Yoani Sanchez’s First Event in Brazil Suspended Because of Protests from Supporters of the Regime

Yoani Sanchez speaks to groups who demonstrated against her in Feira de Santara, Brazil. 18 Feb 2013 (EFE)

The demonstrations with which pro-Castro groups in Brazil on Monday greeted Yoani Sánchez, author of the blog Generation Y, prevented the realization of the first event in which the Cuban was participating in the county, its organizers reported, according to EFE.

The exhibition in the Brazilian city of Feira de Santana of the documentary Cuba-Honduras Connection, which includes an interview with Sanchez, was suspended after militants of various leftist parties sabotaged the event.

The documentary, about restrictions on freedom of expression in different countries, was directed by Dado Galvao, the Brazilian who organized several campaigns in Brazil to demand that Sanchez would be allowed to leave her country and who prepared a part of the agenda for the dissident in Brazil.

About 50 protesters, with posters in defense of the Castro government, occupied the hall of the Museum of Knowledge, in which the film was to be shown, which can seat 200 people, and shouted down any statements, according to an EFE photographer covering the event.

Protesters shouted Sanchez “traitor” and “viva la revolution”, prevented the Cuban was heard and forced organizers to announce the suspension.

They carried the flags of the ruling Workers Party (PT) and the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB).

They refused even to listen to requests for calm from Senator Eduardo Suplicy, a PT leader who also campaigned to defend Sanchez’s traveling out of Cuba.

“Tempers were running high, and it was not possible to project (the documentary),” said Dado Galvao, AFP reported.

According to the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, protesters called for a debate with the blogger, which Sanchez accepted. However, they only allowed her to say a few brief words before again interrupting her with shouts again.

“After a long silence, after living in a society where not speaking up was the choice of most of my compatriots; after so much silence, one day I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to create a blog. Generation Y is the name of the blog, which talks about daily life in Cuba. It has no slogans because I do not like slogans,” Sanchez said, according to AP.

She replied to those who accuse her of supporting the U.S. Embargo on the Island by saying that they could search on her name in Google and “find many statements” of hers “calling for an end of the blockade.”

“It is true that the blockade has brought many problems. I have said that because of the embargo there are many internet services that we cannot use,” she said, but she added that in Cuba there is not better access to the internet “because of a political decision by the Cuban government.”

Sanchez arrived in the city of Recife in the early morning hours, her first stop in Brazil, where she was greeted by supporters and detractors who shouted “traitor” and accused her of receiving U.S. government funding.

From Recife she traveled to Salvador where pro-Castro supporters were also waiting for her, showing photographs of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and calling her “mercenary” and “CIA agent.”

“I expected it, since I was in Cuba I knew this could happen,” Sanchez told the AP in a room of the museum, where she was taken to protect her from the protesters. “I spent a year waiting to come and see Dado’s (Galvano) move, unfortunately I can’t,” said the blogger, whom the Cuban regime refused the former exit permit on twenty occasions.

In addition to the protests organized by leftist parties, Sanchez’s visit to Brazil has generated controversy because of allegations that the embassy of Havana has a plan to monitor the steps of the dissident, to slander her and to sabotage her activities.

The Brazilian government admitted that a senior official of the Secretariat of the Presidency received a CD with information on Sanchez in Cuba’s embassy in Brasilia.

The CD was also given to various leftist organizations.

From Diario de Cuba

18 February 2013