Internet votes for most popular: Claudia Cadelo, Octavo Cerco

* Prize for the best blog design: Boring Home Utopics, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

* Prize for Best Journalistic Blog shared between Miriam Celaya, Sin Evasion, and the blog of the Association for Freedom of the Press, by a group of independent journalists.

* Prize for Best Photo Blog: Boring Home Utopics, Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

* Special Mention for a blog done in difficult circumstances: Voice Through the Bars, Pablo Pacheco

* Special mention for a blog's contribution to the debate: The Digital Controversy, Elaine Diaz

* Special mention for a blog's contribution to the debate: Bridging, by Enrique Pineda Barnet

I want to thank the many friends who made possible the difficult use of Tweets, that we managed to send from the awards ceremony.