Cuba’s Yoani Sanchez Embraced in Miami

March 31, 2013 | Print Print |

Yoani Sanchez. Photo:wikipedia.org

HAVANA TIMES – Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez begins a series of appearances in Miami on Monday April 1, as part of her global tour that began in February.

For many, the most symbolic stop on Sanchez’s tour is without a doubt the Cuban exile capital, notes dpa news.

Around 1.5 million Cubans live in Miami, where most exile positions range from moderate to radical anti-Castro, from veterans who wanted to overthrow Fidel Castro’s revolution by arms to younger less ideological twitter users denouncing the lack of freedoms on the island.

There are also those, much smaller in number, who support the Cuban government.

Sanchez’s image has been portrayed in a mural of the emblematic Calle Ocho alongside other icons of Cuban culture, which speaks of the majority support she has in the US city, reported dpa.

“I feel like in Cuba, but free,” Sanchez said on Thursday upon her arrival in Miami, where she is spending several days with relatives and friends before making her first of several appearances in public on Monday.

“We fought in a different arena than Yoani to establish democratic principles in our country. However, we support any expression against the oppressive and undemocratic regime that governs Cuba,” notes the veterans association, whose members landed on Cuban shores on April 16, 1961 in an attempt to overthrow the new government of Fidel Castro.

Yoani will give a conference at the emblematic Freedom Tower, where she will receive an award for her commitment to human rights..

The radical rightwing exile faction, Vigilia Mambisa, which favors a hard-line policy with Cuba under the Castros, canceled the protest it had initially planned against Sanchez visit, but said they will still show their disagreement with her position supporting a lifting of the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

“Yoani Sanchez has become an icon of freedom of expression and civil rights for all Cubans,” said Ramon Saul Sanchez, president of the Democracy Movement. He emphasized that the visit of the activist in Miami means a lot.

“The visit is very symbolic, not only the political, but the sentimental. She wants to know firsthand the opinions of this part of the Cuban people who have lived abroad,” he added, noting that exiles “feels very identified with her.”

The president of the Democracy Movement believes that Yoani Sanchez belongs to a new group of young Cuban leaders “bringing the world a peaceful, moderate, very believable message.”

“We have entered a new extra-national dimension,” said Ramon Sanchez, who gives part of the credit to the blogger.

“I feel like in Cuba, but free,” Sanchez said on Thursday upon her arrival in Miami, where she is spending several days with relatives and friends before making her first of several appearances in public on Monday.

Adding to the support of “Democracy Movement”, comes the endorsement of Sánchez visit by the Association of Bay of Pigs Veterans (Brigade 2506), a radical, emblematic historic Cuban exile group that considers Yoani a “fighter for democracy and human rights.”

Although discrepancies exist, the argument that the enemy of my enemy is my friend holds strong.

“We want to show that as free men and women we can, respectfully, have our differences, but we are united by something sublime: our homeland Cuba,” said the association.

Brigade 2506 is part of the historic exile community, traditionally a supporter of armed conflict and coercive measures against the Castro government.

“We fought in a different arena than Yoani to establish democratic principles in our country. However, we support any expression against the oppressive and undemocratic regime that governs Cuba,” notes the association of veterans who landed on Cuban shores on April 16, 1961 in an attempt to overthrow the new government of Fidel Castro.


What's your opinion?

  • Humberto Capiro

    The Castro Oligarchy figured their defamation and division plan wrong! Yoani Sanchez has not been seen as divisive in the Cuban community in the diaspora for most part! Quite the contrary, she has united many and even brought some of the hardliners to consider another approach to the Cuba transition to democracy!

    • Moses Patterson

      Humberto, the Castros have used all their bullets. They appear to be at wits end in their ability to stifle Yoani’s voice of opposition. They came at her with the ‘paid CIA stooge’ accusations and that didn’t work. They attacked the credibility of her Twitter following and that didn’t work either. They even tried to say the quality of her writing is not up to par with other much less well-known Cuban writers and still the accolades came. It seems that the harder they try to silence her and ridicule her, the more popular she and her message becomes. To say, however, that they will give up now and leave her alone is naive. I can’t imagine what is left for them to try to do to her but she should be careful now more than ever.

    • http://www.facebook.com/philipe.ricardo.7 Philipe Ricardo

      You of course support Yoani’s call for an end to all Travel & Trade restrictions
      between the US and Cuba?!

      • Griffin

        Some Cuban-Americans support that position, and others disagree. But they still agree with Yoani’s call for freedom & democracy in Cuba. That’s the thing about those who support true democracy: they can disagree with each other on some issues, yet still remain civil. This is a concept not well grasped by the regime attack dogs and their foreign apologists.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Goodrich/100003362238330 John Goodrich

      Funny, the Cuban hardliners in Miami backed the Batista dictatorship against the majority of the Cuban people during the revolution and now they are saying they want a democratic Cuba ?
      My bull$#!t meter went off the scale on that one.

      They also want a return to a capitalist economy correct ?
      Well ,capitalism is the antithesis of a democratic form . The boss is your dictator and you have no say in how you will work or how you will be paid .

      So… cut the bs.
      You don’t like democratic forms at all.

      • Griffin

        You are the one peddling bull$#!t. Only a tiny minority of Miami Cuban exiles supported Batista. Many of them had supported the Movimiento 26 de Julio against Batista, only to be betrayed by Fidel Castro when he seized all power for himself. Most of the Cuban exiles in Miami arrived there after the revolution having seen first hand what a lie it is.

      • Moses Patterson

        John, I disagree with you. I don’t find democracy and capitalism to be mutually exclusive at all. When I had a ‘boss’ , he was not a dictator. When I was a boss I was not a dictator either. I am sorry this was your experience. If my boss did not pay me what I felt I was worth I was free to work elsewhere where I could be paid what I felt I deserved. Hardliners in Miami should no more dictate policy than the extreme left in Havana who promote complete State ownership and no personal liberties. Both extremes should be moderated by the large middle group through an open democratic process.

      • Humberto Capiro

        John Goodrich ! This is a study that was done in the 1960’s in Miami about the Cuban exile community there. It is very detailed and it contains survey results on things like: when and why they decided to leave Cuba, how they first felt about Fidel Castro and the Revolution, and things of that nature. This book is very good for Cuban Americans and for anyone else who is curious about where we (the Cuban Americans that came during the first wave of the exile) come from.

        PARTICIPATION IN ANTI-BATISTA ACTIVITY BY OCCUPATIONAL GROUP IN PERCENTAGES- P. 55

        SKILLED LABOR = 44% of this group
        SEMI-SKILLED AND UNSKILLED= 41% of this group
        CLERICAL AND SALES = 30% of this group
        PROFESSIONALS AND SEMI-PROFESSIONALS= 30% of this group
        MILITARY AND POLICE= 0% of this group

        Page 56 : ” The predominantly young and relative well educated refugees who participated in the struggle against Batista would be more likely than other refugees to engage in anti-Castro activity once in exile.”

        READ ON FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LINK BELOW

        http://books.google.com/books?id=DjisAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=members+of+batista+army+in+exile+cuban&source=bl&ots=K7D0Ptnw40&sig=UqTlrMYPIOA8are9qhtEcqPkDCg&hl=en&ei=A4CsTonZEZKBsgKgzKDrDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEoQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

  • Griffin

    To be precise, Yoani has called for lifting the embargo because it gives the regime an excuse for their failures. So when you endorse her call, please keep in mind why she made it.

    If you were paying attention, it was the mob of pro-Castro fanatics, not her supporters, who attempted to silence Yoani by shouting protests at her arrival in Brazil and New York. Yet again you engage in the typical leftist tactic of projection, accusing critics of Marxism of the very tactics your Marxist comrades routinely indulge in.

    Meanwhile, Cuban dissident, Ailer Gonzalez, who last week made a presentation in Madrid, Spain in support of democracy and respect for human rights in Cuba was detained upon her arrival back on the island.

    And so it begins.

    http://joanantoniguerrero.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/detenida-para-una-revision-la-primera-activista-de-derechos-humanos-que-regresa-a-cuba/

    • Dan Christensen

      Sanchez is dismissing the very real impact of the US embargo is having on her fellow Cubans. For 20 years in a row, however, the UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to condemn these cruel and inhumane sanctions. And none other than Amnesty International has reported (my emphasis):

      “The US government is acting CONTRARY to the Charter of the United Nations by restricting the direct import of medicine and medical equipment and supplies, and by imposing those restrictions on companies operating in third countries.”

      “The RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY THE EMBARGO help to deprive Cuba of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity.”

      “The US embargo against Cuba is IMMORAL and should be lifted. It’s preventing millions of Cubans from benefiting from vital medicines and medical equipment essential for their health.”

      “Amnesty International calls on the US Congress to take, WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, the necessary steps towards lifting the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba.”

      “UN agencies working in Cuba, such as the WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA, continued [as of 2012] to report the negative effects of the US embargo on the health of the population, particularly members of marginalized groups. Access to specific commodities, equipment, medicines and laboratory materials remained scarce as a result of restrictions imposed on the importation of items manufactured by US companies and their subsidiaries or produced under US patents.”

      http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/002/2009/en/e7b1efe4-27f4-4b2c-9a39-23c88749e39e/amr250022009en.html

      http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/report/president-obama-should-take-lead-lifting-embargo-against-cuba-20090902

      http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/007/2009/en/51469f8b-73f8-47a2-a5bd-f839adf50488/amr250072009eng.pdf

      http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/cuba/report-2012

      What could possibly be Ms. Sanchez’s motivation for ignoring these facts of which every Cuban must be so keenly aware?

      Should we just let them eat cake, Yoani? Or something else?

      • CUBAQUS

        The impact of the trade sanctions is limited, Dan Christensen. By 2008 the US was Cuba’s 5th trading partner and largest supplier of food. remittances, mainly from the US, are the third largest source of foreign exchange for Cuba.
        Those are the facts.

        You just mindlessly repeat your propaganda lies and misleading falsifications of what Amnesty and others actually said and meant trying to twist their words for your propaganda lies.

        You just persist posting the same lies over and over again. Anyone that follows the links will see that NOWEHERE Amnesty International has ever referred to the sanctions as “genocide”. That is your lie. Nor are you able to post any quote from any other respectable organization that would EVER have called the sanctions “genocide”.

        The Castro dictatorship is the one on Genocide Watch’s list. You are
        also the only loony on the WWW that tries – and fails – to attack the credibility and good name of Genocide Watch.
        You can’t discredit any of the members of the alliance against genocide:
        http://www.genocidewatch.org/alliancetoendgenocide/members.html
        nor their reports:
        http://www.genocidewatch.org/genocide/genocidespoliticides.html

        From US actions it is clear that the US never intended to “physically
        destroy” the Cuban people or part of it as you falsely claim.
        The
        Cuban regime is guilty of that as Fidel Castro himself admitted in the
        case of the gay people in the UMAP. Fidel admitted to being guilty of
        crimes against humanity.

        The reason why food and medicines aren’t making it to Cuba from the US is simple: decisions of the Castro regime.

        U.S. law exempted medicine and health care supplies from the embargo in 1992. It also lifted the ban on agricultural exports in2000, and the United States was by 2008 Cuba’s biggest supplier of food(30% of the 80% of food Cubans consume) and 5th trading partner.

        On why food and medicines aren’t getting to Cubans from the US:

        Food: Cuba lacks the cash to pay for it and therefore reduced purchases from the US.

        “Entre las principales razones de la caída de las exportaciones
        estadounidenses a Cuba la entidad responsable del informe, que tiene su sede en Nueva York, citó la falta de moneda extranjera. “Las decisiones comerciales y económicas del gobierno cubano (…) disminuyen su capacidad para obtener divisas”, dijo Consejo.”Caen casi un 35% las ventas de alimentos de EE UU a Cuba jueves, 29 de julio de 2010.
        http://economiacubana.blogspot.ca/2010/07/caen-casi-un-35-las-ventas-de-alimentos.html

        Medicines:

        “The U.S. says it approved $142 million in commercial and donated
        medical exports to the communist island in 2008. So why did less than 1
        percent of it get there?”

        “It’s not the embargo,” said John Kavulich, a senior policy adviser
        at the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council, which provides nonpartisan commercial and economic information about Cuba. “These are economic and political decisions not to buy.” Cuba often waits for allies to donate what it needs, Kavulich said. “They’d rather get things for free than pay for them.”

        “It’s unclear why U.S. medical exports aren’t reaching Cuba”, Dallas Morning News, 5 December 2009.

        Found at:
        http://saludcuba.blogspot.ca/p/bloqueo.html

        • Dan Christensen

          Your mindless propaganda has been rejected every year at the UN General Assembly for 20 years in a row now. Not even your closest allies are buying into your self-serving lies and rationalizations. Must be frustrating as hell for you.

  • Moses Patterson

    John, as someone with ‘skin in the game’, I would like nothing better than to see my birth country and the country my wife was born in have normal if not cozy relations. I do not believe this can or should be achieved by the US unilaterally lifting the embargo. My wife has never experienced the rough and tumble, messy, name-calling, bribe-taking, streetfights we call democracy here in the US. All she has ever experienced is a Poder Popular that votes unanimously for everything they are asked to vote on. During our first trip to NY together, she was amazed to see people walking around with Anti-government, Anti-Obama, Anti-US placards in front of the UN and the police were PROTECTING the protesters. She wants that often awkward and uncomfortable freedom for Cubans in Cuba as well. Can you understand that? I want my wife to have the Cuba that she and all Cubans want for themselves. Sure, there are some crazy exiled extremists in Miami that want only capitalism for Cuba or, worse, want to re-colonize, But that is their right as well as crazy as it is. I support a policy of freedom for the Cuban people to decide for themselves not a handful of decrepit old men who watch building falling down on children and do nothing. Can you say for sure that the Castros have no plans to do harm to Yoani Sanchez once she returns. Can you confirm this? Given the Castros history of secrecy and abuse of power, this is no straw man. It is a real possibility for which the world must be aware and vigilant.