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A thorn in the Castro brothers' side: Blogger Yoani Sanchez

March 21st, 2013
05:51 PM ET

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.”

Filed under:  Cuba • Latest Episode
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Ira

    If this woman doesn't get a Pulitzer, it would be a crime.

    March 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
    • Bostonian

      Pulitzer? How about a bullet in the head? What a traitorous capitalist bi*ch! No doubt she is getting money from evil imperialist governments in the US and Europe to betray her people and the revolution. Such people deserve NO MERCY. They should be tortured and put to death. They, their families and their friends. Raul Castro apparently does not have the resolve of his great brother or the venerable Che. Long Live La Revolucion! Viva Che!

      March 22, 2013 at 6:35 am | Reply

        Bostonian, can you please go to Cuba and live like a regular Cuban so you really become a communist comrade? What a waste of human being

        March 22, 2013 at 8:10 am |
      • Latuya83

        Bostonian what a disgusting human being you must be. Why does she deserve all this things? For speaking her mind? Funny you can say all you want here in a free country but you don't want those same freedoms for Cubans? The only one that deserves a bullet in the head is you, and much more, you sadistic Piece of ****, I guess you get off enjoying the suffering of others.

        March 22, 2013 at 10:48 am |
      • B & C

        Bostonian, what a sorry piece of flesh you are. The Castros, the Ches and their groupies eventually will end up in the lowest rings of hell, right where their best friend Chavez is waiting with a nice pot of boiling blood.

        March 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • Lizard

        Ah, a right-wing loony pretending to be a left-wing loony. Do you think anyone is fooled? Hint: If you want to pretend to have political values you don't, actually read what the people you're imitating say, instead of reading what your allies say they say.

        March 23, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • johan Turin

        Bostonian, you excuse my words but you are really an idiot. You know, one day somebody told Picasso, 'You can be a communist but living in Paris" The same applies to you, I wonder if you are such a lover of Castros' regime why dont you go and kiss their asses in Cuba, living like a humble cuban.

        March 25, 2013 at 8:44 am |
      • Sbrentbill

        Wow she must really tell the truth or why else would you want her dead. Cuba is a backward communist state that is broke and has no economy except for U.S. dollars. Why do you not realize how wrong Cuba is? You cannot take from those that do all the work and not expect them to leave. Sure education and healthcare are free but what good are they if you get a PHD and can only make 600 dollars a month. Sooner or later the Revolution will fail and with Cuba sooner. Now that the Soviet Union is gone and they are not financing your communist country it is almost over for Che and his ilk!

        March 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • Sol T. Grundy

        We know of Cuban people who just disappeared under Castro. Sons of our friends escaped in order not to be sent to Africa to fight as Russian surrogates. Try going without bread for a week or more and never finding fresh milk to keep your children healthy. Red Meat is available in the country, but will be confiscated by the police if you try and take it into your home city. Then the police take it home to feed their own family or sell it on the black market. everyone is corrupt becuase they do not have any good food or decent clothing or supplies like soap. If you have read Yoani's book or her blog for long you would know that in Boston you are blessed to have much more than anyone in Cuba can even imagine. Go live as a working class cuban for a while =– you will leave and move back to Boston. You have no idea hte blessing available in America.

        March 25, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
      • Lola

        Bostonian, go crawl in your Communist hole and rot. Better yet, move back to Cuba and kiss Fidel's diseased ass. You must be one of those idiots that wear the Che t-shirts they sell at flea markets. Commie wannabe looooser.

        March 29, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • bill william

      If she cared much about Cuba, she would do what Castro did: be there working to change it.
      It is easy to whine from a gilded life in the US

      December 17, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Reply
      • bill william

        oops; she apparently is in Cuba, hopefully doing something more than blogging.

        Anyway, my first comment certainly applies to the whiners in Miami.

        and it is truly sad that the US spent 50 years driving Cuba as far away from capitalism as possible, while supporting other gross dictatorships, like Saudi Arabia, which kissed our ass or sold us oil. Maybe if the US had tried a bit to help Cuba, we would have gradually grown together.

        December 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
  2. humbertocapiro


    March 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  3. humbertocapiro

    AUDIO DECLARACIONES/DECLARATIONS: Yoani Sanchez narra su detención y cómo perdió un diente a manos de las policía Cubana – Yoani Sanchez recounts her arrest and how he lost a tooth at the hands of the Cuban police

    March 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  4. humbertocapiro

    YOUTUBE AUDIO: Yoani recorded her arrest by the political police dressed as civilian! Audio recording of illegal arrest February 24, 2010, in Havana, Cuba, the blogger Yoani Sanchez and her sister the day after the death Orlando Zapata Tamayo who died from a hunger strike. Grabación audio del arresto ilegal el 24 de febrero 2010, en La Habana, Cuba, de la bloguera Yoani Sánchez y su hermana el día siguiente de la muerte del huelguista de hambre Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

    March 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  5. wilma200

    Thanks to CNN for giving her another forum from which to speak. Yoani Sanchez is the voice of Cubans who yearn for their freedom. The Cuban community both on and off the island know her well. It is time for the rest of the world to learn of her bravery.

    March 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  6. Seymour Holz

    Today I Learned

    complaining about the government on Internet message boards is considered "art" when done by a Hispanic person.

    March 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  7. adeniji

    Bostonian a cave man ! no need to arque with a primitive mind.

    March 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  8. newjerseyan

    Bostonian, it is indeed your right to criticize her and have your own opinion. After all, much blood has been spilled so that you can express yourself in this manner and not fear repercussion. What she is fighting for is that same right which you do not seem to understand nor suport.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:25 am | Reply
  9. serge

    this is the same old lies from this young lady about Cuba...she is desperate for recognition thats it

    March 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  10. Gerardo

    Sanchez brings fresh air and hope

    April 8, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  11. Mee Laeger

    i reall love the smell of fresh air, it is really very refreshing to the lungs and the nose as well.':*..

    I'll see you in a bit

    June 21, 2013 at 12:16 am | Reply
  12. bobert

    Please normalize relations so we can send all the Wet Backs back to Cuba.

    South Florida has turned into a crap hole since they have been here.

    December 18, 2014 at 6:33 am | Reply
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