Cuba’s Yoani Sanchez Visits US Senate

Yoani Sanchez meets with US legislators. Photo: from the office of Sen. Bill Nelson
Yoani Sanchez meets with US legislators. Photo: from the office of Sen. Bill Nelson

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez paid a visit to the US Senate on Monday at the invitation of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and other lawmakers.

Following the meeting Nelson made a request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to call for an independent investigation into the car crash deaths last July of Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Hector Cepero.

Sanchez has been an outspoken critic of the court ruling that said the driver, Angel Carromero of Spain, was speeding and lost control on a dirt section of road and hit a tree, killing the two Cuban passengers in Bayamo province.

Paya’s daughter and other dissidents believe another vehicle rammed the car in which the fatalities took place. No such evidence was presented at the trial.

Carromero was sentenced to four years in prison but after five months was allowed to travel to Madrid to serve the remainder of his jail time.

A couple months after arriving in Spain, and being placed in a semi-free regime, he changed his story on the accident.

Yoani Sanchez is on a three month international tour to present her views on the situation in Cuba, invited by a host of supporters in a dozen countries.

While on Capitol Hill, Sanchez reiterated her stance opposing the US embargo on Cuba.  She maintains that the embargo provides an easy target for the Cuban government to blame Washington for all its economic problems, noted Reuters in its report.

Sanchez’s position on the embargo distances the blogger from the most hard line Cuban-American exile stance, led by House Foreign Relations chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.


6 thoughts on “Cuba’s Yoani Sanchez Visits US Senate

  • Walter, you may choose to bury your head in the sand but you will find yourself on the wrong side of history. When change comes, and it will, you will regret not having done more to defend the human rights of Cubans. By the way, in further defense of the veracity of my comments, read below:

    Chairman Matt Salmon of the Congressional Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Ranking Member and Cuban-American Albio Sires, issued the following statement condemning the Cuban government’s continued human rights abuses against pro-democracy activists on the island:

    “In another example of the deteriorating human rights situation in Cuba, this week we learned that Castro’s secret police had brutally attacked women and children at the home of Denia Fernandez, leader of a pro-democracy group ‘Ladies in White.’ Reports from brave activists on the ground confirmed that the home in the eastern municipality of Palma Soriano had been surrounded by Cuban government thugs known as the Rapid Response Brigade, wielding stones to intimidate the women and children inside. There have been reports that some sustained severe head injuries at the hands of Castro’s agents.

    I am gravely concerned about the continued senseless acts of violence against champions of democracy perpetrated at the hands of the Cuban government. It is time for the international community to reengage and demand that peaceful groups like the Ladies in White are protected from government harassment and brutality” said Chairman Salmon.

    “I call on the Department of State to use every tool in its toolbox to step up pressure on the Cuban regime to end its human rights abuses, and its stranglehold on the freedom of expression and self-determination of the liberty-loving people of Cuba”, added Ranking Member Sires.

  • The internet site reporting the latest of the nearly weekly acts of repudiation against the Ladies in White that I referred to in my comment is the Babalu blog. With the editor’s permission, here is the link:
    Yoani Sanchez has survived the Castros brutal repressive tactics surprisingly well. Of course, given her international visibility, the Castros have little choice but to go easy on her physically. Even if we agree to disagree as to the severity of physical abuse she has personally suffered, you will have to admit, there is likely no dissident in Cuba who is watched, followed and reported on more closely. That alone is a form of abuse. I am curious about your personal story. You have been beaten many times? Do you sell drugs, steal cars or engage in other criminal activities to attract these ‘beatings’? As an African-American, ruly I understand the well-known crime in my country known as ‘DWB’ or ‘Driving While Black’. Even so, I have not been beaten many times. In fact, EVER! If I had and I were innocent, I would be rich man today. What I am saying is that I sort of doubt your story. Finally, Yoani’s goal is to bring about change in Cuba. As a result, it makes sense that her blog is largely negative about life in Cuba. DUH!!! Oliver Stone hates the US and exaggerates too. As a result, he is not on my Christmas list. So what? If he makes a good movie, I will go see it. Let her do her thing. Like me, she hates the Castros but loves Cuba.

  • Moses, once again you make claims of specific actions in Cuba, but don’t cite your source of give evidence. It reminds me of Yoani’s claims in interviews in the US of being severely beaten in Havana. I read her past accounts of one time she claimed to be beaten and taken into custody roughly. I searched for any corroborating evidence or even photos that showed she had be injured in those “beatings.” I found nothing buy her words. Moses, I have been beaten many times by US police over many years, both on the street, in non-public areas and in the police stations, etc. I can assure you than anything much more than a slap or a glancing blow leaves bruises or worse.

    So forgive me, but if I don’t automatically believe you or Yoani. Frankly, having read many of her columns, I find her claims and criticisms to often be clearly exaggerations. I have found her views to be self-centered and rarely socially compassionate. As others have stated, she is unfailingly negative about efforts to make life better in Cuba and now apparently about Venezuela.

  • Scathing?! In the last two days, Cuban State Security literally engaged in rock throwing at the home of one of the leaders of the Damas de Blanco. Six members of the group were trapped inside the home at the time along with a number of children. Four of the women went to the hospital with injuries from broken glass from the windows as well as from the rocks themselves. Should Yoani choose to write about this incident, would you call her words ‘scathing’ or are the actions of the regime where the blame lies. The truth, no matter how inconvenient,. is still the truth.

  • There is nothing unbiased about Yoani’s reports. Every one of her articles is scathing. In her view, there is nothing good at all about Cuba.
    Why would someone work so hard at slandering and vilifying their own country?

  • Yoani’s bravery and dignity is incredible. She is doing nothing different than when Oliver Stone goes to Cuba and trashes the US but in his case he returns to Beverly Hills unmolested and free to make millions of dollars making even more movies. God only knows what those scoundrels in Cuban State Security have planned for her upon her return to Cuba.

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