Saturday, November 14, 2009

Arriba Periodismo Ciudadano; Abajo Violencia Verbal: Video Interview with Yoani Sanchez (July 2008)

On a trip to Havana in July 2008, I had the good fortune of tracking down and interviewing the fearless, indefagable and now world-reknown Cuban blogger, Yoani Sánchez.

When I called her home to arrange the meeting and interview, her intrepid husband, the journalist and fellow blogger Reinaldo Escobar answered the phone and invited me to meet them over lunch later that day. My visit soon took on a typically surreal Cuban socialist quality, however, when Escobar explained that while they lived on the 14th floor, the building’s elevator only reached the 12th floor, from where I would have to proceed by foot.

In fact, when I arrived the elevator was not working at all, forcing me to ascend all 14 floors on foot, arriving drenched in sweat and out of breath. Upon seeing my state of exhaustion, Escobar commented ironically, “They must’ve told you the elevator was broken… And you must’ve believed them!”

Laughing, he quickly handed me an ice-cold blackmarket Bucanero beer and explained that he, in fact, was the buliding’s elevator repair man.
“Twenty years ago when they expelled me from the newspaper Juventud Rebelde, I decided to study engineering. In today’s Cuba there is just as much need for a good repair man as there is for a good journalist. Except that the first profession requires no ideological training. Really, I sould thank them for granting me my freedom.”
Soon thereafter I transcribed that interview (available in Spanish here and here) and then translated parts of it into English. However, due to my then negligible skills editing video for YouTube or at managing a blog, the video we shot of the interview has only been shown in public once and has so far remained off-line.

No more! I have just edited and uploaded the entire 50 minute video onto YouTube in 13 separate thematic parts. A list of links to the 13 clips is available here in chronological order.

You can also access individual clips here:

[1] The Origins of Generacion Y (4:19)
[2] The portal (2:19)
[3] The connection between Generacion Y and the Polemica Intelectual (6:37)
[4] Sanchez explains the terms "Violencia Verbal" and "Periodismo Ciudadano" (5:19)
[5] The evolution, insults, and applause generated by Generacion Y (4:07)
[6] Sanchez's favorite blogs from within Cuba (3:01)
[7] Sanchez's favoirte blogs about Cuba from abroad (1:37)
[8] Obstacles to blogging in Cuba and strategies for overcoming them (3:43)
[9] A description of Generacioin Y's "citizen network" abroad and of the use of minidisks (3:13)
[10] How the "citizen network" helps with the translation of Generacion Y (2:01)
[11] Sanchez on how she finances her blog and on remaining independent (4:31)
[12] Sanchez's thoughts on Raul Castro's leadership and on his speech from July 26, 2008 (2:55)
[13] Sanchez's thoughts on Obama's candidacy and possible changes in U.S-Cuban relations that could result from his election (5:07)


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