Cuban blogger denied visa to collect journalism award

A Cuban blogger due to collect a prestigious journalism prize in Spain yesterday was refused a visa to travel.

Yoani Sanchez, 32, was awarded the Ortega y Gasset prize, the Spanish equivalent of the Pulitzer, in digital journalism for her Generation Y blog criticising the Havana government.

In order to post the blog, Sanchez posed as a German tourist to access hotel internet connections intended for foreigners. The $6 per hour cost of being online was equivalent to two weeks wages for the average Cuban.

Sanchez told AFP that her request for a visa was the prefect test of President Raul Castro’s promise to open up the country.

Spanish daily El Pais told the Independent today that it hadn’t expected Sanchez would be allowed to attend the awards ceremony.

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