HAVANA — Cuba’s EcuRed digital encyclopedia, inspired by Wikipedia and operated by the island’s Communist Youth, has added an entry for award-winning dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez.
The unusual turn of events in the Communist country, where information is tightly controlled and dissent is barely tolerated, comes with a price: Sanchez, 36, is described as a “cybermercenary.”
Sanchez has been speaking her mind on the “Generation Y” blog since 2007 and has long traded barbs with a regime.
The blog, http://www.desdecuba.com/generationy/, has a huge following in Cuba and abroad and is translated by volunteers into 15 languages.
The Spanish daily El Pais awarded Sanchez the prestigious Ortega y Gasset award prize in 2008, and in that year Time magazine included her on a list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The Cuban online encyclopedia, which began operations in 2010, says that Sanchez’s blog “was promoted almost immediately” after it opened “in various newspapers around the world.”
Sanchez “has accepted other prizes and recognition from openly counter-revolutionary and far-right groups,” the EcuRed entry reads.
It links her to the Ladies in White — a protest group of female relatives of political prisoners — and the US Interest Section in Havana.
“More than once she has denounced mistreatment and harassment” from Cuban security officials, “but has never been able to prove it,” the entry reads.
State-run news on the island occasionally gives information on dissidents, but EcuRed goes as far as including entries on prominent regime opponents like Guillermo Farinas and the Ladies in White.
Sanchez has accused the Cuban government of “censuring” the Internet and of denying her permission to travel abroad 19 times over the past four years, most recently to Brazil this month.
Havana accuses dissident bloggers like Sanchez of being “mercenaries” at the service of Washington, and of waging a “cyber war” with US support against the Cuban government.