Photo: Yoani Sanchez
Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said in New York that she’s afraid of the reprisals in store for her when she returns to Cuba from an international tour she began last month after five years without being allowed to leave the island.
“Afraid of going back? Yes, I’m very afraid of what will happen when I go back,” the blogger told a press conference at New York University, her second appearance in the United States after attending a symposium on Thursday at Columbia University.
The famous writer of the “Generacion Y” blog said the Cuban government behaves toward citizens like a “despotic father” and treats them “like children, so that when they leave home and do something naughty outside, they get punished.”
“What will be the punishment for this restless girl called Yoani Sanchez? Maybe they’ll never let me leave again, perhaps they’ll beef up the firing squad in the national media and the defamation campaign against me,” said the dissident, who on Feb. 18 set out on an 80-day international tour.
After getting about 20 refusals from the Cuban government for her applications to travel abroad, the philologist finally managed to leave thanks to an immigration overhaul approved in January.
On her tour she has visited Brazil, the Czech Republic, Spain and Mexico.
Asked whether she had thought any more about going into exile from Cuba, Sanchez replied with a categorical “no.”
“I’ve had the emigration experience. I lived for two years in Switzerland between 2002 and 2004, and it was an important experience in my life but I don’t think of repeating it,” Sanchez said, adding that, unlike the novel by Czech author Milan Kundera, “Life is Elsewhere,” for her “life is in another Cuba.”