HAVANA TIMES — After facing two days of noisy protests by Cuba solidarity activists, opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez visited the Brazilian Congress in Brasilia yesterday in what she saw as “a new beginning” for her bumpy tour across of the South American giant, reported DPA news on Wednesday.
“I’m very happy, it’s a great opportunity. It’s like my journey is beginning again now,” said theauthor of the Generation Y website, landing in modern federal capital designed by the late architect Oscar Niemeyer, an historic ally of the Cuban government.
Unlike what happened the last two days in Recife and Salvador Sanchez, she faced no protests upon landing in Brasilia, which occurred under police protection.
Her arrival at the legislature, however, sparked demonstrations of outrage by leftist deputies, who complained about the disruption of the legislative session by the presence of the blogger.
Sanchez’s program in Brasilia includes attending the presentation in the lower house of the documentary film Cuba Connection> Honduras, by Brazilian filmmaker Dado Galvao, in which she was one of the interviewees.
The film was supposed to have been shown for the first time this past Monday night in the northeastern city of Feira de Santana, but that showing was thwarted by the presence of about 50 pro-Cuban government activists who shouted down the blogger, accusing her of being a “traitor” and a “mercenary,” since she’s alleged to be supported by the United States in her attacks on her own country.
In addition, the dissident will meet with members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and National Defense of the Chamber of Deputies to inform Brazilian lawmakers about immigration reform enacted in Cuba by President Raul Castro. She herself was allowed to leave the island on an international tour after years of struggle to realize her dream of obtaining permission.
Speaking at the airport in Brasilia, Sanchez spoke in a tolerant tone about the demonstrations against her presence in their country: “There’s no problem. I wish we had these demonstrations in Cuba,” she said – just one day after she complained about the “aggressive” tone of the protests.
“The shouts, the insults… It was as if they’d been orchestrated by terrorists,” said the dissident, who added that those who accuse her of being funded by the opposition to the Castro regime have “not read” what she writes on her blog.
“They say I’m funded by the United States because I criticize and reveal the truth about Cuba, but I was never funded by anyone. During the debate last night, it became clear that they (the protesters) just wanted to offend and didn’t want a peaceful dialogue. I brought ideas and they only brought words of hatred.”
“I wasn’t surprised by the rally. I’m used to it. I’ve been threatened by supporters of the Cuban government and I knew I’d receive a response to my blog and my leaving the country. My government acts in a hard and underhanded manner against its opponents,” she added.
Brazil is the first leg of a ten-country tour that Sanchez started this past Sunday. According to reports in the United States, she will travel to that country and on April 1 will arrive in the anti-Castro “capital”: Miami, where Sanchez will be speaking at the “Freedom Tower.”