Cuba: Blogger Yoani Sanchez Arrested, Released After 30 Hours in Custody

Yoani Sánchez, Reinaldo Escobar, and Agustín Díaz were released several hours after this post was published. A brief post describing their release can be found here.

Award-winning Cuban blogger and human rights activist Yoani Sánchez was arrested last night in the eastern province of Bayamo, where she had traveled to attend and report on the trial of Angel Carromero, a Spanish national accused of vehicular manslaughter after a car crash that killed renowned democracy advocate Oswaldo Payá and activist Harold Cepero. Carromero traveled to Cuba in July to meet with human rights activists on the island.

Yoani Sanchez. Photo by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.

Yoani Sanchez. Photo by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo.

Author of the blog Generacion Y and editorial director of the collective blog Voces Cubanas, Sánchez was arrested along with her husband, Reinaldo Escobar, an independent journalist, and blogger Agustín Díaz. Very few details are known about the arrests. The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international press freedom advocacy organization, has called for the immediate release of the three bloggers.

The original source of this information remains unclear, but several media outlets have indicated that Yohandry Fontana, a pro-government blogger, first reported the story [es]. Fontana described Sánchez as attending the trial in order to create a “media circus.”

Yoani Sánchez fue detenida ayer en la ciudad de Bayamo, lugar a donde viajó para intentar una provocación y show mediático que perjudicara el buen desarrollo del juicio que se seguirá mañana contra el ciudadano español Ángel Francisco Carromero Barrios

Yoani Sánchez was detained yesterday in Bayamo, where she had traveled intending to provoke a media circus and to interfere with the judicial process that will take place tomorrow against Spanish citizen Ángel Francisco Carromero Barrios.

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo [es], also a well-known blogger and a close friend of Sánchez’s, tweeted soon after that he suspects Sánchez’s cell phone has been confiscated.

‏@OLPL: Movil 52708611 de @YoaniSanchez fue cortado, por eso ella no pudo denunciar arresto.

@OLPL: The mobile phone of @YoaniSanchez was cut off, this is why she couldn’t report on her arrest.

Foreign media outlets reported receiving an automated message saying that Sánchez’s cell phone, which she uses regularly to communicate with supporters and journalists outside of Cuba, had been disconnected. Sánchez has been detained by police in the past, but never for more than a few hours. In a 2010 incident, Sánchez was detained but was able to communicate with friends and family via SMS.

On Twitter, supporters from around the world are tweeting about the arrest and using the hashtag #YoaniLibre.

Ernesto Hernández Busto, blogger at Penúltimos Días [es], tweeted:

No hay nadie con un poco de vergüenza en el @PPopular que condene detención de Yoani Sánchez por hacer su trabajo de periodista indep? #Cuba

Is there no one with any shame in the @PPopular (People’s Party) who will condemn the detention of Yoani Sánchez for working as an independent journalist? #Cuba

On Facebook, Jose Conde wrote,

Cuban authorities arrest Yoani Sanchez for speaking her mind. I guess not much as changed en la isle…sad and disturbing.

Yoani Sánchez, Reinaldo Escobar, and Agustín Díaz were released several hours after this post was published. A brief post describing their release can be found here.


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