Cuban journalist exiled in the US Carla Colomé, who works for the digital El Estornudo and People en Español magazine, is the first winner of the International Young Journalism Prize Vargas Llosa-Atlas Network Chair, for a report on the protests of the July 11 in Cuba.
In a statement, Colomé, 31, said that it was “a surprise” for her to be the winner of this first edition of the award and that it is dedicated to minors still detained for participating in the protests in Cuba, which, according to her sources, it can be about 14.
In her opinion, the fact that she won the award with a report made from outside Cuba is a “reflection” of what independent journalists are experiencing on the island: “they are detained, exiled, they can barely leave home and are cut off the Internet”.
The organizers of the prize, endowed with 10,000 dollars in cash, announced the winner during a dinner held on Tuesday in Miami at the end of the Liberty Forum, which was attended by the Peruvian writer and Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa and the head of the center for Latin America of the organization for the defense of democracy and prosperity Altas Network, Roberto Salinas.
The jury chaired by the Cuban writer and journalist Carlos Alberto Montaner decided to award the award to Colomé for an exclusive report for the digital medium El tornado entitled “July 11 in San Antonio de Los Baños: What is seen / what is not seen “ and published on July 22, 2021.
The journalist, who was born precisely on July 11, set out to find out in her report where and how the spark of the protests that shook Cuba with a message of change jumped.
Thus he discovered that a Facebook group called La Villa del Humor had been the initiator of the demonstrations.
“The Internet – expensive, restricted as we know – has completely changed the reality of Cuba,” Colomé told People en Español.
“What happened is a sample of it. If there had been no internet in Cuba, it would not have happened (the mass demonstrations). That was the way people had to organize, congregate, meet,” he added in his interview with People. in Spanish.
“Fear has not extinguished the hope that a democratic Cuba will soon be born,” he added.
In her statements, the journalist said that in 2015 she left Cuba to study for a master’s degree at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and she no longer lived permanently in her country. He currently resides in New York.
Colomé said that whatever happened in Cuba as a result of the protests, on which he does not want to venture, there are things that have changed forever: “Civil society is no longer the same, it is much more organized and articulated” and never before The Cuban people had been so united, not only those inside but also among themselves and those who live outside.
In Colomé’s opinion, his generation, “and more so in the case of independent journalists,” does not disconnect “or” divorce “ from the island despite living abroad.
“We have a special connection, we feel we have a duty,” he says.
A journalism graduate from the University of Havana, Colomé has also collaborated with media such as El País, Univision, Vice, and Letras Libres, among others.