Yesterday the U.S. State Department gave their “International Women of Courage” award to ten women including Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez and Mexican Deputy Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibañez. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Morales for her efforts to start a federal witness protection program in order to protect those trying to help in the combat against powerful Mexican drug gangs. “She has shown an unfailing drive to combat organized crime and corruption, and a valiant dedication to the protection of citizen security and human rights,” said Clinton.
The forty-year-old Morales has held her post since March 2010 though she has worked in the Attorney General’s office for several years. In 2008 she headed Operación Limpieza (“Operation Clean Sweep”), which led to the arrest of 35 public officials linked to the Beltrán Leyva drug gang.
After receiving her award Morales told the press that she recognized the risks run by both men and women in law enforcement and emphasized that she and her comrades have a “willingness to overcome those fears” that could’ve held them back.
Along with Belarusian Nasta Palazhanka, Sanchez could not make it to the ceremony yesterday since she was not permitted to travel by the Cuban government. Despite her absence, the outspoken blogger and activist told Europa Press that she was “very proud” to have received her award:
“More than anything I share this honor with nine other women who have pursued notion of development in other countries, and her risking their lives to defend their ideals,” she explained…In the following video via the Oslo Freedom Forum, Sanchez discusses why she became a blogger and the problems with Internet access in Cuba:
“Although its happen many times before I am not accustomed to staying in Cuba because I’m prevented from traveling. In the meantime I will take advantage of my time...because one day I hope to teach someone how to use the Internet or open a Twitter account”.
Online Sources- U.S. State Department, Milenio, El Universal, EFE, Europa Press, monstersandcritics.com
Video Source - Oslo Freedom Forum via YouTube