Cuba’s best-known dissident, blogger Yoani Sánchez, said she plans to make good use of “my victory” on an 80-day-tour of more than a dozen countries.
Ms. Sánchez, under Cuba’s sweeping migration reform that went into effect this year, was granted a passport two weeks ago, after being denied permission to travel more than 20 times over the past five years.
Ms. Sánchez, considered Cuba’s pioneer in social networking said Thursday that she would visit the headquarters of Google, Twitter and Facebook, and travel to Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, the United States, Spain, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries.
“This is a victory after fighting five years for my right to travel, using patience, energy, legal and journalistic tools, and most of all the solidarity of many people,” she said, as she left her home to pick up a visa at a local embassy.
“I feel like a runner who has run the 110-meter hurdle. Tired, exhausted but happy to have met the challenge,” she added.
Ms. Sånchez, a 37-year-old Havana resident, has incurred the wrath of Cuba’s government for constantly criticizing its Communist system in her “Generation Y” blog, and using Twitter to denounce repression.
Ms. Såanchez, one of the world’s best known bloggers, has tens of thousands of followers abroad, but few in Cuba where the government severely restricts the Internet.
Her blog is named after the penchant of Cuban parents during the Cold War era of Soviet backing for the island to choose names for their children starting with “Y” because of the many popular Russian names starting with that letter.
Cuba’s leaders consider dissidents traitorous mercenaries in the employ of the United States and other enemies. Official bloggers regularly charge that Sánchez’s international renown has been stage-managed by western intelligence services.