HAVANA – Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez set off on a three-month, dozen-nation world tour Sunday, after a new law eliminated the exit permit that had been required of islanders for five decades and was denied to her around 20 times in recent years.
Pulling a blue rolling suitcase emblazoned with the logo of her Generation Y blog at Havana’s international airport, Sanchez showed reporters her new passport with a fresh U.S. double-entry visa, valid for six months. She paid the $25 airport tax, disappeared beyond the passport control checkpoint and said via Twitter that the only thing left was to get on the plane.
My name has not been called over the loudspeakers, they have not taken me to a room to strip me or give me a warning, she tweeted from the waiting lounge. Everything is going well.
Sanchez is one of Cuba’s most prominent dissidents, although her blog is not widely followed on the island. Whether authorities would allow her to go abroad was seen as a key test of the travel law, one of the most significant reforms of President Raul Castro’s ongoing plan to refashion some elements of the government and society.