Yoani Is Issued a Passport!!

When the Cuban law regarding travel was relaxed a couple weeks ago, many outspoken dissidents wondered whether they would be allowed to travel.  Yoani Sanchez, renowned dissident blogger who writes from Havana, was among them. She had been denied an Exit Permit (White Card) twenty times. She has been invited to receive numerous awards, but was never able to do so. Now, there is no more Exit Permit, but one must obtain a passport to travel.  Some months ago, in anticipation of the new law, she said the government could simply not issue her a passport, and she would still be stuck in Havana.

But yesterday, all the major news sources announced that Yoani Sanchez received her passport. 

Reuters reported a quote from Sanchez:


"Incredible! They called to my house to tell me that my passport was ready. They just delivered it to me," Sanchez wrote on Twitter. "Now the only thing left is to be able to board that plane."


Yet, other dissidents were denied passports this week. 

A few hours ago, ABC news reported she may visit South Florida. 


The ABC report stated, "Sanchez blogs about the difficulties of life in Cuba and has won several international journalism prizes. She said on Wednesday that her new victory against the government was "bittersweet." 
"Incredible! They called to my house to tell me that my passport was ready. They just delivered it to me," Sanchez wrote on Twitter. "Now the only thing left is to be able to board that plane."

Hated by Cuba's communist government for constantly criticizing the system in her "Generation Y" blog, Sanchez, a 37-year-old Havana resident, has said she was denied the right to travel 20 times under Cuba's old travel law and doubted she would get a passport under the new ones.
Cuba's leaders consider dissidents traitorous "mercenaries" in the employ of the United States and other enemies."


Yet, other dissidents were denied passports this week. 

A few hours ago, ABC news reported she may visit South Florida. 


The ABC report stated, "Sanchez blogs about the difficulties of life in Cuba and has won several international journalism prizes. She said on Wednesday that her new victory against the government was "bittersweet." 

Yoani wrote the following on her blog on January 17, 2013, before receiving the passport. (Official Translation on her English language blog):


"El Sexto has said he will paint a graffiti on my suitcase; a neighbor gave me an amulet for the journey, and a certain friend noted his shoe size so I can bring him a pair. They said goodbye to me although I still haven’t left. I don’t even have a flight date. But something has changed for me since January 14 when the Migratory Reform announced last October went into effect. After waiting 24 hours outside the Department of Immigration and Aliens (DIE) I knew that finally they would issue me a new passport. With twenty “white cards” – the former exit permit – denied in five years, I confess I was more skeptical than hopeful. Even now, I will only believe I made it when I watch the plane lift off from inside.
It has been a long battle fought by many. A very long road of demanding that entering and leaving our country is an inalienable right, not a gift to be given. Although the flexibilizations in Decree-Law 302 are insufficient, not even these would have been achieved if we’d stood around with our arms crossed. They are not the fruit of a magnanimous gesture, but the result of systematic denunciations made against the absurdities of travel and immigration.
Hence my intention to continue “pushing the limits” of reform, to experience first hand how far the willingness to change really goes. To transcend national frontiers I will make no concessions. If the Yoani Sánchez that I am cannot travel, I am not going to metamorphose myself into someone else to do it. Nor, once abroad, will I disguise my opinions so they will let me “leave again” or to please certain ears, nor will I take refuge in silence about that for which they can refuse to let me return. I will say what I think of my country and of the absence of freedoms we Cubans suffer. No passport will function as a gag for me, no trip as bait.
These particulars clarified, I am preparing the itinerary for my stay outside of Cuba. I hope to be able to participate in numerous events that will help me grow professionally and civically, to answer questions, to clarify details of the smear campaigns that have been launched against me… and in my absence. I will visit those places that once invited me, when the will of a few wouldn’t let me come; I will navigate the Internet like one obsessed, and once again climb mountains I haven’t seen for nearly ten years. But what I am most passionate about is that I am going to meet many of you, my readers. I have the first symptoms of this anxiety; the butterflies in my stomach provoked by the proximity of the unknown, and the waking up in the middle of the night asking myself, what will you look like, sound like? And me? Will I be as you imagine me?"
I, Franklin Marquez, author of this blog, have tried numerous times to make contact with Yoani Sanchez when I have been in Havana.  I look for her in hotels where I get on the Internet. I have even tried to arrange through her official translator to meet her.  But, I was told it was not safe to do so.  I am going to try again when she is in our star. 

We cannot wait until Yoani Sanchez comes to South Florida.

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