Bill Nelson wrote opposition blogger Yoani Sanchez today, inviting her to share her views with some of his Senate colleagues on ways to further promote freedom, democracy and human rights for the Cuban people.
“Your courage and dedication to the cause of human rights has earned you many followers and I’m sure you will be well received … ,” Nelson wrote in a letter to Sanchez. Nelson has been a long-time critic of the Castro regime.
Sanchez is expected to be in Washington, D.C. in mid-March, as part of an international tour she began this week that will stretch nearly three months. The blogger has also announced plans to visit Miami April 1, and speak at the iconic Freedom Tower owned by Miami-Dade College.
Nelson called the setting fitting. “It is where we welcomed Cuban refugees who fled the Castro regime in the 1960s,” Nelson wrote.
Sanchez is known for her biting blog, called Generation Y, in which she chronicles daily life in Cuba and offers opinion that has drawn the ire of Cuba’s Communist rulers. Her blog posts, tweets and columns are followed by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, although because Internet access is so limited in Cuba, she is not as well-known on the island.
President Barack Obama has said her work “provides the world a unique window into the realities of daily life in Cuba.” And, Time magazine listed her as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2008. “Under the nose of a regime that has never tolerated dissent, Sánchez has practiced what paper-bound journalists in her country cannot; freedom of speech,” the magazine said.
During her world tour Sanchez plans to travel to Latin America, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. Brazil is her first stop.
Her tour comes after she received a passport under Cuba’s new travel and migration policy. Enacted last month, the law eliminated exit permits required of islanders for the past five decades.