Yoani Sanchez

Andre Deak / Flickr

The meeting of heads of state from throughout the western hemisphere known as the Summit of the Americas starts later this week in Panama.

For the first time, Cuba will be there – and so will Cuba’s most famous dissident blogger, Yoani Sánchez.

Andre Deak / Flickr

It’s hard to tell what’s most striking these days: Yoani Sánchez’s heroism or America’s hypocrisy.

Last week, when communist authorities tried to block Sánchez’s new digital newspaper, 14ymedio, Florida Senator Marco Rubio called her “one of Cuba’s most courageous” dissidents. And rightly so.

But he also called the internationally acclaimed blogger “an aspiring Cuban media entrepreneur.” And that’s where the inconsistency starts.

Diego Saldana-Rojas / WLRN

At LAB Miami in Wynwood this past weekend, local software developers and designers formed teams to compete for the best app that would give Cubans on the island uncensored Internet access, calling it the first ever “Cuba Hackathon.”

The event was organized by Roots of Hope, a network of young professionals working to “empower Cuba’s youth.”

U.S. State Department

 

Like a lot of idealistic U.S. presidents, Barack Obama took office in 2009 hoping to establish better dialogue with communist Cuba. Remember his plan to “pursue direct diplomacy” with Havana? Then he quickly discovered what most U.S. presidents find out:

First, communist Cuba really doesn’t want improved dialogue with Washington, since conflict with the U.S. offers more political payoff on the island. Hence Cuban leader Raúl Castro’s 2009 Christmas gift to Obama: the arrest of U.S. aid subcontractor Alan Gross on dubious espionage charges.

Patricia Sagastume / WLRN

Seven or eight years ago, during a sociology class at Miami-Dade College, the professor asked us to write a sociological history of our lives. It was the first time I thought long and hard about my life in the scheme of history, about the chain of events that brought me to my life in Miami as a Cuban-American.

For people of my generation, you simply could not avoid getting a crash course on Cuban politics and the dream of a free Cuba.  The reason we are here. We are here because of him. Because of Fidel.

Join us for an hour of conversation about the week's news on The Florida Roundup, live at noon today on 91.3FM WLRN:

Terence Shepherd

Famed Cuban blogger and dissident Yoani Sanchez visited The Miami Herald editorial board Monday morning. We spoke to her in our studios with translation by WLRN's Patricia Sagastume.

Sanchez discussed the way people in Cuba perceive Miami, how she hopes to change things in Cuba through her blogging and the future for Cuba after the Castro regime ends.

You can read full coverage of her visit at miamiherald.com.

Miami Is Final Stop On Cuban Blogger's World Tour

Mar 29, 2013
Yoani Sanchez

Inspiring millions of virtual fans with heartfelt dispatches and persistent calls for greater political freedom, blogger Yoani Sanchez is the most visible symbol of both sweeping change inside Cuba and the modern power of social media to crack some of the world's most closed societies.