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Dissident Cuban Blogger Gets Passport After Castro Eases Rules

Cuban Dissident Blogger Yoani Sanchez
Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez talks with a member of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's staff at a hotel in Havana. Photographer: Adalberto Roque/AFP/GettyImages

Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez, who was last arrested in October, received a passport as part of a easing of travel restrictions on the Communist island.

“Incredible! They called my house to say my passport is ready,” Sanchez wrote on her Twitter page yesterday. “They just delivered it to me!”

Sanchez, 37, has drawn tens of thousands of followers worldwide through her “Generation Y” blog, which she uses to document the government’s shortcomings and life in Cuba. U.S. President Barack Obama responded to Sanchez’s questions in an interview posted on the Huffington Post website in 2009.

Sanchez applied for her passport after President Raul Castro’s new rules on travel went into effect Jan. 14. Under the regulations, Cuba no longer requires residents to apply for exit visas to travel abroad, easing restrictions that have prevented most citizens from leaving the island for decades.

In a bid to prevent an exodus of the nation’s best and brightest, certain professionals still aren’t eligible to leave the country.

The government said last year it needs to restrict some travel “to defend itself from the interventionist and subversive plans of the U.S. government and its allies. Measures will remain to preserve the human capital created by the revolution.”

On her Twitter account, Sanchez lamented that another dissident, Angel Moya, wasn’t given documents needed to leave. Yet she also expressed excitement at the chance of travel following a conversation with her sister, who lives abroad.

“My sister called me and we spoke at length,” she wrote. “This passport means the possibility of a reunion.”

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