Yoani Sanchez: technology as a tool for change

Above: Andy Garcia, Yoani Sanchez and Manny Diaz. Photo credit: Roots of Hope

“This is not a Cuban issue, this is a human issue,” said Yoani Sanchez, referring to her passion for freedom of expression. The Cuban dissident blogger, named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2008, took the stage in a TweetUp event on April 3 at Miami’s Arsht Center. She answered questions from virtual participants and attendees, as well as her half a million Twitter followers who tuned in via a Univision live stream.

The TweetUp, part of an 80 day international tour, was symbolic for Sanchez who has used the Internet and social media to become one of Cuba’s most prominent democracy activists. Sanchez reinforced her commitment to informing communities at the TweetUp, calling for wide-scale social change.

Sanchez said that, rather than politics, it is her commitment to freedom of information that motivated her to launch discussions about digital access and innovation across the globe. She emphasised that technology—especially in the hands of young people—is a tool for change because it bridges information divides and transcends borders.

“Youth is similar everywhere, they all have hopes and dreams for their future,” she said. “There is no difference between those who protest in the streets and those who protest behind the computer.”

The TweetUp was presented by Roots of Hope in partnership with Knight Foundation and Univision. To participate in the conversation about digital access in Cuba, follow the hashtag #askyoani or #yoaniresponde on Twitter.

The video of the TweetUp, which was conducted in Spanish, is available below. English subtitles are available via Amara, a Knight supported crowdsourced video captioning platform.

By Jenna Buehler, executive assistant/communications at Knight Foundation

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