Famed Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez spent Easter Sunday in South Florida explaining her motivation for speaking out against the Castro government.
She didn’t do it on the radio or on television, fittingly she took to Twitter, her weapon for free expression.
Starting at noon Sunday, Sánchez responded to every inquiry on the social media venue posed by both supporters and haters, writing over 130 tweets at her handle @yoanisanchez.
At 6 p.m., she was still going strong.
Scores of people engaged the Cuban blogger in conversation. She responded to all, even vigorously arguing back and forth with her critics. Sanchez is currently on an 82-day tour of the Americas, U.S. and Europe.
“I will not shut up!” she tweeted after one heated exchange.
On Monday, Sánchez officially begins her speaking tour of Miami with an 8:30 a.m. meeting with the Miami Herald editorial board. If you have questions for Sánchez, send them to live@MiamiHerald.com. The meeting with Sanchez will be livestreamed on newspaper’s home page.
At 2 p.m. Monday, Sánchez will speak at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower, an iconic building for Cuban exiles, where she will be interviewed – Actor’s Studio-style – by Miami Herald Editorial Editor Myriam Marquez.
Besides well-wishes and criticism, Sánchez’s visit has also stirred an urge by historic Cuban exiles to explain themselves to Sánchez, in the hopes she will take back to the island the real version of events they took part in the wake of the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
Bay of Pigs veterans, who invaded the island in April 1961 to overthrown Fidel Castro, last week issued a welcome to Sánchez and offered to meet with her to explain why they took part in the invasion. Castro has always referred to the Bay of Pigs participants as CIA operatives and mercenaries.
Some Operation Pedro Pan children also want to give their side of the story.
Eloisa Echazabal, of Miami, has written a letter she will try to pass on to Sanchez explaining why her parents sent her to the U.S. during the mission that brought 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children to Miami.
“The island's communist government loses no opportunity to say that it was all a plot by the CIA and that our parents were deceived and the children became pawns in the political game with the U.S. This is far from the truth. Our parents sent us to the U.S. as soon as they realized that their right for free expression — and to raise and educate their children as they wished— was disappearing.”
Sánchez has several other events planned in Miami the rest of the week.