Leading Cuban dissident departs for world tour

Reuters

by Reuters

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It's a day Cuba's best known dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez has been waiting for. After being denied permission to travel more than 20 times over the past five years, she has her passport..

SOUNDBITE: Cuban dissident and blogger, Yoani Sanchez saying (Spanish):

"I fought alot for this. It has been interesting, it has been a victory, but not one that is complete, it has been limited. To enter and leave [Cuba] continues to be an unknown right, the decree 302 does not stipulate that us Cubans can leave and enter freely by the mere fact that we were born on this land."

She's headed to Brazil, her first stop on a world tour that many governments and human rights advocates will be watching very closely, as a first test of Cuba's travel policy

The 37-year-old Havana resident made a name for herself on the web by criticizing Cuba's government in her Generation Y blog. She's also one of the world's best-known bloggers with tens of thousands of followers abroad.

Asked what her she is looking forward to seeing in Brazil, she makes no mention of the beaches or sites ---saying she's most excited to log onto the web.

SOUNDBITE: Cuban dissident and blogger, Yoani Sanchez saying (Spanish):

"I want to to connect to the internet without censorship, without blocked pages, without officials looking over my shoulder to see what page I'm opening. I want to act like a free person, I want to know the reality of these countries."

Sanchez, considered Cuba's pioneer in social networking, told Reuters earlier this week that her trip will include several stops in South America, Europe and the U.S. where she plans to pay a visit to the headquarters of Google, Twitter and Facebook.

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