In Washington, Yoani Sánchez speaks with senators, Obama aide
WASHINGTON — Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez ended her two-day visit to Washington, D.C., Wednesday by holding private meetings analyzing U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the embargo, and offering her personal testimony on the situation of civil society in Cuba..
“It has precisely been this type of conversation that I dream of having someday in Cuba,” Sánchez said.
Sánchez, 37, met at the White House with presidential advisor for the Western Hemisphere Ricardo Zúñiga. And earlier she had held a meeting with Cuban-American U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
Sánchez wanted to clearly describe the difficulties the internal opposition faces, including the consistent harassment from the Cuban government.
Her agenda included a visit to the State Department in the afternoon to pick up her 2011 International Women of Courage Award, an honor she won in absentia two years ago. The award recognizes her commitment to integrity and the defense of human rights.
She later visited Georgetown University to speak at a forum with students and academics.
Sánchez said the meeting with the U.S. senators was positive and also highlighted the spirit of opening, despite the fact that she has expressed her opposition to the embargo the United States has maintained since 1962.
“We talked about relevant issues, of course, the support, the help and solidarity we can have from abroad,” said Sánchez, founder of the blog Generación Y. She added that there was also a touch of typical Cuban humor.” She said jokingly that she had invited the senators to have coffee “on the 14th floor of my Yugoslav-style building, where I hope someday they can go visit.”
As a pioneer in the use of dissenting blogs in Cuba, Sánchez said that technology is important to encourage a democratic process and an opening.
“Technology was also a part of this conversation,” Sánchez said. “The Cuban lock has to be opened from within and from outside.”
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