03/20/13 - Sentinel (blog) - Cuban dissident blogger finds allies in Congress Sun
After years of trying to leave Cuba to visit other lands, Cuban
dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez is making rounds on Capitol Hill and
impressing Florida members of Congress of all stripes.
On Wednesday, it was Sen. Marco Rubio's turn to praise Sanchez and pick
up on her attempt to expand Internet access in Cuba to build pressure for
"Through her Generación Y blog, Yoani has given the rest of the world
valuable insights into daily life in Cuba and, more importantly, given us a
glimpse of what brave, Cuban democracy advocates like her can do with a
little bit of Internet access," Rubio, R-Fla., said afterward.
On Tuesday, Sanchez met with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and House
members with a wide spectrum of views. They included Kathy Castor,
D-Tampa, who wants to ease the embargo of Cuba, as well as strong
embargo proponents Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston; and Miami
Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Her trip to Capitol Hill was remarkable in itself -- a rare chance for a
world-acclaimed Cuban goad to consult with American leaders, including some
of the fiercest Castro-bashers in Congress. Sanchez took advantage of a
change in Cuba's visa policy that makes it possible for Cubans, even famous
dissidents, to visit other nations.
Knowing her audience, she touched lightly on the embargo, setting aside
her past depictions of the hardship it creates for the Cuban people.
"The fact is that I have grown up under a system that ever since I was a
little girl has tried to explain away, to justify, all the problems in
society by saying it's the fault of an external power," she said. "The
embargo is always used as an excuse to put the blame elsewhere."
Sanchez called for more "people-to-people contacts," echoing a policy
promoted by the Obama administration, which eased travel rules to allow
more Americans to visit Cuba on educational or religious missions. She also
urged American visitors to stay in Cuban homes rather than spend money in
Sanchez said Americans can best help by empowering Cubans with access to
communications technology. "We Cubans know what to do, but we need access
to information, access to technology, so we can share our ideas and can do
Visible links 1. Cuba
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/topic/intl/cuba-PLGEO00000190.topic 2. U.S.
3. Marco Rubio
4. Bill Nelson
5. Kathy Castor
7. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
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