Yoani Sanchez To Speak At Freedom Tower, FIU
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Internationally acclaimed Cuban blogger will speak Monday afternoon at Miami-Dade College’s Freedom Tower.
As part of her three month tour of dozens of countries in the Americas and Europe, Sánchez will be in Miami this week for a string of public appearances and a family reunion.
During her appearance at the Freedom Tower, Sanchez will take part in a discussion on Cuba with community leaders and students. She’ll also be presented with the Miami Dade College Presidential Medal for championing human rights. Past honorees include Lech Walesa, Mikhail Gorbachev, President Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright.
Through her blog, Generación Y, the 37-year old has become a powerful player in the binary guerrilla struggle against Cuba’s communist rule. Generación Y blog gets well over 15 million hits a month and is translated into 20 languages. Her Twitter account has nearly 500,000 followers, and Fidel Castro as well as Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela, took the time to criticize her, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
Sanchez arrived in Miami Thursday. Her first stop was the Shrine to Our Lady of Charity in Coconut Grove.
“I just got here from Amsterdam and it feels great to be in Miami,” Sanchez said after visiting the shrine to Cuba’s patron saint. “I plan to spend the next 48 hours reuniting with my family and catching up on the last two years that we have not seen each other.”
Sanchez tweeted photos of herself sitting on a seawall along Biscayne Bay and pictures from inside the shrine. When she’s in Cuba she uses social media to shed light on life on the island and the plight of those who oppose the government. Her first impression of Miami was that it’s much like Cuba.
“I feel respect and liberty in the air in Miami,” she said. “I feel like I’m in Cuba but with freedom. This is what Cuba would be like if we had democracy.”
Sanchez was given permission to leave Cuba in February after a new law was enacted easing travel restrictions for Cubans. While she’s in South Florida, Sanchez plans to speak out about democracy on the island and about Cuba’s relations with Miami’s Cuban-exile community.
“This is the most important part of the trip for me emotionally,” Sanchez said. “I am glad I can see Miami with my own eyes and I am especially happy to be with my family.”
Sanchez is scheduled to make an appearance at Florida International University on Monday night.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.