HAVANA TIMES – The renowned Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez returned on Thursday to Havana after a tour of more than three months abroad, possible after the immigration reform that entered into force on the island in January.
“It’s the journey that will change my life in many ways,” Sanchez said after leaving the airport in Havana, where she was received with applause by family members and supporters.
“I’m here with many projects, very exhausted, too,” she added. In more than 100 days, the Cuban blogger, 37, toured several countries, including the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Germany.
Sanchez, known internationally for her blog Generation Y, critical of the government of Raul Castro, participated in numerous events, including in Miami, the bastion of anti-Castro exiles.
The blogger flew to Havana from Madrid. She had no problems with the immigration procedures for admission to the island, as some of her supporters feared.
Another dissident, Eliecer Avila, also returned from a multi-nation tour earlier on Thursday, but was put through a rigourous several hour inspection of his personal belongings, including the confiscation of books and other literature, before being allowed back in his country.
Yoani obtained a passport to leave the country in early February, after the entry into force in January of immigration reforms approved by the government of Raul Castro last year.
The reforms included a removal of the exit visa that impeded Cubans to travel freely abroad for decades.
Sanchez, the best known face of Cuban dissidents, had spent years unable to leave the island. The authorities had denied her permission to leave on some 20 occasions in recent years.
Since January, Cubans need only a passport and visa of the destination country to leave the island.
Sanchez said at the airport in Havana that “the future is wide open and that she needs to rest to project it.”
The dissident, followed by more than half a million people on Twitter, announced at one of the stops on her trip that she will start up a online newspaper upon her return to the island, despite the current restrictions. The media are all under state control in Cuba.
Upon awakening early Friday morning and still with “jet lag” Sanchez said on Twitter that being back in Cuba “is like a trip in a time machine.”
Also see: Yoani Sanchez Heads Home to Cuba