Cuban blogger makes her way to Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON, DC (WSVN) -- A well known critic of Cuba made the rounds on Capitol Hill. Blogger Yoani Sanchez met with congressional leaders, Tuesday.
She spent the day meeting with South Florida's congressional delegation for an in-depth discussion of conditions in Cuba.
She's one of Cuba's most well-known dissidents, barred for leaving the island for the last decade. "So I come to tell you today that I am in this house of Florida because we need from you to rebuild our country," said Sanchez.
The Cuban blogger who has gained an international following for her work for freedom and human rights in Cuba is in Washington, D.C.
Yoani Sanchez has met some of South Florida's Cuban-American delegation in Congress while on her world tour.
It is Sanchez' first trip to the U.S. and several other countries after the Cuban government made an about-face and granted her a passport after travel reforms were implemented in January. Before the change, she had been repeatedly denied an exit visa.
In her travels from Rio to Prague to New York, Sanchez encountered a few surprises. "What has surprised me the most are the Cubans," said Sanchez. "I have encountered Cubans everywhere I've been."
She said most people have been welcoming, but she has also been jeered. At speeches in New York, supporters of the Cuban government interrupted her and had to be removed from the forum.
She said she believes the speeches she will give during her travels will get her into trouble once she returns home, but it's worth the risk. "I think that this trip will give me some protection," said Sanchez. "Maybe I'll save myself from a few hits the first few months, but I'm sure the defamation, the firing squad, surveillance, control over my phone line, the oppression on my family will increase, but it was worth it."
The 37-year-old's blog and social media has opened a window into the human rights issues on the communist island as well as the daily challenges, like the blackout of 2012 that left five million people in the dark.
She hopes her pacifist message strikes a chord in Cuba and abroad and helps bring the reality of a saying she said is a common refrain there. "Cuba's official propaganda is based on a recurring concept that Cuba is paradise and the world is hell," said Sanchez. "I'm on this trip also to destroy that archetype that is hurting people in Cuba."
While in D.C., Yoani Sanchez will accept an International Women of Courage Award from 2011. She was not allowed to travel to accept it at the time.
Her tour will last almost three months. She will speak at Miami's Freedom Tower on Apr. 1.
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