Rubio Condems Cuba's Censorship of Yoani's News Site #14ymedio

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rubio condemns Cuba on press freedom

Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday condemned the regime of Raúl Castro for shutting down a new website launched by Yoani Sanchez, the country's most prominent and outspoken blogger.

"Yoani Sanchez has long been one of Cuba's most courageous pro-democracy and human rights voices, giving the world insights on life inside Cuba through her blog," the Florida Republican said in a statement emailed to POLITICO. "She is now an aspiring Cuban media entrepreneur who the Castro regime shut down yesterday by hacking into her news website, 14ymedio, on the day of its launch."

"Imagine for a moment, if the U.S. government had shut down POLITICO the day it launched in 2007 — or any conservative, liberal or mainstream online news outlet for that matter," he said. "As Americans, we would be outraged."

Sanchez, 38, has become an international icon for her forthright criticisms of the Castro regime. In 2013, she visited Washington to brief members of congress on the need for greater press freedoms and human rights in Cuba.

Sanchez's new website, 14ymedio, launched Wednesday morning and was hacked shortly thereafter, redirecting readers to a website critical of the blogger. Sanchez immediately denounced the hack as a government attack.

"Press freedom is a universal human right, and we should be outraged that yet another blatant instance of repression has taken place in Cuba," Rubio said in his statement. "I recognize it's not the role of government officials to tell the press how to do their jobs, but I do believe it's the responsibility of Yoani's fellow journalists everywhere to stand in solidarity with her as the Castro government blocks her from doing her job and help her shine a light on the regime's repression, its failures and the Cuban people's aspirations for freedom."

"This is also a reminder about the dangers of potentially turning over governance of the Internet to any entity that gives any influence whatsoever to regimes and governments that view the Internet as a threat to their power," he said.