Thursday, March 21, 2013

Yoani Sanchez: A thorn in the Castro brothers' Side

Yoani Sanchez has become one of the world's most popular dissident bloggers, taking on the Cuban leadership armed with a laptop and a cell phone.

Sanchez is a constant thorn in the Castro brothers' side – blogging her criticisms of the Cuban government to the entire world. Though on the communist island, very few people actually have access to her work. 
“I'm shaking. Every day I'm very much afraid because of the things I do,” she told CNN’s Hala Gorani on Thursday during her first-ever trip to the United States. “But I think that we have arrived at a technological point, which has made it possible for me to transmit my voice and my message in ways which other Cuban artists aren’t able to do.”

She has gained her fame via the internet, but in Cuba she says that she lacks an internet connection – relying on the solidarity of others to get her message out.
“Even though it seems that I am very active on the Internet, I go online once a week or once every 10 days for a few minutes,” she said. “I write offline a lot. I put my text on flash drives and I go to a hotel to send them.”

Since gaining fame, Sanchez has not been allowed to travel outside Cuba. Her requests to leave the island nation were denied 20 times, until just recently.
Sanchez finally received her passport thanks to Raul Castro, whose immigration reform measures went into effect this year.

“I think that first of all the political cost of not letting me leave was too high,” Sanchez told Gorani.
Now she is hop scotching the globe – visiting Brazil, Prague, Mexico and is currently in the United States.
After her world tour, Sanchez intends to return to Cuba, but many have questioned if she’ll be allowed back in. Or why she would even want to go back.

“Because the people I love are in Cuba: my son, my husband and many friends,” she said. “And because I have projects in Cuba. When I’m asked that question I like to say - I like to remember Kundera, the Czech author, who wrote about that and said, ‘My life is elsewhere.’ But my life is not elsewhere. My life is in Cuba.”


 March 21st, 2013