Cuba: Yoani Sanchez Gets Passport, Plans Multi-Nation Tour

By Circles Robinson

Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez. Photo: Kelly Knaub/HT

HAVANA TIMES — Nearly two dozen times the Cuban government refused to let the famous blogger Yoani Sanchez travel abroad, but all that changed as of Wednesday when she was given a new passport and like most Cubans no longer needs an exit visit.

The immigration reform took effect on January 14.

One of the most heralded test cases to measure its scope is the attempt by Sanchez to be able to take her cause against the Castro government to wherever she’s invited.

Sanchez is known for her acrid portrayal of life in Cuba. Without the chance to reply, she has been sharply attacked by the government and its media, accusing her of being an agent of Washington in its half century attempt to topple the revolution and its leaders.

The blogger has won hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes from Europe and the USA for her blog Generation Y. She has been a controversial figure among the traditional opposition in Miami and Havana, who saw her surpass them as a voice for dissent on the island.

Now, Sanchez need only select the date of her journey abroad and board her plane. She already has invitations and visas from several countries, noted DPA news.

“Incredible” They called my home to tell me that my passport was ready. They’ve just handed it to me,” wrote Sanchez on her blog.



24 thoughts on “Cuba: Yoani Sanchez Gets Passport, Plans Multi-Nation Tour

  • This kind of practice has bloomed out of a truly ‘despicable regime’ that YOUR COUNTRY has imposed in MY COUNTRY for over 20 years. No, this is NOT an ‘isolated crime’. Countless activists and journalists have been killed in the past decade. To treat human rights abuses in the ‘free world’ as ‘isolated crimes’ is one of the most efficient social control techniques ever created and part of the permanent global siege state.

    The difference between me and you is that I don’t throw stones at others when I have a glass roof.

  • Agreed, but is not a clear cut. You see, Castro can’t imprison someone without a valid reason (valid according Cuban law that has harsh provisions to people collaborating with foreign powers to force government change) but he can pardon whoever he chooses. The thing is, is not in his interest to use presidential powers for Moya, so Moya has to fall back to the legal system where is technically in conditional freedom and not eligible for a passport.

  • In as much as the underlying crime is opposition to the regime, surely you can see the irony in denying him a passport. Had his conviction been a property or personal crime, this would make sense. Moya was among the 75 dissidents incarcerated for political crimes. The ‘conditional’ nature of his parole should be waived to permit his ability to travel. Castro can do whatever he chooses.

  • After 54 years of the ‘same ol’ sh#t’ the free world has little patience for the Castros and their despicable regime. As as result, you are probably right, If this man were Cuban, the media would have likely made a bigger deal about it. Since Brazil has rejoined civil society, these kinds of incidents are seen as isolated crime events in your country and not standard operating procedure as in Cuba.

  • Her husband is in conditional parole and is not eligible for passport. The Cuban government probably can make an exception if he wants to leave definitively but is not in their interest to break their own laws for him.

  • Yoanni’s situation somehow reminds me of the last stanza from a famous poem.
    With appologies to Emily Dickinson:
    “How dreary to be somebody!
    Hop public, like a frog
    To tell your name the livelong day
    To an admiring [blog]!”

  • Amazing, amazing, the hoopla that Yoani Sanchez articles have elated on this and other sites. More important than to speculate, is time. Before her, there have been many other individuals who have been lionized for the same reasons, dropped and forgotten after the expiration of their usefulness.
    Others like her in that line of business, have acrued substantial wealth, without ever having to present copies of cancelled checks or a Social Security number. Miami is a study case. Hundreds of individuals who have never held a job in half a century are not homeless, rather, they live in plantation, Brickell or on any key in Biscayne bay, drive cars we never will, cruise the caribbean in private yatchs or private jets like sebator Melendez and a few, are now in the slammer for defrauding the federal government.
    No comparisons are implied, but life is so funny!
    I have read a few of her articles and I am not particularly impressed, but that does just me. I do feel, that all the accolades, awards, prizes, nominations and praises that have been showered upon her, their ought to be a number of openings waiting for her arrival -like baseball players- at the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, FOX, BBC London or El Pais among others.
    This is what in medicine is known as diagnostic or pathognomonic. If none of the above rush to offer her a desk in their newsroom, we thenhave an unequivocal answer. No further arguments is necessary!

  • Who knows? We are talking about Cuba, not your average third world banana republic ruled by a military dictatorship where torture, killings an disappearances are your day to day staple.

    Like it or not, Cuba plays the role of legitimate government and claim that they don’t torture or kill dissidents and generally play by the rule of law (although we can disagree to a few of them)

    Besides, she is very careful to avoid direct confrontation with Cuban authorities and her target audience is the outside world, not her fellow citizens. In other world, whether her opinion has a factual basis or not is irrelevant, she is “first hand testimony of Cuban oppression” and that’s what most of her target audience wants to hear.

    For the Cuban government perspective, she is just a minor annoyance without any voice in the internal affairs of Cuba and without any influence whatsoever.

    And cut the Paya bs, he was killed on a traffic accident caused by a reckless driver whose driver permit was revoked in his home country. If he has anything to say he would had said it already, don’t you think?

  • You make a good point, her awards are for her courageous journalism, yet the regime and their apologists try to spin the awards as proof she’s in the pay of the CIA.

    Her wiki page lists these awards (only a few of these awards include money):

    In 2008, Sánchez was honored with awards that included Time magazine’s “One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World”,[71] one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “10 Most Influential Latin American Intellectuals” of the year,[72] and the El País 2008 “Ortega y Gasset Prize for Digital Journalism”.[73] She was, as well, one of El País’ 2008 100 most notable Hispanoamericans,[74] and one of Gatopardo’s 10 most influential people of 2008.[75]

    Time magazine named Sánchez’s blog, “Generation Y”, one of the “25 Best Blogs of 2009”.[76] The World Economic Forum, yearly, selects a group of young global leaders of whom Sánchez was one, in 2009.[77][78] In the summer of 2009, Sánchez was honored as one of the winners of the Columbia University School of Journalism’s “Marie Moors Cabot Prize”. The prize is the oldest in international journalism. Sánchez was denied an exit permit by the Cuban government to travel to the New York City award dinner.[79]In 2010, Sánchez was named a “World Press Freedom Hero” by the International Press Institute, and also received a Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands’ Prince Claus Fund, with an honorarium of € 25,000.

    2008 – Ortega y Gasset Prize for Journalism

    2008 – “100 Most Influential People in the World” – Time magazine[71]

    2008 – “100 most notable Hispanoamericans” – El País newspaper[74]

    2008 – “10 most influential people of 2008” – Gatopardo Magazine[75]

    2008 – “10 Most Influential Latin American Intellectuals” of the year – Foreign Policy magazine[72]

    2009 – “25 Best Blogs of 2009” – Time magazine[76]

    2009 – “Young Global Leader Honoree” – World Economic Forum[77][77]

    2009 – Maria Moors Cabot prize – Columbia University Prize[79]

    2010 – World Press Freedom Hero – International Press Institute[80]

    2010 – Prince Claus Award – Prince Claus Fund

    2012 – “10 Most Influential Ibero American Intellectuals” of the year – Foreign Policy magazine [1]

    On the subject of receiving money from “foreign imperialists”, the Cuban government received billion of roubles from the Soviet Union over the course of three decades.

  • AC, would you agree that to be Yoani Sanchez in Cuba today, whether or not you agree with her views, takes a large set of cojones? It is not overstating the point to say the if you publicly disagree with the Castros, you risk, at the very least, your reputation in your community. More likely, you risk your physical safety and personal liberty. At most, your imperil your life. Oswaldo Paya to make my point. Even if Sra. Sanchez has been financially recognized by foreign opposition for her efforts and handsomely so, doesn’t she deserve it? How many millions of Cubans would join her in questioning the legitimacy of the regime but for a mortal fear of losing jobs, freedom or even their very lives. She is a hero and, like Cuba’s neurosurgeons, worth every cent she has earned and more!

  • Circles, read the Guardian article more carefully. The $500,000 is an accusation made by the Castro regime in Cuba Reasons, a program designed to discredit her. It has not been independently verified. I suspect it is a gross exaggeration.

    BTW, the Ortega Y Gasset Journalism Prize (which Yoani has also won) has an award of 15,000 Euro. Combined with the Maria Moors Cabot Prize ($5,000) this is still a long way from the $500,000 claim.

    Yoani has also written that most of the prize money she has won has been invested in strengthening the independent Cuban blogosphere.

  • Circles, in an otherwise fair and factual story, I agree you should be prepared to substantiate your “hundreds of thousands in prizes from Europe and the USA” allegation or withdraw it. For example, the most prestigous prize (Maria Moors award from the Columbia School of Journalism) contains a whopping $5,000 US cash prize.

    Besides, as a journalist/blogger Yoani (like you or any other journalist/blogger) has a right to be paid for her work and to receive prizes because of its exceptional quality.

  • Berta Soler, the leader of the Ladies in White, is Angel Moya’s wife. Reportedly, she has been promised her passport and therefore, presumably will be allowed to travel outside of Cuba.The Castros have cooked up yet another international public relations disaster. As Sra. Soler speaks publicly abroad about repression in Cuba, she can now add to her remarks that her husband has been prevented from travelling with his wife owed to his public opposition to the Castros.

  • Cool. Now she won’t be IAPA’s little plaything anymore.

  • I had to laugh when in Cuba I saw a TV “news” broadcast in which Yoani Sanchez was called a “cyber-terrorist” by the announcer. Only in Cuba would such mildly critical essays as she writes on her blog be considered “terrorism”.

    Not every dissident is being granted a passport:

    “Cuba Dissidents Approved, Denied for Passports”

    Angel Moya, who was locked up for years in connection with his political activities, indicates that Cuba intends to exercise a legal clause by which it retains the right to restrict some citizens’ right to travel.

    Moya, one of 75 other anti-government activists imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown on dissent, said he went to file paperwork and the $50 application fee to request a passport, but a clerk turned him down.

    “She told me, after consulting a database, that I was restricted and it couldn’t be processed for reasons of public interest,” Moya told The Associated Press.

  • He means factually (and literally) hundreds of thousands of dollars in democracy
    related prices or put in perspective, several times the lifetime earnings of a neurosurgeon in Cuba (as lots of people love that particular comparison). What else he might imply? That opposition in Cuba is a sound business? We already know that, because Cuba’s economy is in tatters and most people with a decent job earns more in one hour than said neurosurgeon in one month. So financing the opposition is really cheap since they’ll work for peanuts.

    Why someone would pay that much money for her opinionated piece of libel that passes as opposition blog is beyond ludicrous, specially when is oriented toward the exterior (most Cubans have never even heard the name of the lady, not to mention read her blog).

  • Woo hoo! Great news for her! She will be an outstanding spokesperson for democracy for Cuba. The next test will be after she testifies before a US Senate Select Committee and gives personal accounts of detentions, beatings, intimidations and other human rights abuses if she will be allowed to return. I wish her all the best.

  • “The blogger has won hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes from Europe and the USA for her blog Generation Y.!!”

    Circles, what do you mean by that??? Youre so transparent! and I bet you will censor me as in the past!

  • I’m proud to have saved this early communication with Yaoni

    Yoani Sanchez


    Charles Boesen wrote:

    Dear Yaoni,
    I am American (soy americano). I’ve read on Yahoo about the block on your blog. I’m sorry. I was able to read your blog, and it is good! I wish you well, and find you to be a very brave soul.
    PS. I am learning your language, but it is easier for me to write now in English.

    Dear Charles:
    Excuse the delay in responding. My access to internet is extremely complicated.
    I have received your message of encouragement and I want to thank him for their words and to read my Blog “Generation Y.” Many excuses because my English is not good, I write this helped by an electronic translator.
    Maybe one day to consent to Internet and to write in a Blog will be something normal for the Cubans.
    Thank you and wait the next one post
    Greetings from Cuba
    Yoani Sánchez

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