Yolanda Huerga and Ivette Pacheco, 2021 winner
Their day-to-day steadfast commitment, reaching out to independent sources in Cuba, provided the audience with first-person accounts on relevant topics such as the impact of the pandemic, human rights violations, issues related to social justice, freedom of the press, and critical views into information that matters to the audience.
On an everyday basis, the voice from Cuba was heard on the island through the efforts of both nominees. In the period of pandemic lockdown, economic hardships and calls for change and democracy, the work of the two nominees stands out. Day in and day out reaching out to the witnesses, finding information, collecting and verifying reports.
Their work was vital for the coverage of important events such as the hunger strike of a group of members of the San Isidro youth artist and intellectual movement and the demonstration of hundreds of artists and intellectuals before the Ministry of Culture in the fall of 2020. The nominees were in daily contact with the artists and activists on hunger strikes and provided testimonials when the authorities arrested some of the activists.
The work of Huerga and Pacheco was also essential for OCB’s coverage of the pandemic in Cuba. Their reporting focused on the most important topics: the situation of food and medicine shortages faced by the Cuban population, the precarious conditions of hospitals and locations where citizens were sent by authorities to quarantine. Their interviews included doctors and scientists in Cuba who revealed that the government was not providing adequate information on the effect of the pandemic in Cuba, questioning official reports.
Even more crucial to OCB’s mission was the work Yolanda Huerga and Ivette Pacheco did on the protests that began on July 11, 2021, during the demonstrations that took place in dozens of Cuban cities, the most important anti-government rallies in decades.
They continually kept in touch, talking on a daily basis with citizens and witnesses to the historic demonstrations, the repression, arrests and aftermath of the protests. They also interviewed the mothers of young citizens and adolescents throughout the island whose testimonies evidenced the cruelty of the Cuban regime.